Spiced pumpkin porridge

This hearty, healthy recipe comes with a heart-warming story.

Spiced pumpkin porridge

Porridge is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Made from hearty cereal grains, it’s the perfect complement to cooler climates and seasons, and has traditionally been common to regions of Northern Europe and Russia.

This recipe for spiced pumpkin porridge comes from Amanda Hawkins, a young communications professional and Kaiser Permanente member with a very inspiring story. We thought we’d share it in Amanda’s own words:

“I have struggled with obesity my entire life. I have a very distinct memory of weighing in at 150 pounds at just 10 years old. By the time I was 24, I was over 240 pounds, severely depressed, had chronic migraines, IBS, acid reflux disease, and sciatica pains so intense that my feet would go numb. I knew my health was holding me back from living an abundant life and achieving my dreams.

I joined Weight Watchers and began the Couch to 5K program. This weight loss journey has transformed me into an entirely new woman and encompasses so much more than merely my weight. I now realize how much being healthy effects all aspects of my health. I could hardly walk down the block when I started my journey, and now I have completed my first half marathon and am registered for my first full marathon.

When I ran the San Francisco half marathon, I had been dreaming of the day for years. Running across the Golden Gate bridge made me tear up. I started this journey nearly 80 pounds heavier and am so thankful for all of the support. Every day is an opportunity to strike that delicate balance of health and life, but in the process, you discover that anything is possible."

Amanda says this recipe for spiced pumpkin porridge helps her get through her long training runs. It’s the kind of recipe that you can make in the evening and have for breakfast several days in a row.

Servings: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes


  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 can pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • Pure maple syrup to taste (optional)


  1. Place the milk, barley, bulgur, and oats in a medium-sized pot and bring to a low boil. 
  2. Continue boiling for approximately 10 minutes, or until the bulgur has sufficiently softened. 
  3. Add the canned pumpkin puree and spices and mix. 
  4. If you want a bit of sweetness, you can add some maple syrup to taste.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 260
  • Total fat: 3 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 10 mg
  • Sodium: 230 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 50 g
  • Dietary fiber: 9 g
  • Total sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 12 g