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Oatmeal is probably one of the most comforting breakfasts one can enjoy. Creamy, filling, and calming, oatmeal is such a delightful grain to enjoy. It’s helpful for satisfying you for longer periods of time, giving you energy when you need it the most, and it’s even one of the best foods to help you build lean muscle. A top favorite feature of oats, however is their combination of versatility and affordability. Oats can be used anywhere you’d use any other grain and are as cheap as pennies per serving if you purchase basic oats.

Most people enjoy their oatmeal sweet, flavored with some non-dairy milk, or other ingredients to make it nice and creamy. Dried fruit, fresh bananas or berries, sliced apples, and cinnamon are other common toppings to oats that give them an extra sweet, satisfying flavor. However oats are much more capable of satisfying you without the need for extra sweetness. The grain has an especially uniquely mild, sweet and nutty taste all on its own, which  makes it perfect for combining with savory ingredients.

If you haven’t ever had savory oatmeal, I’d encourage you to give it a try. It’s a pleasant change for breakfast, but also a delightful experience to enjoy at dinner (or even lunch.) Savory oatmeal can be used to replace rice in a pilaf, quinoa in a grain salad, or used to replace your regular oatmeal, millet, or quinoa as your breakfast porridge dish of choice.

Try out some of these especially delicious savory flavor combinations. They pair perfectly with oats and truly satisfy the soul. Sweet is nice, but sometimes our bodies need a bit of savory to balance things out too.

1. Rubbed Sage and Black Pepper

Sage is possibly one of the most delicious savory (and healing) spices of all, however whatever you do, do not buy ground sage! It is horribly bold and bitter. Rubbed sage, on the other hand, has an incredibly complex, non-bitter flavor. You only need to use a pinch to flavor an entire dish (less than 1/4 teaspoon.) Rubbed sage also gives your oats that comforting scent much like the scent of the holidays. What a wonderful way to start or end the day! Black pepper pairs perfectly with sage and rounds out the flavor to bring out the savory and spicy notes in the dish as well. Black pepper and sage also offer health-boosting properties such as enhanced digestion and improved brain health.

2. Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Black Pepper

Perhaps one of the most healing combinations is this particular savory blend that truly warms your soul right up! Turmeric is a fantastic anti-inflammatory spice but aside from  health, it’s also incredibly delicious. Don’t let turmeric’s bold color keep you from using it in oats. Though it has a slightly savory taste and pungent smell, it’s rather mild when added to a dish, yet still adds a unique complexity. It pairs beautifully with ginger, cinnamon and black pepper when making Ayurvedic Oatmeal and is also good for digestion.

3. Rosemary, Thyme, and Black Pepper

As you can see, black pepper makes quite the addition to savory oatmeal. It also helps round out flavor of more soothing ingredients like herbs, such as rosemary and thyme. Rosemary and thyme will add an especially comforting flavor to your oats that is especially enjoyable as a side dinner dish. One tip, however, is to use minimal amounts of dried rosemary and consider breaking it up into smaller pieces before using. Also, keep thyme to a minimum as it adds a truly strong, yet flavorful feature to any dish you use it in. If you can use fresh thyme, it’s much better than ground thyme. If not, dried whole thyme works nicely too. Rosemary and thyme are also excellent herbs for treating inflammation and even relieving tension. Find out more tips for how to use fresh herbs for amazing results in your kitchen!

4. Garam Masala 

This spice needs no pairing with any other, because it combines some of the best all in one. Garam masala is one of the most versatile ingredients you can keep in your pantry. It’s an ethnic spice that originates in India, and can include different items, depending on the variety you choose and region it comes from. Most garam masala blends include: cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, cloves, fenugreek, nutmeg, and some also include ginger, or leave out some of the other ingredients. Try out different blends to find which one you enjoy the most. Garam masala goes great in oatmeal because it has both sweet and savory flavor notes in one dish. It’s especially warming as a breakfast porridge but can also be used to make oatmeal cookies. You could even pair it with some vegetables for an Indian-style dinner. Find out how to make your own garam masala with our tips in: How to Make Your Own Spice Blends.

5. Curry and Black Pepper

Though this sounds especially different for oatmeal, give it a try- it’s quite the delicious savory flavor, especially when prepared in veggie broth instead of water. Curry is one of the most versatile ingredients you can use, alongside garam masala. The star ingredient in curry is turmeric, which provides that lovely hue it has. Depending on the region it comes from, each curry blend will differ in the ingredients used. Many common spices found in curry include: turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic, fennel, and chili powder. Adding black pepper to curry will help add a bolder flavor, and also help balance out the cumin included in the curry (which can be overwhelming alone.)  Curry isn’t just for yummy tofu scrambles, soups, and veggies- give it a try in some oatmeal too!

For the best flavored savory oats, cook your oats with some unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk instead of all water. It makes your oats taste better and less bland, and also adds some creaminess, which is nice. When using non-dairy milk, you  won’t need to add salt to your oatmeal to enhance the taste since these milks already include sea salt.Veggie broth is another great options, and even low-sodium options will add a delicious flavor to oats.

Dare to take your oats down a new road and try something different- you might just discover a new favorite meal in the process!

Have you ever cooked your oats savory style?

Image Source: Heather McClees

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