I'm sure you've all eaten oatmeal before, whether it be covered in strawberries or sprinkled with chocolate chips. But there's more to oatmeal that you probably don't know...it tastes amazing prepared savory.
I know it sounds odd, but it's only because we are so used to preparing oatmeal sweet. Oats don't have a naturally sweet flavor, just like rice or any other grain, and they can be prepared the same way you would a rice dish, using predominantly salty flavors. Now that I've discovered this trick, I've been making savory oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's a quick healthy meal!
Why using oats is a healthy choice:
- Contains no arsenic like rice does
- Lowers your cholesterol/helps prevent heart disease
- High in fiber
- Keeps you full, stabilizes your blood sugar levels, and controls your appetite hormones
- Great for weight loss
Mexican: Just substitute the oatmeal for rice. Use beans, cheese, tomatoes or salsa, avocado and hot sauce, and top with Greek Yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.
Gooey "Pasta": Sometimes I use oatmeal when I'm craving a big bowl of pasta. I'll put in the vegetables and greens I usually put into my pasta (spinach, arugula or kale) along with zucchini, mushrooms, and onions with some tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. I'll add some Greek Yogurt to this too, just as I do with my pasta, to add some protein filled creaminess.
"Canadian" Breakfast: Instead of Canadian bacon, I use chicken apple sausage, and I top the dish with cheddar cheese, and a (small) splash of maple syrup. If you are feeling adventurous, you can chop up some green onion and throw it in for a more savory flavor. This dish is a great mix of sweet and savory, inspired by a cool oatmeal bar in Greenwich Village called Oatmeals.
I've made these three in the past few weeks, but you can play around! Think of the flavors you like together, and mix them with oatmeal. Make a Caprese with tomatoes, homemade pesto and some mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar. Or substitute oatmeal for rice and make a garlic mushroom "risotto." The options are endless!
Garlic Lemon Italian Style Oatmeal "Risotto"
Chopped garlic, 2 cloves (or to taste)
Grated parmesan cheese
1/2 small lemon, to squeeze
(I used Old Fashioned oats, which was actually really good, but if you want more of a fine risotto texture, use steel cut, which take a bit longer to cook)
1. Heat up your oatmeal first, whether it be in the microwave (quickest and easiest for old-fashioned) or in the pot (best for steel-cut. I bought the quick cook kind, which saves lots of time).
2. While your oatmeal is cooking, chop up your vegetables. Then sauté in a pan with some olive oil.
3. Once your vegetables are cooked, either pour them into your oatmeal and mix, or pour the oatmeal into the pan with the rest of the ingredients. Sometimes it's nice to add the oatmeal to the pan so that the vegetables mix more thoroughly and so that any flavor that is sitting in the pan gets absorbed by the oatmeal.
4. Grate your parmesan cheese. Squeeze the lemon into your oatmeal, and top/mix with parmesan cheese.
Hope you become a savory oatmeal convert, and let me know if you think of any creative combos!