Savory Oatmeal with Pan-Seared Tofu

Creamy breakfast oats, but we’re making them savory. And while, yes it might sound weird because you are likely very familiar with classic sweet preparations of this grain, many savory porridge ideas exist out in the world, so we’re giving oats that treatment today.

They don’t take long to make, and you end up with a savory umami loaded bowl of goodness. And just like with sweet oatmeal bowls, we are loading this bowl up with toppings. Keep it quick by topping with some thawed edamame or make it fun by searing up some protein-rich tofu to help keep your energy stable throughout the morning.

Why You’ll Love These Savory Oats

  • Easy to make. These oats are just as simple to prepare as regular sweet oats. You only need 10 minutes to make the oatmeal base while many of the toppings can be simplified or made in advance to make mornings easier.
  • Great for meal prep. A great savory breakfast option to make ahead of time for the work week. Just portion the oats and tofu into individual containers for easy grab and go meals.
  • A great way to load in protein. This oatmeal bowl provides roughly 21 grams of good quality plant-protein thanks to the use of sprouted oats, soy milk and tofu.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Rolled Oats: I used Sprouted Rolled Oats. With modifications to the recipe, you can also use quick or steel-cut oats as the base if you want to change up the texture or cook time.
  • Milk: For more protein, I used unsweetened soy milk. You can also use pea-protein milk or opt for an oat milk to make this.
  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms: This is optional, but it does help add a great depth of umami flavor to the oatmeal broth.
  • Miso Paste: I recommend yellow or white miso for these oats as they have a milder flavor that adds a good amount of depth and umami flavor to the bowl. If you are allergic to soy, try replacing with chickpea miso paste or swap with some vegetable or vegan chicken bouillon.
  • Soy Sauce: Seasons our tofu and oatmeal. To keep this dish gluten-free, opt for a wheat-free tamari, gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce: Helps add spice and some garlicky afternotes without having to mince any garlic. You can also swap for some sriracha.
  • Scallion: Gives a milder onion flavor to our oats. Feel free to swap with a minced shallot.
  • Tofu: I used extra firm tofu to help pack in more protein. Feel free to change up your plant protein to things like edamame, tempeh, chickpeas or seitan as desired.

How to Make Savory Oats Vegan

Cut your tofu into cubes or triangles. Add the tofu to an airtight container along with cornstarch, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Seal the container and give a few gentle shakes to evenly coat the tofu.

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat and then add your oil to warm through. Once the oil is hot, add in your tofu making sure to spread them out into a single layer in the pan to cook. Allow the tofu to cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes. Flip and cook on the opposite side for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the tofu has become golden. Remove the tofu and place on a plate with a clean paper towel and set aside.

To prepare the oatmeal, heat a saucepan over medium-low heat and add a drizzle of oil. When the oil is hot, add the white portion of the sliced scallion with a pinch of salt and saute for 2 minutes until softened.

Add in the milk, water, soy sauce and the dry shiitake mushrooms. Stir the mixture well and bring to a simmer.

Remove and reserve the mushrooms from the broth. Add your miso paste to a small bowl and pour over about 3 tablespoons of the warm milk mixture over the miso then mix to break up any clumps. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan along with the oats and chili garlic sauce.

Stir the mixture frequently as it comes back to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 minutes or until the oats start to thicken. Add the kale and allow it to cook down and wilt into the oats. Continue to cook until the oats have thickened to your liking then serve. If desired, slice the rehydrated mushrooms to use on top of the oats along with a few pieces of tofu, sliced avocado, scallions, chili oil and sesame seeds.

Ingredients

Pan Seared Tofu
1, ~450g block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp avocado oil

Oatmeal
1 tsp avocado oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
4 shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup One Degree Organics Gluten-Free Sprouted Rolled Oats
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp yellow miso paste
2 cups curly kale, roughly chopped and stems removed

Serving
Avocado Slices
Chili Oil
Sesame Seeds

Directions

Cut your tofu into cubes or triangles. Add the tofu to an airtight container along with cornstarch, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Seal the container and give a few gentle shakes to evenly coat the tofu.

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat and then add your oil to warm through. Once the oil is hot, add in your tofu making sure to spread them out into a single layer in the pan to cook. Allow the tofu to cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes. Flip and cook on the opposite side for an additional 3-4 minutes or until the tofu has become golden. Remove the tofu and place on a plate with a clean paper towel and set aside.

To prepare the oatmeal, heat a saucepan over medium-low heat and add a drizzle of oil. When the oil is hot, add the white portion of the sliced scallion with a pinch of salt and saute for 2 minutes until softened.

Add in the milk, water, soy sauce and the dry shiitake mushrooms. Stir the mixture well and bring to a simmer.

Remove and reserve the mushrooms from the broth. Add your miso paste to a small bowl and pour over about 3 tablespoons of the warm milk mixture over the miso then mix to break up any clumps. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan along with the oats and chili garlic sauce.

Stir the mixture frequently as it comes back to a simmer and allow to cook for 3 minutes or until the oats start to thicken. Add the kale and allow it to cook down and wilt into the oats. Continue to cook until the oats have thickened to your liking then serve. If desired, slice the rehydrated mushrooms to use on top of the oats along with a few pieces of tofu, sliced avocado, scallions, chili oil and sesame seeds.

Expert Tips

  • Mix the miso paste with some of the heated milk mixture before adding to the pot. This will help break up the miso paste and smooth it out so it blends well into the oats without leaving lumps.
  • Change up the toppings. Mix and match what you put on top of your oats to add variety. Variety helps keep your interest and prevents you from getting bored of what you’re eating through the week.
  • Reheating leftovers. Oats will thicken as they cool and will continue to thicken when stored in the fridge. To reheat leftovers place the oats in a microwave safe dish or in a pot on the stove top over medium low heat. To either preparation, add a splash of water or plant-based milk to help loosen the oats. Add more as needed until you achieve your desired consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of savory oats?

Savory oats provide an opportunity to add more vegetables and protein to your first meal of the day that you might not easily get with more sweet preparations. This will help to make your breakfast more satisfying. Including the miso paste in this preparation also helps to provide some probiotics to help support gut health.

Can I make this with quick or steel-cut oats?

Yes. If using quick oats, just note that it will cook a lot faster, so you may want to take it off the stove top a few minutes earlier. If using steel-cut oats, you will need more liquid and more time for cooking. General recommendations are to cook 1 cup of steel-cut oats with 3 1/2 to 4 cups of liquid, so increase accordingly. Adjust the seasonings as desired and you can cook the oats for 20-25 minutes or until they are at your desired consistency.

Can savory oats be made in advance?

Yes! Much like with sweet oat recipes, you can store leftovers for easy meal prep during the week. Allow the oats to cool and place in a airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Just note, as oatmeal sits and cools, it will thicken, so make sure when reheating to add a splash of water or milk to help loosen it up to your desired consistency. You can also prep the toppings like the tofu in advance as well. Place the cooked tofu in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.