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August 27th, 2009 No Comments


Oatmeal for breakfast is a great option because it contains plenty of protein, fiber, and won’t leave you hungry before lunch. If I eat dry cereal, I find I’m soon hungry again. But for as much as I talk about how great oatmeal is and how many different items can be added to it (fruit, nut butters, squash or pumpkin purees, coconut, spices, flaxseed, etc.), I know regular old oatmeal can get tiring.

Recently, reader Kristen reminded me of another way of preparing oatmeal: savory style! If you think of oatmeal as a sort of rice or grain, it’s easy to see how it could work well as savory fare. As we’re approaching fall, savory oats in the morning could be a warm and hearty way to start your day (ugh, that rhymed… totally unintentional). If you’re going to go savory, I’d especially recommend using steel-cut oats instead of regular rolled oats for better texture. Some savory ideas to get you started:

  • CLASSIC: A tiny dab of butter, salt, and pepper.
  • CHEESY: All of the above with added sharp cheddar, parmesan, feta, or goat cheese. Use a strong cheese and a little will go a long way.
  • ASIAN: Scallions, sesame seeds, and a splash of soy sauce. You could even experiment with adding tofu!
  • FIESTA: Sauteed green peppers, onions, black beans, hot sauce, and a sprinkling of sharp cheddar.
  • EGGS & BACON: Scramble eggs into oatmeal as you’re cooking (if you’re making stove top oats) and add bits of crispy turkey bacon cooked in the toaster oven or microwave. Another option is topping a bowl of oats with a sunnyside up egg.
  • GREEK: Spinach, diced tomato, and feta.
  • BURGERS: Using eggs as a binder, form your oatmeal into patties, season, and then lightly pan-fry.
  • INDIAN: Chickpeas and curry powder.
  • ITALIANO: Fresh or canned diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. You could also add some chicken sausage if you’re up for it.

With any of these recipes, if you want to really infuse some flavor, you can cook your oatmeal in fat-free chicken broth instead of water. I know some of you might not be up for this kind of food so early in the morning, so I recommend easing into savory oatmeal by starting with the Classic and then expanding from there. Think of savory oatmeal as an omelette. Anything you’d put in eggs would be good in oatmeal! Give savory oats a try and expand your breakfast horizon.