Did you ever think a bowl of stovetop oatmeal could look like this? I mean, you can actually see the texture in each little oat! This new-and-improved version of a breakfast standby is still cooked on the stove, but each bite is bursting with toasted, chewy goodness.
So what’s the secret? When cooking grains like quinoa, I’ve mentioned that I like to “starve the grain.” Essentially, many grains benefit from less liquid than typically called for in package or recipe directions. This applies to quinoa, millet, rice, and–for a whole new breakfast experience–oats.
Like pasta, these grains won’t stop absorbing liquid at the perfectly appointed time. And anyone who has made soup with these ingredients knows that, if there are leftovers, there’s often far less broth remaining after sitting in the fridge overnight.
When I first applied this trick to oats, I was immediately taken by the toothsome texture. This is not oatmeal as you know it. This new way of cooking also lends itself well to a quick toast at the beginning, bringing out a satisfying nutty flavor in the oats.
- Hot water (you'll need about 1/2 cup, but boil a little extra)
- 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
- 1 cup thick-cut rolled oats (I like Bob's Red Mill--use certified gluten-free oats if necessary)
- A pinch (1/16 teaspoon) sea or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons honey
- Optional toppings: slivered toasted almonds or nuts of choice, toasted coconut, raisins or other dried fruit, milk, fresh berries or seasonal fruit, other sweetener of choice, etc.
- Bring water to a boil in a tea pot or small pot.
- In a medium-size skillet with a lid (a 9-inch diameter is ideal), melt the butter or coconut oil over medium heat, and then stir in the oats. Sauté the oats for 2 minutes or until the oats are lightly toasted and you can smell a nutty aroma. Stir the oats as they toast.
- Pour a 1/2 cup of hot water over the oats and stir. (You want just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet and moisten the oats. If your skillet is larger, you may need an extra couple tablespoons of water.) Add the salt, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the oats have absorbed the water.
- Uncover the oats and stir over the low heat, allowing any excess moisture to evaporate and the oats to dry out a bit. Remove the pan from the heat, drizzle with the honey, and toss to evenly distribute.
- Transfer the oats to two bowls, add toppings of choice, and enjoy.
- The oats may be prepared in advance, cooled, covered and refrigerated. Gently reheat in the microwave or use as a cold cereal or in a breakfast parfait.
- If you wish to double the recipe, use a bigger pan and adjust the water to just cover the bottom of the skillet and moisten all of the oats. The idea is to wet the oats without having too much excess liquid.
As they quickly cook, the individual grains plump up but don’t bind together–sort of like a soft granola. The oatmeal may be prepared in advance and is versatile, too. Enjoy as a hot or cold cereal (with or without toppings) or use it instead of granola in a parfait. The chewy oats are also delicious in savory breakfast bowls. Simply omit the honey and add your favorite roasted veggies, black beans, an over-easy egg, etc.There are so many ways to enjoy–feel free to keep it simple or load on the toppings. My children love this with a sprinkle of coarse sugar and cinnamon.