By Hayley Sugg
February 29, 2016

With the recent news that almost 40% of millennials aren't eating cereal for breakfast, onlookers may be wondering what on earth we eat. I can't speak for all millennials, but I can tell you that savory oats are rising in popularity and they're a regular trend for breakfast (and occasionally dinner) in my home.

Now before you gag at the thought of salting your oatmeal and close this page, give me a second to convince you of the wonders of savory oats. Grains for a savory breakfast are nothing new. Congee, savory rice porridge, has been a staple on Chinese breakfast tables for years. And when it comes to health, oats are like the wholesome and oft-overlooked cousin, with 1/5th the calories of grits while being just as creamy and filling.

If you're like me and grew up reading choose-your-own adventure books (turn to page 5 if you want to fight the Yeti), then you'll have no problem making your own customized bowl of savory oats. Just cook the basic oats and choose one or more ingredients from each category to amp up the flavor. It's that easy!

Choose Your Own Adventure Savory Oats

Makes 1 serving

Basic oats:

  • ½ cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1 cup broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, etc.)
  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Margarine
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Black pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Garam masala
  • Garlic powder
  • Gochujang
  • Onion powder
  • Seasoned salt
  • Miso
  • Salsa
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Tomato paste
  • Peanut sauce
  • Bacon
  • Black beans
  • Cheese (cheddar, feta, parmesan, etc.)
  • Chopped nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, etc.)
  • Cooked and shredded chicken
  • Fried egg
  • Hummus
  • Pan seared tofu
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Caramelized onions
  • Chopped fresh herbs (basil, chives, cilantro, thyme, etc.)
  • Chopped kimchi
  • Cooked spinach or baby kale
  • Crumbled toasted nori (seaweed)
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Pesto
  • Savory granola
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced green onions
  • Steamed vegetables (broccoli, sweet potato, carrots, snap peas, etc.)

Bring your chosen broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the oatmeal along with any chosen fat, seasonings, and sauces/dressings. Turn down to low-medium heat and allow to simmer for 1-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is achieved.

Pour oatmeal into a bowl and top with protein and toppings.

Our Variations:

  • Tex-Mex (pictured above): Vegetable broth, olive oil, chili powder, salsa, black beans, sliced avocado, crushed tortilla chips, and chopped cilantro
  • Asian (pictured above): Vegetable broth, sesame oil, miso, soy sauce, sriracha, tofu, crumbled toasted nori, and green onions
  • Shrooms: Vegetable broth, butter, black pepper, Parmesan, mushrooms, caramelized onions, chopped thyme, and pesto
  • All-American: Chicken broth, olive oil, seasoned salt, cheddar, fried egg, crumbled bacon, and chives
  • Masala: Vegetable broth, ghee, garam masala, garlic powder, caramelized onions, steamed vegetables (peas and carrots)
  • Chicken Parmesan: Chicken broth, butter, onion and garlic powder, tomato paste, Parmesan, chicken, chopped basil, and cooked spinach

Can't get enough of savory oats? Check out some of our breakfast favorite below:

Try an oat-y take on an Italian classic with this Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms
Skip the white rice and get more protein and fiber with the same creole taste in this Steel-Cut Oats Jambalaya
Goat Cheese and Cremini Oatmeal for breakfast will make anyone get out out of bed

For even more breakfast options, try your hand at baking oatmeal: