Every so often, Jeremy requests oatmeal as a change of pace for breakfast. Since oatmeal never seems to fill me up for more than a few hours, I keep experimenting with ways of adding fat and protein to our oatmeal. Unfortunately, most of the variations I’ve tried so far involve cooking the oats in milk and/or eggs for a custard-like texture, which is not Jeremy’s preference, so it was back to the drawing board for those occasions when I am cooking breakfast for both of us–which is most days. I needed some method of doctoring my oats that either didn’t affect its texture and visual appearance, or could be applied after cooking. The solution: savory oatmeal.
Right off the bat, when Jeremy requests oatmeal for breakfast, I toast the oats in a big knob of coconut oil or grassfed butter, probably 2-3 tablespoons per portion of oats. This makes the oats fragrant and nutty, and they absorb all the fat, such that the texture is not impacted. But I have also been trying hard to decrease my sugar intake at breakfast because it is an ongoing food preference that sets off my blood sugar on the wrong track for the day. Considering all the carbs in a bowl of oatmeal, piling on sugar (or even molasses) and fruit only worsens the situation and promotes the inevitable mid-morning crash.
So while Jeremy was busy sprinkling on the usual toppings like cranberries, walnuts, brown sugar and spices this morning, I went the opposite direction and loaded up my oatmeal with full-fat cultured sour cream, chopped bacon and leftover roasted butternut squash reheated in some drippings, shavings of Parmesan, and a sunny-side up egg (actually 1 egg with an extra white–when I do eggs for the time being, I separate a yolk to cook into “noodles” for Theo, and add the extra white to mine just to keep them from cluttering the fridge). The result reminded me very much of the cheesy soft polenta I sometimes eat with a fried or scrambled egg for lunch or a light dinner when I am on my own.
I admit, I was a little nervous about the prospect of delving into savory oatmeal. After all, even if sweetened oatmeal doesn’t fill me up, it is a comforting and familiar breakfast food! But now that I have tried it, I think it may be the perfect solution to my oatmeal quandary, and the flavor possibilities are endless, both for breakfasts or for any other meal. I suspect it will be an ideal vehicle for leftover meat and veggies on those days when I am tired of making hashes or scrambles.
More (and more) flavor options for savory oatmeal:
- A bunch of sweet and savory options from Serious Eats.
- A group of savory ideas, including curried oats with onion, vegetable upma, balsamic figs, apples and Gruyere, and Mark Bittman’s classic soy-scallion oats.
- A vegan recipe with nutritional yeast, shiitake mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and greens.
- Tomatoes, walnuts, and spinach.
- A risotto-style recipe from Food and Wine.
- Roasted cherry tomatoes and oyster mushrooms.
- Eggs, mushrooms, and asparagus.
- Spinach oats with apple butter.
- Sausage, tomatoes, and Parmesan.
- Steelcut oats with apple sausage and veggies.
- A savory dinner oatmeal from Rachael Ray with chicken meatballs.
- Even Martha is on the savory oatmeal bandwagon!