It's that time of year again. Leaves are changing color and crunching underfoot. There's a growing chill in the air. Mornings are darker, and the craving for warming, filling food creeps in. This is the time of the year for food that sticks to your ribs, warming you from the inside out. Oatmeal ticks all those boxes. Plus, it's high in fiber and antioxidants, which helps reduce cholesterol and promote maintaining a healthy weight. So it's no wonder oatmeal is a breakfast staple.
But let's face it, as filling, healthy, and budget-friendly as oatmeal can be, it's also a little on the bland side. OK, maybe a lot on the bland side. Looking for ways to spice up your oatmeal game? Read on for suggestions on how to do just that using ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Almond butter, cashew butter, or even humble peanut butter is a great addition to your oatmeal. Simply stir in a heaping spoonful before you cook your oatmeal. Adding the nut butter before you cook it melts the nut butter into your oatmeal, giving it a rich and creamy texture. Prefer chunky nut butter? No problem. The nuts add a nice crunch.
Nothing says fall like pumpkin, so why not include it in your morning oats? Plus, it's a great way to use that little leftover puree. Take a quarter cup of puree, give it the pumpkin spice treatment (cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg to taste), and add some molasses or brown sugar for sweetness. Mix that up and add a good dollop to your oatmeal before you cook it.
Nowadays, you can get applesauce in just about every fruit combination: mixed berry, peach, strawberry-kiwi, or even just good, old-fashioned apple. Applesauce is a great way to add flavor and a touch of sweetness with almost no effort involved. A good tablespoon should do the trick.
Frozen, dried, or fresh fruit makes a great addition to your oatmeal. Fruit is naturally sweet so you don't need to add in any extra sugar. Strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries are top choices because the berries will cook with oats. Raisins, dried cranberries, or dried cherries work well, too. Have a banana that's getting a little brown? Mash it up and stir it in. Any fruit will do, but harder fruit like apples might need extra cooking time.
This one is a little different, but don't knock it till you've tried it. Oats are a grain, like rice, quinoa, or barley. Giving them the savory treatment isn't as out there as it sounds. Cook oats with vegetable broth and a touch of salt and pepper, a dash or two of hot sauce, and some green onion on top for out-of-this-world flavor. Kick it up another notch with some cooked vegan bacon or veggie crumbles. It'll definitely keep you going until lunch.
There you have it -- five easy ways to spice up your oatmeal game. Bon appetit!