There’s no denying that a winning combo is tahini and miso. Nutty, salty, creamy. Like peanut butter and pretzels or salted almond butter on toast, but more refined. When I want that elevated flavor with a cozier edge, I mix it into thick porridge. It’s packed with bumpy grains like steel cut oat, quinoa, brown rice, and amaranth. Tahini-miso porridge will make you look at plain oatmeal in the same way you now see the mediocre poetry your ex writes. You know I'm right.

Rinse 1 cup steel cut oats, 1 cup white or red quinoa, ¼ cup brown rice, and ¼ cup amaranth well, then transfer to a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water. Let the grains soak for at least 30 minutes.

While the grains soak, whisk together ¼ cup tahini with 1 tablespoon water, ½ tablespoon white miso paste, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Taste the mixture, and add a pinch of fine sea salt if you want. For a more savory porridge, omit the cinnamon and syrup, and use ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder, coriander, and turmeric. A drizzle of honey in with the savory mix certainly wouldn’t be unwelcome if you’re so inclined. 

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Heat the soaked grains over medium heat with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, stirring constantly. Let the mixture thicken and come to a boil. Stir the tahini mixture into the grains. Continue to cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes, adding more water if the mixture seems very thick, stirring regularly.

Serve the sweet version of the porridge with sesame seeds and sliced strawberries; savory with fried shallots or scallions, a squirt of chile oil, and/or a fried egg.