Most people think of oatmeal as a sweet breakfast dish, but there’s a persuasive case to reimagine oatmeal as a neutral base for savory toppings. This makes oatmeal a contender for brinner, that is, breakfast for dinner. After all, what’s the difference between oatmeal and rice? For one thing, you can cook oatmeal much quicker. And that makes it an ideal brinner companion on a busy weeknight.
For many, it’s a paradigm shift to think about bacon and chile pepper rather than maple syrup and cinnamon in their oatmeal. But we assure you, this is worth exploring.
Here are a few inspirations to get you started on the road to savory oatmeal mastery.
Ideas for Oatmeal Toppings
- Chicken eggs, duck eggs, even tiny quail eggs make perfect toppers for oatmeal. Eggs are the protein powerhouses of any breakfast. Try them fried with the runny yolk stirred into your oatmeal, or soft-boiled for a similar effect.
- We like bacon on our savory oatmeal, especially our rich duck bacon. See the recipe below for a taste of what this can offer.
- For a pop of color and fresh flavor, sprinkle chives, scallions, grated carrots, pickled beets, cilantro, or your favorite herbs on top.
- Melt a knob of black truffle butter in the oatmeal and top with browned chicken truffle sausage.
- Sear lardons of ventrèche for a kick of pure pork flavor without the smokiness of bacon.
- Think of oatmeal like grits, which often get the savory treatment, with ham or the sausage of your choice on top.
Recipe: Savory Oatmeal with Duck Bacon & Egg
Anything can be made savory, even your morning oatmeal. This recipe allows for a lot of improvisation, so feel free to add your own toppings.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 cups water (can use 1 cup water, 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1 package of D’Artagnan Duck Bacon
- ½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
- A handful of mushrooms (shiitake or mushroom mix) to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp duck fat
- jalapeno pepper, sliced thinly
- chile pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 3-inch section of daikon radish, peeled and grated
- Scallion, chopped
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- Combine oats and water in a pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Once the oats begin to soften and the liquid thickens, add the 5 spice and soy sauce. Simmer and stir until the oats reach your desired texture and consistency.
- Grate carrot and daikon and dress with the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Allow them to marinate.
- While the oatmeal is cooking, heat up a pan on medium-high and fry the duck bacon (6 slices or the whole package). Set bacon aside on a paper towel to drain. When cool enough to touch, roughly chop bacon into ½ inch pieces.
- Use the remaining duck fat in the pan to sauté the mushrooms. Add more duck fat as needed. Add a pinch of chile pepper and salt to the mushrooms. Add the bacon to the pan for a moment to reheat it.
- Fry or poach two eggs. Leave yolks runny.
- Assemble the bowl: oatmeal first, then spread mushrooms and duck bacon over the surface, and sprinkle marinated vegetables on top. Place an egg at the center and then dress the bowl with chopped scallions, sliced jalapeno peppers, more salt, and chile pepper if needed. Sriracha and kimchi can be served on the side.
Would you go savory for an oatmeal breakfast?