Oatmeal is a breakfast staple, a warm, comforting blank canvas for all sorts of toppings: maple syrup, chopped fruit and nuts, even chocolate chips. But it’s not just for the morning hour, nor just for sweet flavors. Savory oatmeal is a worthy avenue of exploration this winter, when you’re seeking to expand beyond the borders of your usual comfort foods, but still need meals that stick to your ribs and warm you up from the inside. Plus, January just happens to be National Oatmeal Month.
Sorta Healthy, Sorta Cajun
“I just had some with steamed broccoli, a bit of shredded mozzarella and some Tony’s [Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning].” —Laurawnm
We’d wager you’ve never had oatmeal with broccoli before, but is it that much of a leap from cheesy broccoli rice to creamy broccoli oatmeal with cheese? Plus, Creole spice makes everything nice.
Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning, 2 for $4.23 at Walmart
Tastes good on everything, indeed.
“Toasted nori shreds … chopped roasted asparagus and/or wild mushrooms.” —Emme
“I will use chicken broth to make my oatmeal most of the time – and then if you add other little bits like egg, meat, cilantro, whatever, it reminds me of Chinese jook!” —maybelle
If you’re not familiar with jook (or congee), it’s a thick, creamy, savory rice porridge of sorts, and you should try it and this oatmeal riff posthaste. Also, using chicken broth (or any broth) instead of water is a great general tip for all your savory oatmeal experiments.
Formosa Brand Pork Sung, $18.58 on Amazon
Try topping jook or jook-inspired oatmeal with this pork floss (it's better than it sounds).
Related Reading: Chefs Share Their Fave Cold Weather Comfort Foods
Oats ‘n’ Brine
“I like it with some chopped kalamata olives, a splash of olive oil, a splash of Maggi sauce (or just plain soy sauce), topped with chopped green onion.” —PandanExpress
Another way to get your salt fix, but the scallions’ sharp flavor helps cut through the sodium. Try tossing in roasted cherry tomatoes and feta too for a Mediterranean-inspired dish.
“[T]op with stir-fried garlic spinach, a poached/fried egg and a drizzle of olive oil (or a dollop of creme fraiche).” —peppermint pate
Add your own crunchy, creamy, healthy flourishes as you see fit. You have a whole world of superfoods to choose from.
Stick to Your Ribs
Kitchen Queen suggested that if “you enjoy sausage and eggs try putting the sausage in the oatmeal”—which inspired us to put both breakfast staples in, though this definitely works as supper too.
Just more proof that oatmeal can be an understudy for grits—and a delicious meal at any time of day.
Related Video: How to Make Slow Cooker Oatmeal
All oatmeal photographs by Chris Rochelle for Chowhound