It’s funny how oats have been pigeonholed for use in mostly sweet dishes in the U.S. We tend to eat oats sweetened at breakfast, or as part of delicious crumbly desserts, but oats do just as well with savory flavors as do any other grain. This savory oatmeal is a delicious and hearty meal any time of day, and there are so many options for toppings and add-ins, so you can make it work with whatever ingredients you have on hand. This might just end up being your new favorite easy budget meal!
What Kind of Oats are Best for This Recipe?
You can technically make savory oats with any kind of oats, but the recipe below is written for old-fashioned rolled oats, which cook fairly quickly (about 5 minutes). I find that old-fashioned rolled oats are a nice balance between texture and convenience. Steel-cut oats take much longer to cook and you’ll need more liquid. Quick oats cook faster but don’t provide very much texture.
How to Flavor Savory Oatmeal
Oats on their own have a very bland flavor, and I think that’s why they often get a bad rap. Here are some tips for making sure your savory oatmeal is full of flavor:
- Cook them in a really flavorful broth. I like to use Better Than Bouillon because it tends to have a nice vibrant flavor. Plus it comes in several flavors and options.
- Use aromatics. A little bit of fresh garlic or ginger goes a long way! Green onion or shallots are also great.
- Add your favorite seasoning blend. You could experiment with your favorite bottled seasonings like Everything Bagel Seasoning, jerk seasoning, steak seasoning, furikake, onion salt.
- Top with your favorite sauce. Try adding a little chili garlic paste, sriracha, or gochujang!
Savory Oatmeal Topping Ideas
In addition to ingredients that can be added into your oatmeal, you can add all sorts of delicious toppings, too! Here are some oatmeal topping ideas:
Can I Make it Ahead?
Yes, savory oatmeal is great for making ahead! You can change the number of servings in the recipe card below and the ingredients will auto adjust for you. After cooking, divide your savory oatmeal into single-serving portions and refrigerate. To reheat, simply microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stirring half-way through. If the oatmeal is too thick, just add a splash of water.
Make it Vegan
You can make the savory oatmeal recipe below vegan by swapping out the butter for your favorite cooking oil. Coconut oil would be very nice here because it has a rich mouthfeel, similar to butter.
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.05)
- 4 mushrooms ($0.62)
- 1 tsp butter ($0.04)
- 1 cup vegetable broth ($0.13)
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats ($0.09)
- 1/2 cup spinach ($0.19)
- 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil ($0.05)
- Mince the garlic, grate the ginger, and slice the mushrooms.
- Add the butter, garlic, and ginger to a small saucepot. Sauté over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or until the mushrooms have wilted a bit.
- Add the vegetable broth to the saucepot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the broth up to a boil.
- When the broth reaches a boil, add the rolled oats and stir to combine. Allow it to return to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Let the oats simmer for about 5 minutes, or until thickened.
- While the oats are simmering, roughly chop the spinach. Stir the spinach into the thickened oats, along with the toasted sesame oil.
- Taste and add salt to your liking, if needed, then top it off with your favorite toppings. Serve hot!
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How to Make Savory Oatmeal – Step by Step Photos
Mince one clove of garlic, grate about ½ tsp of fresh ginger, and slice 3-4 mushrooms. Add the garlic, ginger, and 1 teaspoon butter to a small saucepot. Sauté the garlic and ginger in the butter over medium heat for about one minute.
Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the mushrooms have softened.
Add one cup vegetable broth to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the broth up to a boil.
When the broth reaches a boil, add ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats.
Allow the broth to come back up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let the oats simmer for about 5 minutes, or until thickened.
While the oats are simmering, roughly chop a handful of spinach. Stir the chopped spinach and ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil into the oats.
Give it a taste and add salt, if needed. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
It’s also really good with an egg on top!