Savoury Oatmeal with Spring Vegetables

May 17, 2018

Savoury oatmeal is a delicious twist on a breakfast classic. Creamy oats topped with any combination of lightly cooked vegetables, fresh herbs, cheese, or toasted nuts: this a tasty and healthy start to the day.

Savoury Oatmeal

[Disclaimer: this post is in partnership by Half Your Plate, who made it possible for me to attend the Canadian Produce Marketing Trade Show in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago. As always, I only accept sponsorship from brands and organizations whose values align with mine, and all opinions are my own.]

I was very excited to attend the CPMA Trade Show – sampling produce and talking to passionate farmers and produce marketers is one of my favourite ways to spend a day. But I was even more excited for the chance to work with Half Your Plate.

oats and vegetables

HALF YOUR PLATE

We all know that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and the Half Your Plate concept makes it very easy for us to do so. Simply fill half of your plate with fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and you are golden. Portions do not need to be measured, and the menus do not have to be complicated, in order for us to enjoy balanced and healthy meals. Stick to the vegetables we already enjoy, or we can try new ones.

Simple messaging like this is invaluable for busy people! As someone who loves vegetables and tries to inspire others in the kitchen, I am 100% behind the Half Your Plate campaign.

CPMA TRADE SHOW

During the CPMA Trade Show, I got to sample many types of fruits and vegetables, some prepared very simply, and some concocted into gourmet delights. I met small companies and big ones, local companies, and ones from far away. They all held in common the desire to bring high quality fruits and vegetables to the homes of consumers like me and you. A few highlights for me: the Canadian flag made entirely from potatoes; tasting Douglas Fir-infused vinegar from BC; raw pistachios becoming widely available in Canada this year; tiny cucumbers and cherry tomatoes: and a company that brings fresh Asian ingredients to a supermarket near you.

Vegetables at Breakfast

DIETITIANS SESSION

One of my favourite parts was the lunch session organized by the Dietitians of Canada and sponsored by Half Your Plate. Not only was there a delicious, produce-filled lunch served to us, but we got to participate in several very educational mini-sessions, including a cooking demo, a food styling lesson, a guide to new nutrient labeling, and a talk on how to include vegetables at breakfast.

It was this last one that I found most intriguing. Run by Carol Harrison, she had samples of all kinds of savoury, vegetable-laden breakfast ideas. “Fruit is an easy sell at breakfast,” she said. “What are some easy and inventive ways of including more veggies in the morning?” She listed some obvious ones, like omelets with vegetables, or fried rice, and some not-so-obvious ones, like carrots and raisins cooked with barley into a “carrot cake” breakfast parfait.

During her talk, I immediately started thinking of my new favourite breakfast: savoury oatmeal.

polenta oatmeal

SAVOURY OATMEAL

Most of us think of oatmeal as a sweet breakfast; however, it is mind-blowing served as a savoury, polenta-like dish, topped with herbs, cheese, bacon or sausage bits, or, as I do here, with super flavourful vegetables: sauteed greens, garlic, parmesan, chili flakes, and fresh herbs for an Italian twist; or spring vegetables, lemon, dill, Aleppo chili and chopped pistachios for a Middle Eastern spin. One of my tasters called the Italian version, “The best breakfast I’ve eaten in a long time.”

Much like grits, rice congee, and soft polenta, the creamy mild tasting grains can be a vehicle for any flavour combo you would care to try. I’ve tried quick Mexican sauteed corn with green onion, cilantro, and feta cheese. I’ve put curried cauliflower on oatmeal. I’ve used leftover steamed vegetables from dinner with some butter, grated cheddar, and a dribble of soy sauce. I often put an egg on top. Any way you try it, it tastes fantastic and feels more robust and filling than a typical sweet bowl of oatmeal.

Savory Oatmeal Middle Eastern Style

If you still think you would prefer a bowl of oatmeal with fruit rather than vegetables, it’s very easy to make your breakfast Half Your Plate friendly – simply load up on the fruit and nuts. One of my favourite versions of extra-fruity oatmeal is what our family called Three Bears Porridge for years and years.

But I urge you to try savoury oatmeal at least once. It could very well become your new favourite breakfast. Try one of the recipes I am sharing below, make up a recipe of your own, or simply do as I often do: leftover veggies with butter and grated cheese or toasted nuts.

Savory Oatmeal Italian Style

SAVOURY OATMEAL WITH ITALIAN FLAVOURS
Serves 2 to 3
The kale and chard can be prepared the day before, or feel free to substitute a good quality pre-chopped braising mix, or any other greens you prefer.

Oatmeal Base:
2/3 cup rolled oats
2 cups water
¼ tsp salt
1 Tb butter
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Vegetable Topping:
2 – 3 Tb olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ to ½ tsp red chili flakes
4 Tb chopped fresh basil (divided)
4 Tb chopped fresh parsley (divided)
¼ cup water
½ large bunch kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
½ large bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 cup arugula leaves
¼ tsp salt, or more, to taste
4 to 8 cherry tomatoes (depending on size), cut into quarters

Optional  – 2 to 3 eggs (depending on how many you are serving)
Garnish: shaved parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, herbs, more chili flakes

To cook the oatmeal, combine the rolled oats, water, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is cooked, thickened and creamy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese until melted and well-combined. Transfer the oatmeal to two or three bowls and let cool slightly (so that its soft texture can hold up the tomatoes, greens and optional eggs).

While the oatmeal is cooking, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Have all your topping ingredients chopped and ready by the stove. If you are going to add eggs, have a pot of simmering water ready for poaching OR have a frying pan greased and ready if you want fried eggs.

Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add garlic, chili flakes, HALF of the basil and HALF of the parsley, and saute until fragrant, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the water to the pan, followed by the prepared greens and salt. Stir and saute about 3 minutes, until the greens are starting to get soft. Remove pan from heat and taste for salt. Toss in the prepared cherry tomatoes and mix well with tongs.

Cook eggs if desired.

Divide the sauteed greens up between the bowls of savoury oatmeal. Top with eggs (if using), remaining basil and parsley and finish with shavings of parmesan cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and more chili flakes or cracked black pepper, if desired.

oats with sauteed radish and asparagus

SAVOURY OATMEAL WITH MIDDLE EASTERN FLAVOURS
Serves 2 to 3
You can use leftover steamed asparagus and/or raw radishes in this dish. Aleppo chilis are mild in heat and high in flavour. If using a different chili, reduce the quantity by half.

Oatmeal Base:
2/3 cup rolled oats
2 cups water
¼ tsp salt
1 Tb olive oil
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Vegetable Topping:
2 – 3 Tb olive oil
¼ cup sliced fresh chives
½ – 1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
4 Tb chopped fresh parsley
2 Tb chopped fresh dill
¼ cup water
1/2 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off, remaining cut into 2 cm pieces
1/2 bunch radishes, trimmed and cut into eighths
¼ tsp salt, or more, to taste
1 tsp honey
Optional – zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped raw or roasted pistachio

Optional  – 2 to 3 eggs (depending on how many you are serving)
Garnish: feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, chopped parsley, more chili flakes

To cook the oatmeal, combine the rolled oats, water, and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal is cooked, thickened and creamy, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the olive oil and feta cheese until melted and well-combined. Transfer the oatmeal to two or three bowls and let cool slightly (so that its soft texture can hold up the vegetables).

While the oatmeal is cooking, prepare the rest of your ingredients. Have all your topping ingredients chopped and ready by the stove. If you are going to add eggs, have a pot of simmering water ready for poaching OR have a frying pan greased and ready if you want fried eggs.

Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add chives, Aleoppo chili flakes, and HALF of the parsley, and saute until fragrant, about 10 to 15 seconds. Add the water to the pan, followed by the prepared asparagus, radishes, and salt. Stir and saute about 3 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to get soft. Add the honey, lemon zest, dill, and remaining parsley and mix well, cooking for about 20 more seconds. Remove pan from heat and taste for salt.

Cook eggs if desired.

Divide the sauteed vegetables up between the bowls of savoury oatmeal. Top with eggs (if using), finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, the chopped pistachios, and more chili flakes or parsley, if desired.

savoury oatmeal brunch bowls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Cooking in Season

Sixth Annual Rancho Vignola Giveaway

Nov 19, 2017

Recipes

Kumquat Marmalade Recipe

Feb 18, 2017
thermometer

Digital Kitchen/BBQ Thermometer with Magnet and Clock Timer

Buy Me

61PUY-drm5L._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_

Asian Ingredients: A Guide

Buy Me

bench scraper

Bench and baking scraper, set of three

Buy Me

Follow Chef Heidi Fink on Instagram