If you’re sitting there thinking “I don’t like oatmeal,” then you’ve never tried steel-cut oats. They will change your life, or at least your mornings.
By now you must know that I don’t mess around when it comes to the first meal of the day — breakfast, brunch…I just like any excuse to eat. I do NOT understand people who skip breakfast, willingly depriving themselves of one of 3 daily meals. Madness 🤯
I guess if you equate breakfast with a cold, mushy bowl of oatmeal then your lukewarm attitude is understandable. However unlike rolled or quick oats, steel-cut oats are more dense and chewy, transforming a formerly unappetizing breakfast staple into a hearty dish that’s as satisfying as a plate of bacon and eggs (especially if you throw bacon and eggs in to it).
Trust me, if I can seek out drool-worthy breakfasts in Paris and eat street food in Osaka while suffering from a debilitating stomach flu, then I can make a bowl of oatmeal delicious enough to convert even the most fervent breakfast-haters.
What are steel cut oats?
Steel-cut, rolled, quick — they all start out as an oat grout and offer the same nutritional value and health benefits. The difference is how they’re processed, the resulting texture and cooking time.
Old-fashioned oats (a.k.a. rolled oats) have been steamed then rolled into soft, light flakes and takes about 5 minutes on the stove. Quick or instant oats goes one step further — steamed, dried AND flattened — and can be cooked on the stovetop or in a microwave in a mere minute. As these oats have been more refined, they can been prepared quicker but have a mushy consistency.
Meanwhile, steel-cut oats are oat grouts that have been roasted then cut into smaller pieces. The result is a tiny-pebble-sized grain that takes about 30-minutes to cook, resulting in a satisfyingly dense, chewy texture with a slightly nutty flavour.
Benefits of Steel-Cut Oats
+Health Benefits: Beta-glucan for the win! Oats, including steel-cut oats, have a lot of this soluble fibre that turns into a gel-like substance when mixed with water. Not only does it help you maintain a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol and and blood pressure, it prevents sugar spikes which helps those managing diabetes.
+Keeps you full for longer: I love Chinese food but I HATE getting hungry without fail an hour later. You’ll have no such issue with steel-cut oats. The same aforementioned soluble fibre slows the movement of food through the digestive tract and increases in volume by binding with water to fill you up. It also helps to release the production of a satiety hormone to increase the feeling of fullness.
+Everyone Poops: Not to kill your appetite, but 1 serving of steel-cut oats contains 5 of the 25- 30 grams of fibre recommended for adults to help prevent or relieve constipation. Just make sure you drink plenty of water to help it pass. Better out than in!
Tips for Cooking Steel-Cut Oats
+ Meal Prep: I wake up ravenous and the last thing I want to do is wait while I throw together a meal. Luckily, steel-cut oats can be reheated while retaining their wonderful, chewy texture. You can whip up a big batch on Sunday night that will last you the entire week!
+ Neutral Base: Cook the oats in water (versus in chicken stock or milk) if you want some variety and switch it up between sweet and savory versions of the oats.
+ Toasted Oats: If you have the time and are willing to put in more effort for the sake of your tastebuds, you can toast the steel-cut oats before adding the liquid for extra flavour. Just heat a skillet with butter or coconut oil over medium heat then add the oats once the pan is hot. Stir for about 2 minutes or until golden and fragrant.
+ Texture: If you like your steel-cut oats softer, add more liquid and simply simmer until desired consistency.
This is my go-to breakfast when I want something that is easy to prep in advance and throw together last minute but satisfying and somewhat healthy:
Breakfast Savory Steel-Cut Oats
✧ 1 C steel-cut oats
✧ 2 C water
✧ 2 C chicken broth
✧ 4 eggs, soft-boiled
✧ 1 C cheddar cheese, grated
✧ 5 slices of bacon
✧ 2-3 green onions, diced
✧ salt, pepper, garlic salt, chilli flakes (to taste)
➊ Prep the oats: In a medium pot, bring the broth and water to a boil on the stove. Add the steel-cut oats and reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes (or until the oats absorbs the liquid). Add a pinch of salt when the oats are at a consistency that you like, mix in the grated cheese until it melts.
➋ Makin’ bacon: While the oats are simmering, cook the bacon till crispy however you like — in a skillet, in the oven, or if you’re lazy (like me) you can even cook it in the microwave. Lay on paper towel to soak up excess fat. When cool, chop up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
➌ Soft-boiled eggs: Bring pot of water to a boil, add the eggs and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and add eggs to a bowl with cold water to stop them from overcooking.
➍ Put it all together: Transfer steel-cut oats to a bowl and garnish with the chopped bacon and green onion. Peel the soft-boiled egg, halve it and place on top before sprinkling with salt, pepper and whatever spices you like to taste.
+ Sometimes I drizzle a garlic chilli oil on top as used in this recipe.
+ In the Goop version (I was making this long before Goop 😜) they sauté onion and mushroom but I’m usually too lazy and I find it doesn’t reheat well.
+ If you prefer, you can cook a sunny side up egg instead but I personally like jammy soft-boiled eggs. I cook it all Sunday night so all I have to do is assemble the day of.
+ There are endless options of steel-cut oats for those with a sweet tooth. My favourite is a PB&J bowl with peanut butter, jelly, greek yogurt, walnuts, banana and blueberries (and granola if I have it).
+ I steam the eggs (vs boiling) because I find it’s quicker and easier to peel.
This savory steel-cut oats dish is a super easy breakfast that I throw together frequently because it’s simple to prep in advance, relatively healthy, keeps me full till lunch (a huge feat!) and it satisfies my craving for an egg-y meal.
Looking for another easy recipe? Check out my favourite ramen stir fry!
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