Although oatmeal has long been touted for its health benefits, it has a reputation of being a bit boring.
But with the right ingredients, you can turn oatmeal into the ultimate comfort food.
I personally love steel-cut oats (also called Irish or Scotish oats). Although they take much longer to cook than your basic rolled oats, steel-cut oats reheat beautifully, so you can cook a big batch on the weekend to reheat as needed during the week.
I also always keep my pantry stocked with old-fashioned rolled oats. They make a lovely porridge when I’m short on time (and they also make great granola). I avoid quick-cooking rolled oats because they have a tendency towards mushiness. Instant oatmeal is loaded with sweeteners and artificial ingredients and won’t work for any of the recipes below.
Once you have the right oats, you can start getting creative. Here are some of my favorite vegan oatmeal recipes:
1. Creamy Almond-Coconut Oatmeal with Dates
Almond butter and coconut butter make a luscious vegan oatmeal. Per serving of oatmeal, add 1/4 cup chopped dates, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or to taste), and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon during the last three minutes of cooking. When the oatmeal is done cooking, remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of coconut butter.
2. Pistachio and Cardamom Oatmeal
Pistachios and a touch of cardamom unite in this addictive porridge. Per serving of oatmeal, add 1/4 cup of chopped, toasted pistachios, 1 tablespoon of agave nectar (or to taste), and a pinch of ground cardamom during the last three minutes of cooking.
3. Chai-Spiced Oatmeal
This creamy, sweet, and spice-infused oatmeal will warm your belly on a cold morning. Combine 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (soy, rice, coconut, etc.), a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla, and 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats; stir until combined. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is thick and creamy. (For steel-cut oats, simply increase the non-dairy milk to 3 cups and the oats to 1 cup. Cooking time will be increased.)
Short cut: If you’re in a hurry, you can infuse your oatmeal with chai flavor by simmering the non-dairy milk with a bag of your favorite chai tea. Remove the tea bag before adding oats.
4. Persimmon or Pumpkin Oatmeal
Kind of like eating pie for breakfast. Bring 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (soy, rice, coconut, etc.) to a gentle boil. Stir in 3/4 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats and a pinch of salt. Cook for a minute and then stir in 1/4 cup of persimmon puree (I like wild persimmons) or 1/4 cup canned pureed pumpkin. Add 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, and 1/4 cup of chopped, toasted walnuts. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is thick and creamy.
This one-pot dish of vegetables and oats is healthy and delicious. It’s a great change of pace from your typical sweet breakfast.
Another savory oatmeal that seems weird until you try it – one bite and you’ll be hooked.
This recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. It’s a good middle ground for people looking for a departure from the brown-sugar-and-butter combination, but who aren’t ready to put soy sauce on their oatmeal just yet.
Do you have a favorite oatmeal recipe? Share it as a comment!