The “risotto” bit of this recipe’s title was pure accident, but one I am glad to have stumbled upon. I was trying to accomplish several things, actually. First, to start cooking again! You may have noticed I missed my last post…and you may have heard this saying about when something hits the fan? 2013 started out more hectic than I thought it would. Second, flurries have been flying all weekend and I was craving something good and creamy and warm. Lastly, I was trying to think of a heart healthy, “high fiber, low fat” dish my dad might like after having taken him to his colonoscopy this past week. Yes, even after showing him and my mom that healthy food has a lot of deliciousness to offer with dishes like my Green Bean Potato Salad and Honeyed Dijon Glazed Salmon, Mahi Mahi Cioppino, and Lamb Burgers, they still insist healthy is boring. I think I am proving again that healthy tastes great with this savory oatmeal “risotto”!
Like I mentioned earlier, I did not begin this recipe searching for a risotto substitute. I wanted to do something for breakfast outside of my comfort zone, while creating something “dad approved”. Savory oatmeal is way out of my comfort zone! When I have oatmeal, I like mine on the sweeter side, choosing to add in a still slightly green banana or blueberries with almonds. My dad prefers savory breakfast choices. It wasn’t until I was folding the Parmesan cheese into the cooked oats that I noticed the dish’s resemblance in flavor and texture to a risotto.
That excited me. A creamy risotto like dish using pantry staples? I mean, how many more people are likely to have a tub of oats hanging around in their kitchen than a box of specialty arborio rice, right? For my recipe, the only “special” ingredient I used was cremini mushrooms. I’ve been craving them since I saw Karen’s Spinach and Mushroom Salad over at the Back Road Journal. Everything else, to include my my freshly snipped, flurry flocked thyme, are ingredients I always seem to have around. Though not as elegant as a real risotto, I think this recipe and others like it make an often intimidating dish very accessible.
And seriously, haven’t you wanted something as decadent as a risotto for breakfast? Now you can!
Savory Oatmeal – Mushroom and Thyme “Risotto”
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup water
- 3-4 cremini (“baby bella”) mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup Spanish onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and pour in oats.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook oats for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When oats are finished cooking, reduce heat to low and fold in Parmesan cheese. Cover if desired while continuing on with the rest of the recipe.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet pan over medium heat.
- Add garlic and onions to skillet and sauté until onions are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add thyme sprigs and mushrooms to pan, continuing to sauté ingredients until mushrooms are golden, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and ground pepper.
- When mushroom mixture is finished cooking, remove thyme sprigs and add cooked oatmeal to skillet. Fold ingredients together. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.