There are many reasons to keep oatmeal on your "good carbs" list: The whole grain provides filling fiber and B vitamins, which are essential to powering through your day. It's also super versatile. And while it's easy to lump it into the sweet breakfast category, don't discount its powers in the savory department. Delicious any time of day (hello, breakfast-for-dinner fans!), it's a great way to fit some extra veggies into your day. Just think of it as an alternative to brown rice, quinoa, barley, or other blank-canvas grain. It opens a whole world of possibilities. (Check out these savory oatmeal recipe ideas.)
Start with a basic formula of oats, water, spices, vegetables, protein, and some healthy fat. Customize from there. For example, for protein, you can cook some egg whites right into the oats or top your bowl with an egg. Cottage cheese and part-skim ricotta also make great high-protein mix-ins.
Plain oats are a perfect vehicle for leftover veggies, or you can grate some zucchini to add while cooking or mix in some wilted spinach. You could even top 'em with roasted eggplant, caramelized onions, and a little goat cheese with a drizzle of tahini. Craving Tex-Mex? How about a bowl with avocado, salsa, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Chia seeds, ground flaxseed, or hemp hearts add flavor, texture, and a nutrient boost from the fiber and heart-healthy fats.
The recipe below is a solid go-to because it's so easy to customize. Start with the basics, then dress it up however you'd like!
Savory Oatmeal Recipe
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1/4 cup liquid egg whites, or 1 egg (optional)
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in oats, flaxseed, and spices. Lower heat to medium.
Add grated zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
When water is almost entirely absorbed, add egg or egg whites and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes.
Cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes more.
Enjoy hot with desired toppings.