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Oatmeal in 3D

Oatmeal, the basis of thousands of great things to eat. If the idea of eating oatmeal brings to mind a bland flavor experience, we're here to move you in a new direction. Like yogurt, oatmeal is something you want to find a way to slip into your diet daily because of the health benefits it offers.

Buying in bulk is ultimately the way to go. But some of us don't have stores near us with bulk options. The next most cost-effective way to buy it is in canisters. If you're traveling or need to parse it out for some other reason, you may want to spend the extra cash and buy it in packets. But whatever way you decide to buy, you're much better off getting organic oatmeal, rather than non-organic which can be tainted with leftover pesticides that your body isn't designed to process.

Cooking can be done in several ways: stovetop in a pot, in a rice cooker or multi-cooker, microwave. Stovetop is pretty cut and dry - bring to a boil and let simmer for a few minutes until thick. Rice cookers and otherwise allow you to place the device into a porridge mode and let the cooker do the rest. The microwave is the trickiest of all. For that you need to cook a single serving on half power for about 4 minutes. If you attempt cooking it at full power, be sure you have all the wet towels you need standing by to clean up the mess that will occur.

Basic oatmeal for many has always been the oatmeal, maybe some butter and brown sugar, but let's move ahead to a better world.

Spice it up

A lot of spices can really perk up oatmeal. Cinnamon, allspice, clove, and cardamom are all excellent choices. In fact, create a blend of the four in equal amounts, like 1 teaspoon each, place the blend in a shaker and you've got a nice spice to put over your cereal. Ground nutmeg and ginger are also nice additions. In other words, you can keep mixing up what you add and have a lot of combinations to have you steer clear of boredom.

Give it a lube job

While for many butter is the go-to oil, you can expand your horizons using ghee (clarified butter), or a flavor-infused olive oil (try butter olive oil!). Many other oils can be used as well. Walnut oil, almond, and even peanut make a great addition. Can you imagine an Asian-influenced oatmeal that incorporates peanut oil, ginger, and some cashews? Oh - did I just mention nuts.

Go Nuts

Pretty much any nut you might use in a salad can be used in oatmeal. Hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, and so on. My preference is to use toasted nuts where the flavor is allowed to open up in the toasting process. You can toast nuts right in your kitchen.

Sweet options

Brown sugar seems to be a favorite of many. But you can go beyond that, using maple syrup, stevia, and other non-sugar sweeteners.

Bring on the fruit

Continue the flavor explosion with some fruit. Whole or dried, it matters not. Fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries - uh huh - keep it comin'… Then there are dried fruits like apricots, raisins, currents, prunes, cranberries - uh huh, uh huh…

Essential Oils

Putting a whole orange or grapefruit in your oatmeal? Probably not (although some chopped rind might be something to play with). But nowadays there are many edible essential oils on the market you can incorporate. Orange and grapefruit are where I begin, but you can explore more with lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and so on.

Below, I've knocked out a simple recipe with the amounts you'll want to start with for a single serving of oatmeal.

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp spice
  • 1 tsp - 1 TBS oil
  • ½ tsp - 1 TBS sweetener
  • 2 TBS nuts
  • 2 TBS dried fruit or ½ cup whole fruit
  • 2 drops of essential oil

Directions: Heat oatmeal, almond milk, and water in a small pot on the store, or in the microwave for 4 minutes at 50%. Then - add all other desired ingredients, stir and enjoy.

And now for a few recipes that bring it all to life.

The Daily Driver

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 drops of orange essential oil

The Cardi B.

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • ½ cup blueberries

Raspberry Beret

  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS maple syrup

· 2 TBS dried raspberries or ¼ cup fresh raspberries

  • ½ tsp lemon juice

Have fun exploring the hundreds, if not thousands, of options. Maybe you'll even come up with your own version of bacon oatmeal?

Sussi Homaecher/January 2020

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