Oatmeal is gross, until you add delicious to it.
One of the best unexpected benefits of going vegan is learning to like new food. One of the foods it took me longest to warm up to was hot cereal, specifically: oatmeal.
For me, oatmeal was one of those foods I always wanted to get along with but simply didn’t. Oatmeal is healthy, filling, and super cheap. So I hoped that one day, when I tasted oatmeal, it would be like a new awakening. But it never was. It wasn’t until last year that I really started liking oat meal and there are a few reasons for why.
How to like Oatmeal:
- Keep trying. One of the hardest things about learning to like new food is that you don’t like it. But there are hundreds of ways to prepare foods. You can’t give up on a food just because it wasn’t prepared the way you like the first few times you tried it. So…
- Experiment. Oatmeal changes a lot depending on how you cook it. I think this is the main reason I thought I could never like oatmeal. My mom usually cooks oatmeal by adding the oats and water in at the same time so that it becomes creamier. Since this is how my mom does it, this was my first introduction to oatmeal. Probably to most people, this is the best way since it is creamy and smooth. But I learned (accidentally) that I liked oatmeal best after the water boiled and only lightly cooked. Apparently I don’t like that nice creamy texture.
On the other hand, if you usually add oatmeal once the water boils, you can try it my mom’s way and see how it goes.
- Oatmeal loves company. Oatmeal is okay on it’s own, but much better with tasty friends. Remember, nuts/nut butters, fruits, and spices/extracts.
Also remember that cooking your ingredients into your oatmeal will give you a totally different flavor than adding them later. Even pouring hot oatmeal on top of your fruit can change the taste, so pack to step 2 (experiment!)
Some of my favorite oatmeal combos below*
- Add Granola. Granola is just oatmeal that hasn’t gone soft. Sprinkle granola on top for a different texture. The sweetness of the granola can also help you from overloading on brown sugar. You can even boil granola to make oatmeal if you’re low on oats (although it is usually a little too sweet for me).
Some of my favorite flavors of granola for oatmeal are cinnamon raisin, vanilla, pumpkin, and banana.
**Easy oatmeal combos:
- Peanut butter, apple, cinnamon - One of my favorite culinary discoveries was peanut butter and oatmeal. It changed my breakfast forever.
Choice of apple is important, green apples are usually not very good in oatmeal, they get sour. I like to use honeycrisp apples (the super sweet queen of the apple kingdom).
In addition to the obvious ingredients, I sprinkle granola on top, usually cinnamon raisin.
- Crunchy banana - Walnuts or pecans, fresh banana, and vanilla/banana granola. Feel free to use cinnamon liberally. And go ahead, add some peanut butter.
- Pumpkin granola - This is my favorite granola for the fall. Mix 2 or 3 spoons of fresh or canned pumpkin in to your oatmeal as you cook. Add raisins and pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, clove) So super good!
It has been proven in over 40 studies that oatmeal helps lower cholesterol. It is the perfect choice for those of us who have (or are at risk for) heart problems. Oats also boost your immune system, help stabilize blood sugar, and are high in fiber that may actually help prevent certain cancers. All that, and oatmeal is really quick and cheap. And now, you know how to make oatmeal really delicious.