“You should try this!” is one off the most enticing sentences I know. Especially when the person saying it is clearly enjoying her food.
This was the case the very first time I encountered the savory side of oatmeal at a ski shelter on Mt. Hood. It didn’t hurt that I was mighty hungry. A fellow skier tipped her bowl of standard issue oatmeal towards me. Melted butter puddled on the top graced with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Weird. Intriguing. But why would anyone do that? I wondered.
The world of porridge that includes oats, corn, rice, kasha, barley–and every other cultivated grain–is wide indeed. So, I realized that restricting myself to the sweet side of oatmeal is especially narrow.
So, the real question is, why would anyone limit themselves to honey, brown sugar or maple syrup when there are so many other possibilities?
The only thing standing in my way was giving it a try. Well, first I had to get my brain around the fact that a bowl of hot breakfast cereal can go the savory way.
I had to think of it like soft polenta, congee or grits.
SImple Savory Oatmeal
Whether you go for standard boiled oats, overnight oats, crockpot or Instapot oats, I’m here to talk about toppings for this classic hot cereal.
Since this is breakfast, it’s go to be easy.
At this time of day, I’m not into treating a bowl of hot cereal like a rice bowl, topping it with all manner of stir-fried vegetables or meats. My deal is that the toppings should be readily accessible for the pantry or fridge.
So, here’s a round up of ideas that fit my definition of simple and don’t turn breakfast into anything more than it is meant to be: nourishing, satisfying and efficient. I mean, we’ve all got things to do!
7 Simple Toppings
There are no hard-and-fast rules here. Apply the quantity of these topping combinations to please your own taste and mood:
- grated sharp cheddar & chives
- curry powder, golden raisins & toasted coconut
- crispy fried egg & kimchi
- brown butter, flake salt & toasted walnuts
- 7-minute egg, edamame & furikake
- leftover sauteed greens, olive oil & shaved parmesan
The recipe is idea #7. Start here, and, if you’re anything like me, oatmeal will take on a whole new meaning as a start for your day. Be well!
Savory Oatmeal with Tamari, Pumpkin & Sesame Seeds
This idea comes from the San Francisco restaurant Mission Pie where they offer a bowl of oatmeal with a sweet or savory topping. Once I'd tasted this combination, my perspective on oatmeal has never been the same.
- 1 cup rolled oats organic
- pinch fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 scallion, green part only, minced
- 3 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan with the salt. Add the oats and stir once. Reduce the heat to low to simmer.
While the oats cook, combine the tamari, sesame oil and green onion in a small bowl.
Portion the cooked oats into a serving bowl. Top to taste with the tamari mixture and the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, adding more as needed.