Oatmeal: Breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions!

Savory Oatmeal

My ratatouille-inspired oatmeal. So easy a rodent could make it.

If you’re like me, you’re eating a lot of oatmeal right now. For the longest time, I didn’t think outside that odd, cylindrical box and ate my oatmeal only at breakfast with brown sugar and cinnamon. Occasionally, I’d get crazy and add some pureed pumpkin and walnuts.

But then something happened that changed my attitude about oatmeal. I realized that an oat is a grain and, just like any other grain, it could be used to create wonderful, savory dishes that could be served for lunch or dinner. It’s a perfect choice for people who like creamy dishes, but want to avoid the added fat that cream or cheese would add to a dish.

So, I started experimenting. I found that oatmeal plays nicely with almost every spice and vegetable I paired it with. Some Asian-style vegetables and soy sauce with steel-cut oats? Hen hao! Some onion, green beans, tomatoes, basil, oregano and old-fashioned rolled oats? Molto bene! Sauteed onion, peppers and salsa with old-fashioned rolled oats? Delicioso!

You get the idea. Pretty much anything you can come up with will likely taste great. If you lack imagination, just search the internet for savory oatmeal recipes and you’ll find tons of options to drool over. To add some healthy protein to your creation, just add some chicken or extra-firm tofu.

My most recent experiment, was a Provencal-style dinner in a bowl: Ratatouille-inspired, savory oatmeal. I had some leftover roasted zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic, grape tomatoes from a meal made earlier in the week and was inspired to give it a try. You can see the result in the picture above, but it doesn’t do it justice. This recipe tasted (and smelled) amazing!

Since I’ve discovered how delicious, quick and easy savory oatmeal is, I haven’t gone back to the old-school sweet breakfast oatmeal preparations. I just can’t believe how long it took me to discover this healthy trick!

If you want to try my recent creation, here are the details:

Savory oatmeal, ratatouille style

Makes 1 serving

1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats

1 c. water

1/2 c. roasted vegetables
(Note: I used zucchini, yellow squash, grape tomatoes, onion and garlic roasted on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes; turn halfway during cooking.)

1/3 c. extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes

A pinch or two of Herbes de Provence (about 1/8 t.)

Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.

For fastest preparation, add all ingredients to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 4 minutes at 50% power. If microwaving isn’t your thing, cook the oats in a saucepan according to the recommendations on the box, then add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through.  Bon appetit!