Easy Eats

3 New Ways to Make Old Oatmeal

I have a rough time with breakfast some days. And it isn’t because I don’t like to eat it. Some mornings it just doesn’t happen for me. It doesn’t help that I don’t really like cereal. Most days I find myself eating an apple while I walk to work. Could be worse, but not exactly filling.

Enter oatmeal. Oh oatmeal how I love you. I don’t really love the instant stuff (although it is better than cereal), but real rolled oats are fantastic. They are filling and tasty and good for you. All of that said, recently, I’ve gotten a bit bored with the stuff.

So over the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with some oatmeal variations, and I’ve found some good options.

Greek Oatmeal with Feta

A Greek take on Oatmeal.

A Greek take on Oatmeal.

This was actually Jeff’s idea and was pretty good. I tried to maybe get a bit too inventive here. Jeff said to try Feta cheese and black pepper on oatmeal. I thought it might be a good idea to balance out some of that savory flavor with some sweet, so I added some honey. It was okay with the honey, but the flavors were not blending well. If I made it again I would try just Feta and pepper.

Three Oatmeal Variations

Just a moment please...

Yield
Each recipe serves 2.
Prep Time
Total Time

Ingredients

Greek Oatmeal

1 Cup rolled Oats
1.5 Cups water
1 Cup milk
Feta and Black Pepper

Pomegranate Oatmeal

1 Cup rolled Oats
3/4 Cup water
3/4 Cup Pomegranate juice
1 Cup milk
Dollop of butter and brown sugar

Chocolate Oatmeal

1 Cup rolled Oats
1.5 Cups water
1 Cup milk
1.5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1.5 Tablespoons sugar
Honey (optional)
Cinnamon (optional)
Print Recipe     Pin Recipe

Directions

Cooking Rolled Oats. For one person, I only need about 1/2 – 2/3 of a cup of uncooked rolled oats to have a full breakfast. I usually do about 2.5 parts liquid to 1 part rolled oats when cooking. So if I’m using 1/2 Cup of oats, I would use about 1.25 Cups water.
Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan.
Once it is boiling, add a pinch of salt, and oats.
Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
If it gets too dry, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water.
When your oats are creamy and delicious, you’re done!

Chocolate Oatmeal
Get your water and milk going in a saucepan and then stir in your cocoa powder and sugar.
Whisk everything together well.
When the mixture starts to simmer, cook your oats as normal.
You’ll end up with a rich, dark brown oatmeal that you can top with cinnamon or honey or just eat it as is.

Pomegranate Oatmeal
Cooked the oatmeal normally, but substitute half the water with pomegranate.
Top with a dollop of butter and brown sugar.

Greek Oatmeal with Feta
Cooked the oatmeal normally.
Top with a feta cheese and black pepper.

Rolled Oats 101

There are a lot of different kinds of oats that you can buy in the store. In my experience though, there are four basic kinds that you will run into regularly:

Instant Oats – This is what you commonly find in the little packets that you can microwave. These taste fine in a crunch, but in the process of making them “instant” the manufacturers also tend to remove a lot of nutrients.

Quick Oats – These are rolled oats that have just been steamed a bit longer to soften more, but not cooked as much as instant oats. They only need about 5 minutes to cook through. Honestly, I’ve never really used these.

Rolled Oats – These are my oats of choice for oatmeal. They usually take about 15 minutes to cook, but you end up with a really rich, wholesome grain.

Steal Cut Oats – These oats are cut so some of the outer bran husks are still intact. These are delicious, but they usually take around 45 minutes to cook and, for me, aren’t really realistic for a weekday breakfast.

Cooking Rolled Oats

For one person, I only need about 1/2 – 2/3 of a cup of uncooked rolled oats to have a full breakfast. I usually do about 2.5 parts liquid to 1 part rolled oats when cooking. So if I’m using 1/2 Cup of oats, I would use about 1.25 Cups water. Bring your liquid to a boil over high heat in a small saucepan. Once it is boiling, add a pinch of salt, and your oats. Turn your heat down to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If it gets too dry, feel free to add a few tablespoons of water. When your oats are creamy and delicious, your done!

Chocolate Oatmeal

One of the first variations I thought of involves the basic workings of hot chocolate.

Well hello darlings.

Well hello darlings.

Get your water and milk going in a saucepan and then stir in your cocoa powder and sugar. A whisk will be your friend. You want everything to be mixed in well. When the mixture starts to simmer, cook your oats as normal.

Trippy man.

Trippy man.

You’ll end up with a rich, dark brown oatmeal that you can top with cinnamon or honey or just eat it as is. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but this was really good.

I promise this was awesome.

I promise this was awesome.

Even though I usually prefer savory to sweet, I liked the chocolate more than the Feta version.

Pomegranate Oatmeal

This was kind of a crazy idea I had. I like pomegranate juice okay, but I find it even better to cook with. It can give a lot of flavor to sauces and reductions. I thought it just might work for oatmeal.

I cooked the oatmeal normally, but substituted half the water with pomegranate. I think all pomegranate would be overkill.

Hate to drink it. Love to cook with it.

Ok to drink. Better to cook with.

After it was done, I topped it with a dollop of butter and brown sugar.

It was surprisingly delicious. It had kind of a bite to it. Almost too acidic, but the butter cut it nicely. And it had a really intense, fruity flavor.

Great red oats!

Great red oats!

If I had to rank these, I would say that the chocolate variety was my favorite (which shocked me because I don’t like sweets for breakfast normally), followed very closely by the pomegranate. I really liked that also. The Greek dish was third, but still tasty.

Other ideas

I started talking to people about how I was experimenting with oatmeal and came up with a few other ideas:

Ginger – I was talking to my friend Zander (@zanzanne) and he mentioned how he thought that oatmeal sometimes has like a bean curd flavor and that gave him the idea to mush up fresh ginger and add it to oatmeal. That would definitely liven up the bowl.

Coffee – Once I realized how well oatmeal takes on whatever flavor you cook it in, cooking it in coffee was the next leap. I didn’t actually try this, but I think it would work pretty well.

Anyone else have any fun takes on oatmeal??

20 comments on “3 New Ways to Make Old Oatmeal

  1. I can only eat the steel cut cooked, for the others, I have to eat it uncooked. Some people think I'm weird for eating my oatmeal dry, but I can't stand the mush. Your oatmeal doesn't look gluey at all.. maybe I'm making it wrong. Very cool ideas, I think I like mine best with cinnamon sugar.

  2. I used to travel quite a bit. Morning breakfast buffets in no-tell motels are boring to say the least. When I would have oatmeal, to charge up my instant oatmeal, I’d add a packet of peanut butter and a couple packets of honey. Healthier and tastes better than those microwaved processed eggs sitting under a heating lamp next to the limp bacon, cardboard sausage and stale biscuits and bagels.

  3. When I think of it, I make a largish batch of steel cut oatmeal at night and refrigerate it. Then in the morning I add a little bit of water to a serving bowl and zap as much as I want in that. Since my husband doesn't like oatmeal, this lasts 4 days or so. Sooo much better than dry cereal, and you an add anything you want.

  4. I like to throw a sliced up banana in while it's cooking, and the banana sort of mushes itself up and incorporates in to the mix, and then I swirl some peanut butter on afterwards. So proteiny and potasiummy and oaty and delicious.

  5. I'm a daily oatmeal eater myself and I do get tired of it. I've tried a bunch of stuff, but the feta idea blows my mind. I still can't quite wrap my head around how that would taste. It actually reminds me of a conversation that I had with a Chinese-American friend about oatmeal. She asked if oatmeal is like congee for white people. I said that it kind of was, except you can't really do savory with oats the way you can with rice, but maybe I was wrong. Huh. Could you pursue this? :)

    Anyway I second the banana oatmeal. I like to make it with soy milk and banana and it's super tasty.

    My usual fare though is oatmeal with protein powder. I use different flavors (chocolate, vanilla, cookies & cream, etc) to keep it more interesting, but I still get tired of it.

    And really, if you or your readers know of more savory ideas, I'm super interested to hear them.

    1. So in my country (Bulgaria, which is right next to Greece) we *do* have a savory porridge we call “poopara” You pour boiling water over a good dollop of butter, a big chunk of feta, and stale bread broken into chunks and then cover and wait five minutes. So feta and oatmeal works really well, especially if you add cream or butter. We *also* love to combine feta and honey, which go well together because the salty balances the sweet. HOWEVER, honey, feta, *and* oatmeal is not traditional, as Nick found out (especially with black pepper???) It’s important to choose what kind of oatmeal you are making, savory or sweet, and stick with it.

  6. These are great ideas everyone. Jean, I really like the idea of cooking the steel cut oats ahead of time. Not sure why I never thought of that. Great idea.

    Thanks for all the variations and comments!

  7. Re: Coffee in Oatmeal. Don't do it! Unless you mix in the coffee AFTER you've cooked the oatmeal, it tastes burnt. I tried with instant coffee anyway…

    I eat oatmeal daily and here's what I toss in:

    oats

    milk

    almonds

    blueberries

    wheat germ

    raisins

    flax seed oil

    salt

    cinnamon

    Delicious.

  8. I like to put jam in my oatmeal, currant or cherry are my favorites, sometimes a little vanilla or almond extract too.

    Also, I have read that you can soak steel cut oats the night before like beans and then they cook up in minutes the next morning. (I just posted about steel cut oats yesterday, copycat :)

  9. Re: savory oatmeal. The Scottish use oatmeal as a grain like rice, so there are a lot of savory oatmeal recipes.

    I use it for breakfast. This is my all time favorite: dates and toasted walnuts. Cut up the dates while the water is boiling and throw them in. I use about five or six dates for three people (actually I just cut them up until I'm tired of cutting them and the water starts boiling). I also toast the walnuts in the microwave while the oatmeal is cooking-takes about 3 minutes for a handful of frozen walnuts.

    Chocolate oatmeal might be worth a try.

  10. For a savory way to eat oatmeal (though we eat it as a side dish for dinner, rather than breakfast), try this: Use steel cut oats to make a risotto — my favorite is with leeks, peas, and Parmesan/peccorino cheese — delicious!

  11. I do steel cut oatmeal in the microwave. 1/3 cup oatmeal with 1-1/3 cup water. Takes about 10-12 minutes. Then I stir in blueberries and bananas and a pinch of salt and a tsp of sugar. Love it and it gives me the potassium I need. I eat this about 4-5 days a week. The other days I have soft boiled eggs or poached eggs on buttered toast cut up in chunks.

  12. The chocolate oatmeal just made my morning. Slice a banana on top. It’s glorious. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. I have been eating the chocolate oatmeal every morning for the past 2 weeks! I cut it down to 1/3 cup oats, etc. I also put in cinnamon and sliced banana which is delicious.

  14. i tend to make mine more dry and add: pecans, coconut flakes (unsweetened), a sprinkle of brown sugar, and evaporated milk. it's the way that i grew up eating it. crunchy and a little sweet.

  15. I will have to try the chocolate out on the kids we have gone all unprocessed breakfasts so no more cereal :( it’s killing them lol not really but they did whine quite a bit the first week or so

  16. Since I’ve been going to the local farmers market I’ve been trying lots of different fruits, but nectarines are the best IMHO.

    Also, try savory oatmeal. Think of oatmeal as congee, but with oatmeal instead of rice pudding. Just read the Wikipedia article on congee and use it as a guide. For example, I’ve added tuna plus sautéed onions, kale, and arugula to my oatmeal.

Leave a Comment