Venn Diagram Cooking: Make the Most of Oats

Lentine Alexis
by Lentine Alexis
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Venn Diagram Cooking: Make the Most of Oats

Remember when you were in grade school and you had to study Venn diagrams — with intersecting circles that show where things overlap and different elements collide to create endless possibilities? Your kitchen is like that, too, especially when it comes to oats.

First, we tackled eggs; this time, we’re using the most unsung hero in your pantry: oats! Oats get a bad rap as being “boring, lumpy, tasteless.” But we can’t blame oats for that, as it turns out oats are one of those super-flexible ingredients that tastes like whatever we flavor it with … which means lumpy, tasteless oats are actually the fault of the chef, not the grain.

That said, there are a million and one ways to flavor oats and make them absolutely incredible. In fact, they’re one of the most versatile ingredients we have in our pantry — so much so that you don’t need more than just one or two other ingredients to make oats a delicious, satisfying meal. Below, we’ll walk you through our “Venn diagram” of oats, showing you some easy ways to build flavor — making quick meals that go the distance.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that for oats — or really anything else in your pantry or fridge to taste great — you need a few staples. Olive oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt are key here. You’ll want to use them to boost the flavors of our other suggested ingredients!

+ 1 INGREDIENT: Almond Milk + Oats = One-Up Oatmeal

So you’re still cooking oats in water? (Crickets chirping.) The easiest way to make your oats awesome is to cook them in creamy almond milk (or coconut milk or regular milk!) We like the light flavor and texture of almond milk or coconut milk here (but any alternative milk would do), plus a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt. Voila!

Bonus: Add fresh fruit, a little handful of seeds … you get the picture

+ 2 INGREDIENTS: Almond Milk + Egg + Oats = Sunny Side Up Oats

If you’re still cooking your oats in water, chances are you haven’t tried adding an egg to your oatmeal yet, either. Welcome to this delicious breakfast party! Cook your oats in almond milk, drizzle with maple syrup, add a sprinkle of salt and eggs cooked to order. Scrambled eggs are delicious, but fried or poached eggs allow the yolks to mingle with creamy oats for a hearty breakfast. Stir together and enjoy. This concoction tastes so much like a stack of pancakes, it’s crazy …

Bonus: Top with crunchy seeds, fresh blueberries or even blueberry jam.

+ 3 INGREDIENTS: Almond milk + Egg + Oats + Lemony Kale = Birdie Bowl

Yes, yes, oatmeal is great for breakfast. But with the addition of the egg and some bright, tart greens, these three ingredients become a meal that’s grounding and satisfying enough to work as a warming lunch or a workhorse weeknight dinner.

Simply juice 1/2 a lemon, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil + add a pinch of sea salt over kale leaves (destemmed and torn) then massage the kale with your hands. Add to your cooked oats and favorite eggs and enjoy.

Bonus: Add a dollop of miso paste to your oats, being sure to whisk it in water first so it incorporates easily. Crunchy seeds, fresh radishes and sriracha are also great additions here.

+ All the Other Good Stuff

Chances are you have more than just three ingredients in your pantry, and all that stuff would be incredible to add to oats to make sweet, savory, delicious grain bowls. If you have extra olive oil and maple syrup, you can bake them up as granola. Add berries and almond butter to your morning bowl or stir in chia seeds and spices for a quick, sweet snack. Top with fresh radishes, sprouts, arugula or carrots to make a play on a savory grain bowl — the sky’s the limit!

Take a peek in your pantry and then get playing; there are lots of satisfying, smart combinations waiting for any meal of the day.

About the Author

Lentine Alexis
Lentine Alexis
Lentine is a curious, classically trained chef and former pro athlete. She uses her bicycle, raw life and travel experiences and organic ingredients to inspire athletes and everyone to explore, connect and expand their human experiences through food. She previously worked as a Chef/Recipe Developer/Content Creator and Culinary Director at Skratch Labs – a sports nutrition company dedicated to making real food alternatives to modern “energy foods.” Today, she writes, cooks, speaks and shares ideas for nourishing sport and life with whole, simple, delicious foods.

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