Step aside pumpkin spice. Make this the season of oats.
Fall isn’t just all about pumpkin spice, it’s also about warm, cozy and feel-good foods. One of the most versatile and nutritious are oats. These little flakes of goodness are packed with things like fibre, protein and antioxidants, plus they can help lower cholesterol and keep you feeling full longer.
If you think oats are just for breakfast or putting on top of that oh-so delicious apple crumble, you’re seriously missing out, because oats are infinitely adaptable – even when it comes to savoury dishes. We’ve tracked down a few must-try recipes to get a little more oat-y goodness into your fall feasts. Here are three to test out.
Savoury mushroom and herb steel cut oat risotto
- 5-1/2 cups vegetable stock (chicken or beef stock may also be used)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 leek (white and light green part only), halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into thin slices
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces mushrooms ( try 8 ounces white mushrooms + 4 ounces “gourmet mushrooms blend”)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground dried sage
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup steel-cut oats (also called Irish oatmeal)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- In a medium saucepan with a lid, heat stock over medium heat until simmering, then reduce heat to low and keep covered.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add leek and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme and sage; cook 7 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are very deeply browned, stirring frequently. Add wine, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add oatmeal; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 2 ladles of hot stock, cook until oats have absorbed almost all of the liquid. From this point, you’ll just continue adding stock, 1 ladle at a time, and stirring. You do NOT need to stand and stir constantly, but you should stir frequently, so just do some other stuff around the kitchen while you linger. The oats should take about 25 minutes to cook (taste to make sure they are tender). You should have enough stock (be sure to keep the lid on it when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t evaporate!), but if you run out before the oats are tender, just add some water.
- To finish, vigorously stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Serve in warm bowls garnished with parsley and extra cheese.
Steel cut oat bean chili
- 2 cups water plus 1 veggie bouillon cube (or 2 cups veggie broth)
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1-1/2 cups homemade)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1-1/2 cups homemade)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, regular or fire-roasted
- 1 cup frozen corn, regular or fire-roasted
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, to taste
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring the water and bouillon to a boil in a soup pot. Add oats and lower to medium heat.
- Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the oats are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Stir in the oregano, cumin, garlic, kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes, corn and liquid smoke.
- Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
- Before serving, add the juice of half a lime as well as salt and pepper, to taste.
Beef and oatmeal soup
- 3/4 lb (375 g) beef top sirloin, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 branches celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 5 cups (1.25 litres) beef broth
- 1 can (398 ml/14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) quick-cooking oats
- Salt and pepper
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, brown the beef and onion in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the carrots, celery and garlic. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes.
- Add the broth, tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the oats and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Adjust the seasoning.
And if you can’t stop thinking about pumpkin spice, why not add it to your morning bowl of oatmeal – it’ll make a sweet start to any day.
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