Oatmeal is a breakfast staple and it's easy to see why the whole grain has become a fan favorite. It checks all the boxes: affordable, nutritious and versatile. A bowl of homemade oatmeal costs less than a dollar and will provide a healthy dose of heart-friendly soluble fiber.
But one of the most convenient attributes about oatmeal is its subtle flavor. Oats can be incorporated into and topped with so many other foods, from sweeter options like fresh fruit, nut butters and honey, to savory choices like vegetables, eggs, cheese, meat and herbs. Enjoy these savory, creative and comforting oatmeal bowls anytime — for breakfast and beyond.
Read more: 10 Myths About Grains — Totally Busted
1. Mexican Black Bean and Avocado Oatmeal
Beans are high in protein and, when paired with oats, can be especially delicious when prepared Mexican-style. This vegetarian-approved bowl of savory oats is not only high in protein but also provides 27 grams of fiber, enough to meet your requirement for the day, according to the University of California San Francisco.
In addition to keeping you full till lunch, that high fiber content can help promote healthy digestion, as it slowly passes through your intestines, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Get the Mexican Black Bean and Avocado Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Beet and Goat Cheese Oatmeal
Beets and goat cheese are a classic culinary duo, especially when served as a salad. But have you ever had this combination in oatmeal? It'll be the most colorful bowl of oats you've ever had, thanks to the beets. If you're a vegan, simply use soft vegan cashew cheese in place of goat cheese.
Beets are a great veggie to incorporate in the morning to help fight inflammation throughout the day. Beets contain betalain pigments, which are antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties, according to an April 2015 study published in Nutrients.
Get the Beet and Goat Cheese Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Farmers' Market Mushroom and Herb Oatmeal
The pairing of "meaty" mushrooms with aromatic fresh rosemary, chives and shallot make every drop of this savory vegan bowl memorable. It'll be so much more intriguing than any mushroom soup you've ever prepared.
This bowl is not only high in fiber but also healthy, unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats come from vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish and can be beneficial for your heart, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Get the Farmers' Market Mushroom and Herb Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Greek Spinach and Feta Oatmeal
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse for many reasons, including its high vitamin A content, which is critical for immune health, vision and reproduction, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But spinach doesn't always get as much hype as some other trendier veggies (ahem, kale).
Don't let these leafy greens get lost in the shuffle. Keep the veggie fashionable by serving it in your savory oatmeal. When prepared with Grecian flair, using lemon juice, garlic, fresh dill, feta cheese and toasted pine nuts, it makes for a decadent breakfast.
Get the Greek Spinach and Feta Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Kale, Turkey Sausage and Egg Oatmeal
If you're craving breakfast sausage, pick an organic poultry sausage rather than a pork or beef variety and keep your portion size to less than 2 ounces.
That's all done for you with this special brunch-worthy recipe. Sun-dried tomatoes and hot pepper flakes add some zest and spiciness to the dish.
The generous serving of kale helps you meet your vegetable quota for the day. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense veggies and is especially high in vitamin K, which is crucial in regulating blood flow. You'll get more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value in 1 cup, according to the NIH.
Get the Kale, Turkey Sausage and Egg Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Ginger, Carrot and Herb Oatmeal
You may not realize that you're eating oatmeal when you whip up this fragrant recipe. That's because your taste buds will be enamored of everything else that's included in this steel-cut oat dish. Carrots, ginger, cilantro and a touch of virgin coconut oil provide worldly inspiration.
The whopping amount of beta-carotene you'll naturally obtain from the carrots can be especially beneficial to your health. A half-cup of carrots will provide more than 100 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin A, which will help keep your vision sharp, according to the NIH.
Get the Ginger, Carrot and Herb Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Asian-Style Oatmeal With Egg, Scallions and Tamari
These steel-cut oats are prepared in a highly aromatic scallion-ginger broth, then topped with a boiled egg, sesame seeds and more scallions. High in protein and fiber, this bowl makes the perfect quick lunch or dinner.
While eggs have a bad reputation where your cholesterol is concerned, most people can eat plenty without worry. Plus, eggs are a good source of lean protein and important nutrients like zinc.
Get the Asian-Style Oatmeal with Egg, Scallions and Tamari recipe and nutrition info here.
8. Cherry Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Oatmeal
The classic Italian culinary trio — tomato, basil and mozzarella — is just as much of a palate-pleaser in oatmeal as it is in the form of a salad, sandwich, pasta or pizza.
Even though this recipe is meat-free, it provides a whopping 39 grams of protein per serving. The macronutrient is crucial for a wide range of processes in your body, including building muscle, but protein also keeps you feeing full, according to a February 2015 study published in Trends in Food Science and Technology.
Get the Cherry Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
9. Curry Coconut Chicken, Cilantro and Almond Oatmeal
If you're in a pinch for time, an easy way to add protein to a meal is to pick up a rotisserie chicken from your local market. Voila — protein at your fingertips! Remove the skin, then shred or dice the chicken meat and you've got a lean, hearty ingredient ready for recipe action.
The coconut milk in this recipe is high in lauric acid, which may help reduce blood pressure and can help raise HDL or "good" cholesterol levels.
Get the Curry Coconut Chicken, Cilantro and Almond Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
10. Creamy Grilled Vegetable Oatmeal
Next time you plan to barbecue, toss vegetables onto the grill even if you don't serve them immediately. Planned leftovers, especially when they're grilled vegetables, are quite versatile and can be tossed into any dish — including oatmeal!
This recipe also calls for goat cheese, which is high in calcium, magnesium and potassium. If you're sensitive to cow cheese, goat cheese may be a better alternative for your digestive system. Generally, goats' milk is better tolerated because it contains different proteins.
Get the Creamy Grilled Vegetable Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
11. Stewed Cajun Turkey, Red Beans and Oats
This zesty, stew-like recipe will warm your insides and win over your heart with the first bite. This savory oatmeal is inspired by Cajun red beans and rice, and it's easier to make. Especially if you're looking for a protein-packed dinner (or breakfast or lunch), this is a winner.
Get the Stewed Cajun Turkey, Red Beans and Oats recipe and nutrition info here.
12. Spring Pea, Zucchini and Fresh Mint Oatmeal
This savory oatmeal incorporates zucchini, shallots, green peas and fresh mint leaves, providing lovely springtime appeal to any plate. Compared to equally hearty sides like mashed potatoes, this recipe is lighter in calories but still packs plenty of flavor.
At only 170 calories per cup, this oatmeal makes a great low-calorie breakfast or lunch. At only 5 grams of protein per serving, you may want to add some lean protein (like chicken, turkey or tofu) to help you feel a little more satisfied.
Get the Spring Pea, Zucchini and Fresh Mint Oatmeal recipe and nutrition info here.
- Trends in Food Science and Technology: "Optimising Foods for Satiety"
- NIH: "Vitamin K"
- NIH: "Vitamin A"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "The Truth About Fats: the Good, the Bad, and the In-between"
- Nutrients: "The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Fiber"
- University of California San Francisco: "Increasing Fiber Intake"