I know what you’re thinking. Savory oatmeal? Let me explain.

I’m really not a sweet breakfast person. I usually have an egg sandwich, or a regular sandwich even. Sometimes I’ll just eat leftovers from the night before. Oatmeal? Not so much.

I go through phases where I try to get myself to like it. It’s cheap, easy to make, and healthy, after all. I always figure I should have it on hand in case I want to have it some morning. (That almost never happens.)

But then I read a quote from Mark Bittman’s tips for eating more whole grains in last month’s Cooking Light.

“One way to guarantee eating one whole grain every day is to have oatmeal. I’ve always been fascinated by Asian food, and Asian breakfasts in particular, so when I have oatmeal, I mix it with dried mushrooms, chopped celery, scallions, and soy sauce. I really like a savory breakfast. When people are repelled by that, I remind them that bacon and eggs are savory also. They just don’t think of it that way.”

I was kind of grossed out by the thought at first, but then I got to thinking. Oatmeal is really no different than any other grain we associate with savory preparations. Also, Mark Bittman has never steered me wrong.

I didn’t have any dried mushrooms on hand, so I looked up savory oatmeal recipes online to see if anyone had actually made other variations of this. I found another one of Mark Bittman’s savory oatmeal recipes on Serious Eats that just called for soy sauce and scallions, both of which I had on hand.

I used the steel cut oats that had been hanging out in my pantry for awhile, and I also upped both the soy sauce and scallions. Some toasted black sesame seeds provided a little crunch and color. And because I put an egg on everything these days, I added one here that I sous vide at 142°F. A poached or fried egg would also work well.

I had a feeling that the recipe would be tasty, but I didn’t expect it to blow me away like it did. The simple combination of ingredients tasted surprisingly complex, and I can’t wait to experiment with the idea further. I even had leftovers the next morning without the egg and with some diced avocado on top.

Savory Oatmeal With Scallions, Soy Sauce, and an Egg
Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe on Serious Eats

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. scallions for stirring, 1 tsp. for garnish
  • Salt
  • Eggs – sous vide, poached, or fried
  • Sambal oelek or sriracha, for serving
  • Black sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
  • Combine water, salt, and oats in a medium saucepan and turn the heat to high. When the water boils, turn to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the water is just about absorbed. Add additional water if necessary. This will take 30-40 minutes if you’re using the steel cut oats.

    Turn off the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the scallions and the soy sauce. Start with a tablespoon of the soy sauce and then add additional to taste.

    Top with the egg, remaining scallions, and sesame seeds.

    After digging in, I added a spoonful of sambal oelek and stirred it in as I went.

    Have you ever tried savory oatmeal, or something like it? Would you?

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