Would you like your breakfast to be more diverse and healthier? You wouldn’t be alone. We’re going to see how an oatmeal with whole plant-based foods (WFPB) can achieve just that.
Breakfasts need to work. Imagine you overslept and need to leave in 20 minutes! Can you still have a decent breakfast? Yes, you can.
Whether you’re only preparing for a regular day at work or having going out for a trip or a workout. Breakfasts need to provide lots of energy, usually in a convenient and delicious way. All that is best provided by whole plant-based foods.
Which Type of Oats
Whole rolled oats or steel-cut oats are fine. If they are partly damaged or shredded-like the porridge will be thicker due to more starch mingling with the water. I found that whole rolled oats with no or barely any broken parts yields a smooth and creamy consistency (with a little more than two parts water).
If you have a little more broken parts then a water ratio of 1:2.5 results in a super smooth porridge. Too many broken oats will make the porridge too sticky or require so much water that you’ll mainly eat water.
The idea is a simple, quick base that is easy to diversify with a few simple condiments. If you know the concept of a rice bowl, it’s similar.
If you follow these simple principles you’ll nail your oatmeal every morning:
- Sweet and sour: berries, plum go well as sauce, compot, jam. Most of the times people want a nice balance of both. On some mornings, I just want sweet or even just plain porridge. Feel out what you want.
- Crunchy or chewy texture: Walnuts or granola are the quickest solution. Almonds and other nuts are better roasted or soaked as they are a bit tough for most people.
- Fatty (optionally): I don’t mean to say that your oatmeal needs a fatty component every time but sometimes it’s just what you miss – in form of dark chocolate, nut butter or nuts, tahini, or a few drops of a tasty oil. I encourage you to play around with small quantities as they often satisfy your need already and it’s a matter of habit really. Especially since a fatty meal is not the best start for an energetic day.
- Diverse: Keep a variety of suitable components in your pantry.
- at least two sweet and two acidic sauces (molasses, syrups…), fruit, dried fruit, jams and/or competes
- something crunchy (roasted nuts, granola, see below)
- maybe something fatty (nut butters, chocolate, see below)
- rehydrated (with lemon, spice)
- dried (put into the porridge in the last 5 min)
- sauce (like apple sauce)
- nuts, seeds
- coconut chips
- nut/seed butter
- almond butter
- peanut butter
- hazelnut butter
- coconut milk (for cooking and topping like cream)
- cacao mass can pulverize by rubbing knife on block)
- citrus zest
- tonka bean powder
Sweet WFPB Oatmeal Examples
Oats with coconut milk
- oats, water
- coconut milk (see Ottolenghi’s Irish porridge recipe)
- date (juice) while cooking
Oatmeal with Natural Jam and Chocolate
- tangerine jam
- pomegranate molasses, a little inside the jam
- grated chocolate (or cacao mass)
- hemp seeds
Oats with soaked figs
Savory WFPB Oatmeal
Widely unknown are still the savory oatmeals. All you need is some veg. I like to cook the oats with a few chopped stalks, like from cabbage or carrot greens, and sometimes turmeric or ginger. I’ll top the porridge with a little sliced raw leeks or spring onion followed by a few other veg. Crunchy veg goes especially well. I often just chop them roughly and serve them on the chopping board next to the bowl.
- cook with stalks, turmeric or ginger
- pepper, garlic
- raw veg, spring onion, leeks, garlic, avocado
- pickled veg
- top with pepper, lemon juice, sumac, shoyu, sesame, fresh ginger, curcuma, fennel, citrus zest, algae, drops of olive oil
To diversify your oats you can add some
- quinoa, darker color will look especially beautiful
- rolled quinoa, they make the porridge especially smooth, just add about 5-20% in relation to the oats, otherwise the consistency might get too dense
- fresh, dried or rehydrated fruits cooked into the porrdige
- rehydrated juice or sauce
- use more water so it becomes souplike
- add other grains like quinoa, rice, and millet to oats
- try making porridge with other grains only: I love this Chinese millet congee.
Preparation Tricks and Habits
So we covered all the things you need to make a wholesome, delicious, quick and diverse breakfast. There are certain atomic habits in the preparation that will make the process in the morning even more smooth.
- Simplify measuring: It makes it so much easier if you don’t have to think about quantities. I always put in half of the package and I know I need a little more water than fits into a certain cup that I have in reach. That way, measuring takes me seconds and I get perfect consistency every time. No checking whether it needs more water, no opening cupboards for measuring devices, no looking at numbers. Another simple measuring simplification is to determine how much volume the ingredients take in in the pot (using the same pot).
- Use a wider pot: You can heat the wider pot on the bigger hotplate on the stove so you’ll have your breakfast faster.
- Don’t put the lid on: The porridge won’t cook much faster with the lid on but leaving it off will save you the trouble of staying close to the pot or cleaning up a mess.
- Use a wide bowl or plate: In a deep bowl, the porridge won’t cool off easily which might cause you to wait or eat slower than you want. A wide bowl is the best solution for colder months as the porridge will not be too hot to eat while keeping comforting warmth. In summer, I prefer using a plate and refill because a plate can take only so much porridge.
Habits like this are huge! They will help you flow through the preparation process, nourish and improve your life. It’s in the small things : )
If you put the oats in hot water they will stay grainy and won’t open up as you would want for a porridge. So heating the water with the oats together is crucial for smoothness. However, the grainy version can make for a nice meal as well, used like rice for example.
Oatmeal vs Bread and Pancakes
A huge advantage of oatmeal over bread and pancakes is that oatmeal comes with much more water. Well-hydrated foods are much easier to digest whereas dry foods take water from your body to be processed. If you’re like me and need a good amount of calories to kick off your day and like a big bowl of porridge. When I eat the same amount of calories through bread that simply knocks me out.
Oats vs wheat
Additionally, oats are gluten-free (-> again, easy digestion) and shine with a superior nutrition profile.
There you have it. You have learned how to do your first steps as a granola maker. It’s like Bilbo from Lord of the Rings said: Once you get going you’ll never know where your feet are going to take you.
How to make porridge vegan?
Use water or plant-based milk to cook the oats and top with fruit, nuts, seeds or vegetables or their products.
Ultimate Guide To Whole Foods Plant-based Oatmeal
- 1 ½ cups oats
- 3 ¼ cups water
- fruits or vegetables and toppings see above
- Put the water and oats into a pot with the water and bring to boil together. Let simmer for 1-5 minutes.
- While the oats are heating up, you can throw in some fruits, dry or fresh, cinnamon etc, as discussed above. If you are making savory oats prep toppings and cut vegetables for the veggie plate.