Efia's Kitchen

BANT and DET registered Nutritional Therapist

CVR-nr.: 40942173

  • Marie

Indulgent 'Carrot Cake' Porridge Bowl

Do you love oats as much as we do in our household? I feel like the possibilities with oats are endless and I love exploring new flavour combinations and ways to make our bowls as nutrient-dense as possible.

As we are entering the fall season our vegetable box has been full of carrots each week - and I've been scrambling to come up with new ways to use them all. This porridge bowl was a surprisingly indulgent solution. Read to the end to learn all about the health benefits of this delicious bowl!

Serves 2, preparation time 5 minutes, cooking time 15-20 minutes.


  • 2 large grated carrots

  • 1tsp (or more) grated ginger

  • 40g quinoa

  • 100g oats

  • 3 cups water (+more if needed)

  • 100g nuts (I would recommend walnuts)

  • 5 dates, torn into small pieces (+more if you like it sweeter)

  • Juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon)

  • Salt to taste

  • 1tsp cinnamon


[Optional: soak your grains over night in 3 cups of water, strain in the morning before cooking]

  1. Grate your carrot and ginger, add to a large enough pot

  2. Add the oats and quinoa together with the water, stir together well

  3. Place the pot on a medium heat and bring the contents to a simmer

  4. Add the dates, salt and cinnamon and stir regularly

  5. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, then add the nuts and lime juice

  6. If the porridge has become to dry before your quinoa is tender add a little more water

  7. After about 15-20 minutes (when your quinoa is tender), remove from the heat and serve

Serve sprinkled with extra cinnamon.

Nutritional Benefits

As promised - here are some of the nutritional benefits of this delicious bowl of goodness:

Iron Absorption

The bowl contains a source of beta-carotene (vegetable vitamin A) and vitamin C (from the carrots and the lime respectively). Research shows that this increases the bioavailability of the iron in the oats - meaning your body will be more able to absorb and use the iron [1]. Actually, ginger has also been shown to increase bioavailability of minerals and other nutrients in plant foods [1]! Iron is important in maintaining optimal energy levels, cognition, temperature regulation and immunity [2]. Iron deficiency is also the most common nutrient deficiency in the developed world [2], with deficiency being even more common in people following a plant-based diet [2]. As more and more of us attempt to reduce our meat intake in an effort to do our part for the environment it is especially important that we know how to take care of our wellbeing when following a plant-based diet! [For a great Instagram account including lots of tips on how to get the most nutrients out of a plant-based diet have a look at @myvegangenie!]

Immunity & Inflammation

Iron is not the only nutrient in this bowl that supports your body in regulating your immune system.

Nutrient-dense Carrot Cake Porridge Bowls

Ginger has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of illnesses (like colds, nausea and headache) [3]. Although scientific research on the immune regulating activity of ginger in humans is relatively scarce there are some studies indicating that ginger may indeed have a positive impact on inflammation and the immune system (at least in some people) [4-6].

Walnuts are a plant-source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential in the diet because our body can't produce them and they play an important role in brain health, cell membrane integrity and the regulation of inflammation [7,8]. One recent study even found that switching to a mediterranean pattern diet (read more about this in my article on depression and food here), supplemented with walnuts, led to improvements in depression symptoms [9].

Vitamin C, coming from the lime juice in this recipe, has a well established role in supporting immunity [10,11]. Note that for vitamin C to be effective you will need high doses of it each day - ranging from 100-200mg/day for preventative purposes to even higher doses when you are actually ill [11]. This recipe provides about 15mg so make sure you get some more vitamin C from apples, oranges, rose hip jelly, kakis or other fruits and vegetables you have around :)


Quinoa is a fantastically protein rich pseudo-grain and is therefore a fantastic way to enrich the protein content of your morning bowl of porridge [12, 13]. Research shows that starting your day with a protein rich breakfast keeps you fuller throughout the day and reduces the likelihood of blood sugar spikes and dips [14-16]. Incidentally, eating a dinner low in protein may support sleep and Serotonin production (which is that wonderful happy hormone) [15, 17-19].

I would love to hear from you if this was helpful! Comment below or tag me on Instagram @efias_kitchen with your questions and food pictures!

Have a wonderful day!


[1] Platel, K. and Srinivasan, K., 2016. Bioavailability of micronutrients from plant foods: an update. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 56(10), pp.1608-1619.

[2] Jackson, J., Williams, R., McEvoy, M., MacDonald-Wicks, L. and Patterson, A., 2016. Is higher consumption of animal flesh foods associated with better iron status among adults in developed countries? A systematic review. Nutrients, 8(2), p.89.

[3] Das, S., Bordoloi, R. and Newar, N., 2014. A review on immune modulatory effect of some traditional medicinal herbs. Journal of Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Biological Sciences, 2(1), pp.33-42.

[4] Shakya, S.R., 2015. Medicinal uses of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) improves growth and enhances immunity in aquaculture. International Journal of Chemical Studies, 3(2), pp.83-87.

[5] Butt, M.S. and Sultan, M.T., 2011. Ginger and its health claims: molecular aspects. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 51(5), pp.383-393.

[6] Senchina, D.S., Hallam, J.E., Kohut, M.L., Nguyen, N.A. and Perera, M.A.D.N., 2014. Alkaloids and athlete immune function: caffeine, theophylline, gingerol, ephedrine, and their congeners. Exercise immunology review, 20.

[7] Zivkovic, A.M., Telis, N., German, J.B. and Hammock, B.D., 2011. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids aid in the modulation of inflammation and metabolic health. California agriculture, 65(3), p.106.

[8] Carey, A.N., Fisher, D.R., Joseph, J.A. and Shukitt-Hale, B., 2013. The ability of walnut extract and fatty acids to protect against the deleterious effects of oxidative stress and inflammation in hippocampal cells. Nutritional neuroscience, 16(1), pp.13-20.

[9] Opie, R.S., O'Neil, A., Jacka, F.N., Pizzinga, J. and Itsiopoulos, C., 2018. A modified Mediterranean dietary intervention for adults with major depression: Dietary protocol and feasibility data from the SMILES trial. Nutritional neuroscience, 21(7), pp.487-501.

[10] Hemilä, H., 1994. Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold?-a review of current evidence. Scandinavian journal of infectious diseases, 26(1), pp.1-6.

[11] Carr, A.C. and Maggini, S., 2017. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9(11), p.1211.

[12] Arneja, I., Tanwar, B. and Chauhan, A., 2015. Nutritional composition and health benefits of golden grain of 21 st Century, Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd.): A review. Pakistan journal of Nutrition, 14(12), p.1034.

[13] Vilcacundo, R. and Hernández-Ledesma, B., 2017. Nutritional and biological value of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Current Opinion in Food Science, 14, pp.1-6.

[14] Jakubowicz, D., Wainstein, J., Landau, Z., Ahren, B., Barnea, M., Bar-Dayan, Y. and Froy, O., 2017. High-energy breakfast based on whey protein reduces body weight, postprandial glycemia and hba1c in type 2 diabetes. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 49, pp.1-7.

[15] Berryman, C., Lieberman, H.R., Fulgoni III, V. and Pasiakos, S., 2019. Greater Protein Intake at Breakfast or with Snacks and Less at Dinner Is Associated with Improved Metabolic Health in US Adults (P18-003-19).

[16] Phillips, S.M., Chevalier, S. and Leidy, H.J., 2016. Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(5), pp.565-572.

[17] Yoneyama, S., Sakurai, M., Nakamura, K., Morikawa, Y., Miura, K., Nakashima, M., Yoshita, K., Ishizaki, M., Kido, T., Naruse, Y. and Nogawa, K., 2014. Associations between rice, noodle, and bread intake and sleep quality in Japanese men and women. PloS one, 9(8), p.e105198.

[18] Nehme, P., Marqueze, E.C., Ulhoˆa, M., Moulatlet, E., Codarin, M.A. and Moreno, C.R., 2014. Effects of a carbohydrate-enriched night meal on sleepiness and sleep duration in night workers: A double-blind intervention. Chronobiology international, 31(4), pp.453-460.

[19] Porter, J.M. and Horne, J.A., 1981. Bed-time food supplements and sleep: effects of different carbohydrate levels. Electroencephalography and clinical neurophysiology, 51(4), pp.426-433.

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