Savoury porridge with lemon-roasted fennel, beetroot chips, basil oil + sunflower 'parmesan'

Savoury porridge with lemon-roasted fennel, beetroot chips, basil oil + sunflower 'parmesan'

4 bowls

At Spoon Cereals, we have been eating increasingly vegetarian food over the last few years. When we first started eating less meat, being creative with our recipes did not come easily and we needed some serious inspiration. Enter Agnes. She creates amazing vegetarian food and makes it all look effortlessly beautiful. This savoury recipe might look daunting with its various components, but they are all easy to prepare if you have a bit of time. And everything apart from the porridge can be done in advance. Trust me, the effort will certainly be worth it.



Quantity Ingredient

Lemon-roasted fennel

Quantity Ingredient
1 large fennel bulb
olive oil
1/2 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons water

Beetroot chips

Quantity Ingredient
3 beetroots
drizzle olive oil
pinch salt

Basil oil

Quantity Ingredient
6 basil sprigs, including stems
5 tablespoons olive oil

Sunflower ‘Parmesan’

Quantity Ingredient
140g sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, see note
1 teaspoon agave syrup
pinch fine sea salt


Quantity Ingredient
125g oats, rinsed and soaked for at least 6 hours
olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
750ml vegetable stock
or 500ml water plus 1½ vegetable stock cubes
pinch ried chilli flakes
3-4 thyme sprigs
or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
125ml white wine
1/4 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons oat cream or cream of choice
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 teaspoons agave syrup
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Quarter the fennel and remove the hard stalks. Rinse thoroughly. Put in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with the olive oil. Zest the lemon, then cut in half and squeeze the juice from one quarter. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the dish. Pour over the water and roast for 35–45 minutes, turning the fennel pieces over halfway through.
  3. To make the beetroot chips, heat the oven to 150°C. Peel and thinly slice the beetroots, using a sharp knife or a mandoline.
  4. Spread out the beetroot slices on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Drizzle with just a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Massage the oil into the beetroot slices. Be careful not to add too much oil. Make sure the beetroot slices are spread out evenly (some overlapping is fine) and roast for 1–2 hours (depending on desired crispiness). Turn off the oven and leave to cool inside, where they will crisp up. Store in a paper bag at room temperature.
  5. Roughly chop the basil and blend with the olive oil using a handheld blender. Store at room temperature until ready to use.
  6. To make the sunflower ‘Parmesan’, lightly toast the sunflower seeds in a frying pan (skillet) until fragrant and slightly browned. Leave to cool. Finely chop the sunflower seeds, leaving some coarse pieces, and place in a bowl. Combine with the olive oil, yeast flakes and agave syrup. Season to taste. This keeps well in a jar in the fridge for about 1–2 weeks.
  7. For the porridge, soak the oats in plenty of water overnight (or in the morning, if you’re planning to make it in the evening).
  8. Discard the soaking water and place the oats along with some oil, the onion, garlic and celery in a large pan. Stir-fry over a medium heat until fragrant.
  9. Heat the vegetable stock (or water and stock cube) in a separate pan. The stock should be salty but not overly so.
  10. Add half of the stock to the oats and leave to simmer over a medium–low heat until the stock is reduced by about half. Then add the chilli and thyme. Keep adding more stock to the oats gradually, increasing the amount as it reduces. Stir occasionally, then more often, as the porridge cooks.
  11. Once all the stock is used and the oatmeal starts to develop a risotto-like consistency, add the wine and lemon juice. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally for a minute or so. Add the oat cream, yeast flakes, agave syrup and pepper, and leave to simmer for a moment until the porridge has reached the consistency you like. Taste and add more pepper, chilli or salt if you like.
  12. Serve the porridge topped with the roasted fennel and beetroot chips. Scatter over the sunflower ‘Parmesan’ and finish with a drizzle of the basil oil.


  • Nutritional yeast is a vegan, inactive yeast rich in B vitamins. It comes in powder or flakes and has a pleasant nutty and cheesy flavour. Sprinkle it on pasta or popcorn, or use it in vegan sauces or pesto to give a delicious cheesy twist.
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