By Sheela Prakash
You’ll be hard pressed to find something as comforting and satisfying as a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. Even thinking about digging into a bowl gives me homey feelings of cold weather breakfasts all through my lifetime. I’ve long been a purist when it comes to the hot cereal — I like to stir raisins in while it cooks so they plump and then finish things off with a handful of toasted walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Lately, though, there have been so many variations on the classic that I can’t help but stray from the norm. Here are 5 of my favorites:
1. Bake it.
You could almost pass baked oatmeal off for dessert, that’s how indulgent it feels. The funny thing is, though, it’s no less wholesome than your regular bowl and also happens to be even easier to make. It’s also the ultimate way to serve up oatmeal to a crowd.
2. Turn it into breakfast cookies.
Yes, you can absolutely eat cookies for breakfast. Leave out the excess sugar and an oatmeal cookie turns into a feel-good choice in the morning — one that also happens to be perfect to take on the go.
3. Make a batch of muesli.
Muesli is Europe’s version of granola and what I love about it is that it’s not only a low-sugar alternative, it’s even more versatile. You can treat it like cereal and pour milk over it, treat it like granola and sprinkle it on yogurt, or (my favorite way) treat it like overnight oats and soak it in milk while you sleep.
4. Go savory.
Perhaps the easiest way to transform your morning oatmeal routine is to put down the brown sugar and dress up your bowl with savory ingredients instead. Stir in spices like curry powder, garam masala, or chili powder. Top it with leftover roasted vegetables, sliced avocado, or sautéed greens. And finish it off with a fried or soft-boiled egg for extra protein.
5. Eschew the oats altogether.
Call it porridge instead of oatmeal and suddenly oats actually aren’t a requirement. Try turning other whole grains into a comforting bowl instead, like quinoa, buckwheat, millet, or amaranth. Swap them in completely or try combining them with oats for a mix of textures and flavors.