Oats are a particularly versatile whole grain, as delicious with a swirl of maple syrup and a dash of cream as they are topped with tender greens and cheese. Long overlooked as a savory option, trusty oatmeal is finally assuming its place beside polenta and risotto, a tasty and nourishing pantry staple that makes a great foil for whatever vegetables or protein you have on hand. If it’s hard to think of oats as anything but sweet, start with breakfast or brunch.
Two cups of dry oats will make four breakfasts. A half cup of oatmeal may not look like much of a serving, but bolstered with toppings it makes a hearty meal that will keep you satisfied until lunch. Steel-cut oats, with their pleasantly chewy texture, last several days in the fridge—make a big batch and reheat it for instant breakfasts through the week.
A 2-to-1 ratio of liquid to oats is a good starting point—you can always add broth or water to loosen it up if it dries out as it cooks, or cook it a bit longer to thicken it. Once you’ve got your base made, you can top it as you like. Stir in a pat of butter or a swirl of grassy extra-virgin olive oil for richness. This is a great opportunity to incorporate leftovers and dark leafy greens into your breakfast routine.
A few favorite seasonal toppings for March are listed below, but you could take it in any direction you like: substitute grated Parmigiano for cheddar, swirl in a spoonful of pesto or gremolata. Or try sprinkling with furikake (a flavorful Japanese mixture of toasted sesame seeds, sea salt, nori and bonito flakes), add a splash of soy sauce and dab of sriracha. A fried egg always works well. The possibilities are endless. Even oatmeal for dinner!
Makes 4 breakfast-sized servings
2 cups steel-cut oats or old-fashioned rolled oats (avoid instant)
4 cups bone broth, chicken broth, vegetable stock or water
Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
eggs, fried or soft-boiled
sauteed or roasted mushrooms
Sauteed Cabbage and Kale
fresh baby spinach or baby arugula
grated or crumbled cheddar cheese
cooked bacon, crumbled
butter or extra-virgin olive oil
hot sauce, for serving
Simmer broth or water, stir in oats. Cook 10–12 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has absorbed. Stir in butter, olive oil or sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add you choice of toppings and serve.
Cooked oatmeal will keep for 5–6 days in an airtight container in the fridge.