You probably already know that oatmeal is a super-cheap, uber-healthy breakfast option; when loaded with berries and a generous pour of maple syrup, it’s also sneaky way to have sweets first thing in the morning. Now we have an alternative (brace yourself): savory oatmeal. Don’t turn up your nose just yet: Like your favorite pasta, oatmeal is mild in flavor and holds up to toppings, yet it’s way better for you than that pile of spaghetti. Whether you put an egg on top or pile on the vegetables, these 9 savory porridges will have you scraping the bowl.
Spicy chorizo and a tomato-roasted red pepper sauce spooned over oatmeal: It’s like your bowl put on a bright shade of lipstick. A tender poached egg and a shower of chopped fresh parsley make this dish perfectly Instagram-able and mega tasty.
Steel-cut oats are as thick and creamy as any respectable risotto—an excellent solution for when you don’t want to go to the store at dinnertime. Sauté meaty mushrooms with a whole head of dinosaur kale, and mix the veg into the cooked oatmeal with a rich miso-tahini dressing. Soak the oats overnight, and you’re looking at a 15-minute meal.
A layer of roasted butternut squash (or sweet potato) makes a bright topping for oatmeal at any meal. Dip the squash in the soft-boiled egg yolk, then scoop up the walnut-seasoned porridge for the most enjoyable bite. Pro tip: A dusting of dried rosemary and thyme and plain olive oil work just as well as the herb oil.
Make this meal the next time you have people over, and (surprise!) you won’t spend your entire paycheck. Spend a little extra on high-quality shrimp, because the remaining ingredients are probably already in your kitchen. Boil steel-cut oats with leeks and kale, adding chicken broth and white wine for extra flavor. Serve with pan-seared shrimp, salt and pepper, and lots of Parmesan.
A vegan meal packed with texture provides all the sustenance you’ll need for hours to come. Marinate tempeh strips in a smoky spice mixture (or use premade vegan bacon or sausage, we won’t tell!), then pan-fry until charred. Meanwhile, mix a glob of hummus into standard oatmeal, and add a kale and black bean sauté. Serve with a few sliced of buttery avocado.
Flavor fans, ready your tongues. Browned garlic serves as the base for creamy oatmeal, then basil and cheddar find their way into the mix. Plus, if you don’t already top fried eggs with paprika and chile powder, you need to rethink your priorities. When these two aromatic powerhouses come together, boring breakfasts better run and hide.
Bacon, egg, cheese… and oatmeal? That’s right. This hearty bowl offers the soothing flavors of your favorite breakfast sandwich from the convenience of a bowl (hello, re-watching all of Stranger Things in bed!). Melt sharp cheddar into a warm bowl of oats, then add garlicky Swiss chard, chopped bacon, and an egg cooked to your liking—and don’t forget a spurt of hot sauce.
Sautéed veg, juicy cherry tomatoes, and a big handful of leafy greens over oatmeal is a new way to do salad and carbs—and we’re not complaining. We love the extra boost of color and flavor that come from fresh herbs on top, plus a few wedges of cheese for good luck.
For those who turn up their nose at sweet, pumpkin-flavored dishes, read on. Mix the can of pumpkin that’s sitting in your cabinet into a steel-cut oat and leek mixture. If you can, serve with fresh sage leaves—they really taste like fall.