While food trends come and go, oatmeal seems to be in it for the long-haul. It is a quick and easy meal, perfect for rushed mornings, and is one of the few comfort foods that also happens to be good for you.
Oatmeal Nutrition Benefits
Oats are a whole-grain powerhouse, packed with soluble fiber. Beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber found in oats, can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels and improve heart health. All that fiber also contributes to improved blood sugar control, keeps your gastrointestinal system regular, and can help you feel full for longer, helping with weight control.
Different Types of Oats
- Oat groats – all oats start out as groats. Oat groats include the entire oat kernel and are not ground or processed. They take the longest to cook, about 50 to 60 minutes.
- Scottish oats – oat groats that are stone-ground into smaller bits.
- Steel-cut or Irish oats – oat groats cut up into two or three pieces, they take about 20 minutes to cook. These can be used in whole grain bowls, stuffings, or made into a thick porridge.
- Old fashioned rolled oats – oat groats are steamed and then rolled into thick flakes. The oats have a greater surface area, so they cook up faster, generally in three to five minutes. You can use these in granola bars, muffins, cookies, and other baked goods.
- Quick-cooking or instant rolled oats – old fashioned oats are rolled even thinner, creating quick oats and ultimately instant oats. These have less texture when compared to rolled or steel-cut oats and often turn out mushy.
All varieties of oats have a similar nutrition profile since they all come from oat groats.. But since instant and quick cooking oats are more broken down, they have a higher glycemic index and are digested faster than rolled or steel cut oats. In addition, instant oatmeal varieties often have added sugars or sweeteners. While instant oats are ok in a pinch, your best bet is old-fashioned rolled oats or steel-cut oats.
Try Savory Oatmeal
Plain oatmeal can be tasteless and boring. If you’re like me, you grew up eating sweetened oats. If I wasn’t having a packet of brown-sugar-cinnamon oatmeal, I was adding my own sugar or honey, in addition to dried fruit. Now that I know a bit more about nutrition, I naturally sweeten it with fresh or frozen fruit, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. But who says oatmeal has to be sweet? The mild taste of oats is the perfect backdrop for savory foods like eggs, veggies, cheese, and spices. Heavier grains like steel cut oats pair well with hearty foods like chicken and vegetables. Branch out from your regular bowl of oatmeal and try one of these savory oatmeal recipes instead.
- 6-Ingredient Asian Style Savory Oats from Dianna Sinni Dillon at Chard in Charge
- Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Baked Oatmeal Frittata from Jessica Fishman Levinson at Nutritioulicious
- Spiced Savory Oatmeal with Cauliflower from Jessica Cording at Jessica Cording Nutrition
- Egg, Avocado & Spinach Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl from Ann Dunaway Teh & Lesley Baradel at My Menu Pal
- Broccoli Cheddar Oatmeal Bake from Kelli Shallal at Hungry Hobby
- Oatmeal with Bacon, Kale and Poached Egg from Abby Langer at Abby Langer Nutrition
Chorizo Savory Oatmeal with Winter Greens (Serves 2)
This could be taken as a variation on a Chinese classic, the congee, which is a rice savoury porridge eaten usually around winter months (or for breakfast!). We spice ours with chorizo and peppery winter greens. Enjoy!
- ½ cup quick oats
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 chorizo sausage, sliced
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
- ½ jalapeno (optional), minced
- 1 handful winter greens (we used a combination of radish sprouts and radicchio)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the oats and chicken stock in a small pot, heat up, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down and let them rest in the pot.
- Grab a frying pan, add a little splash of olive oil, and fry on medium-high heat the chorizo sausage, onions, garlic, and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Once the sausage is fully cooked (around 7-10 minutes) remove from the heat.
- To serve, scoop the savoury oatmeal in a bowl, then top with the cooked chorizo mix and add your greens. Season with salt and pepper and add an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top.
What are your favorite oatmeal toppings? Share your recipe in the comments below!
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