I don't know if it is because of my Scottish heritage or not, but I absolutely love oats. There are so many wonderful uses for this whole grain, whether it is in my homemade soaked granola, oatmeal raisin cookies, used as the binder in a organ meat-rich meatloaf, or this nutrient-dense version of a breakfast favorite: oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is warm and comforting, perfect for this time of year. I love that you can make a batch of oatmeal all your own, adding whatever spices, fruit, nuts or sweeteners you like.
Commercial oatmeal is made with quick-cooking oats, usually destined for the microwave, and is typically packed with way too much sugar. All of these are big no-no's in my kitchen, so I like to make oatmeal my own way, adding as much nutrition as possible. In my version, I use thick-cut rolled oats that are soaked overnight before cooking for improved digestibility and then "supercharge" the oatmeal by adding gelatin for collagen-based protein, natural sweeteners and healthy fats. I typically add fruit like apples or raisins, along with some soaked and toasted nuts for some extra flavor, texture, and nutrients as well.
Despite adding gelatin and nuts for a protein boost, I do still like to serve a side dish of something really protein-rich such as sausage, scrambled eggs or Greek yogurt to create a nicely-balanced breakfast that will keep you full and satisfied for hours.
Oatmeal does not have to just be made into a sweet breakfast, as it can be made into a savory dish as well. If you omit the fruit, spices and sweetener, subbing in savory herbs instead, you have a whole new type of oatmeal on your hands. This can be used much like grits or polenta, topping this savory porridge with crumbled sausage or bacon, a fried egg, sauteed greens, or shredded cheese for simple and hearty meal.
Don't forget, oatmeal, sweet or savory, does not have to just be a breakfast food! Use herb-y, cheesy oatmeal as a side dish with dinner instead of rice or potatoes, or treat yourself to a little breakfast-for-dinner with a bowl of lightly sweetened, spiced, fruity oatmeal with some crispy bacon on the side.
Try different add-ins, spices or even different types of fats to make this your own unique oatmeal using whatever you have on hand, or even be so bold as to serve your oatmeal plain with just a pinch of salt and pat of butter. Go nuts--the world is your oatmeal! I mean, oyster. (Which you could totally put in savory oatmeal. Ok, I'm done.)
Supercharged Soaked Oatmeal with Gelatin
2 cups thick-cut rolled oats (not instant and not steel-cut)
Water for soaking
Pinch of sea salt
1 Tbs plain yogurt or kefir
3 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs gelatin powder (such as Great Lakes brand) plus 1/4 cup water
2 Tbs coconut oil or butter
2 Tbs maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice or other warm, sweet spice such as ginger or nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1/4 cup toasted nuts or seeds, such as pumpkin seeds or walnuts
Milk or heavy cream for serving
The night before you make your oatmeal, prepare it by soaking. Put the oats in a bowl and add enough water to cover the oats, with a few extra inches of water covering them to allow for expansion while soaking. Add the salt and kefir/yogurt, stirring to dissolve. Cover with a cloth and let sit on the counter overnight.
In the morning, drain the oats through a fine mesh strainer and discard the soaking water.
Add the oats to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the water and salt, and bring to a boil over medium heat. While this comes to a boil, dissolve the gelatin powder in the 1/4 cup water in a small bowl, setting aside to bloom.
Once boiling, reduce the oats to low heat and add the oil/butter, sweetener, spices, and dissolved gelatin. Let cook for about 15 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and the oatmeal has thickened to your liking--if you like it thinner, let it cook for less time and more time for a thicker oatmeal.
Add in the fruit and nuts, letting it cook another 5 minutes or so to soften and warm the add-ins.
Serve the oatmeal topped with a bit of cream or milk if desired.
Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.