Oatmeal has an undeserved reputation as the most basic breakfast food, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just because you can make it in a mug with just a packet of instant oats and a Keurig, doesn’t mean you should. Once you’ve nailed the basics of making oatmeal, jazz up your bowl with these ingredients:
1. Egg Whites
Whether you’re making sweet or savory oatmeal, adding egg whites transforms it into a filling, high-protein meal. Cook your oatmeal in the microwave for about a minute before stirring an egg white into the bowl, then cook again for at least two more minutes. If you’re making it sweet, be sure to add some extra sugar or sweetener to counteract the eggy taste.
Note that I’m recommending egg whites and not whole eggs. The one time I tried cooking a whole egg into my oatmeal, it exploded all over the microwave. If you figure out how to pull this off, hit me up.
2. Vanilla Extract
Just a drop (and no more than a drop) of vanilla extract will transform your sweet oatmeal into a delectable dessert and will make your kitchen smell like baked goods. Add blueberries, and your oatmeal will taste like blueberry muffins. You’re welcome.
Canned pumpkin is a great source of fiber and Thanksgiving flavor year-round. It also makes oatmeal taste extra thick and creamy. For easy pumpkin pie oatmeal, mix in cinnamon, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. If you’re feeling adventurous, go the savory route with curry powder, paprika, pepper and cheese.
Adding parmesan cheese and your favorite seasonings to oatmeal is the easiest way to make a simple savory meal. It’s like a healthy version of cheesy grits. If you want to take it to the next level, add your favorite pasta add-ins: parmesan or your preferred cheese, tomato sauce, basil, vegetables, balsamic vinegar — you name it, it works in oatmeal.
5. Cocoa Powder
Fact: chocolate makes everything better. Just a bit of cocoa powder transforms your oatmeal into a decadent dessert. Think of it as a healthy bread pudding or chocolate oatmeal “cookie dough.” It works with anything you’d put in a dessert or your favorite bowl of ice cream. Step it up a notch with cayenne pepper for a spicy bowl of Mexican Chocolate oatmeal.