Oatmeal, Spiced for Grown-ups

published Oct 30, 2016
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(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

If the last time your bowl of oatmeal evolved was when you switched from apple-cinnamon to maple and brown sugar-flavored instant oatmeal at, say, 10 years old, consider this your invitation for a spicier bowl.

Here are four ways to bring some sophistication to your bowl of oatmeal with easy upgrades that take you beyond cinnamon-apple and maple syrup to the land of five-spice, coconut ginger, and beyond.

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

Beyond a Dash of Cinnamon

Yes, I love cinnamon, and I am not telling you to ditch it forever and always — that would be just sad — but there’s a whole world of warm spices out there that are vying for your attention. They’re just waiting to be stirred into and sprinkled onto your hefty bowl of oats. Ginger lends pungent spice that’s sure to brighten your eyes for the busy day ahead, especially when paired with sweet, toasty coconut and juicy pomegranate seeds.

You know chai and just how warming it is in the morning, so why not infuse that flavor into your oats? Steeping the tea in the cooking water gives your oatmeal a buzzy caffeine kick.

Or give Chinese five-spice powder a try. The mix of star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel, cassia (a relative to cinnamon), and clove is the perfect balance of old and new. It has that warm sweetness your inner-kid loves, especially when sprinkled into the stewed plum topping, but brings a mild bitter and tart flavor to the mix.

And Don’t Be Afraid to Go Savory

Try forgoing the sweet spices completely in favor of a rich and savory bowl of oats. Cooking your oatmeal in a pot of miso paste-infused chicken broth turns it into something that’s a little bit salty and full of umami flavor. Then all it needs is a runny fried egg and a sprinkling of sliced scallions to round it out. Trust me, you won’t miss the maple and brown sugar and will start to consider oatmeal as a really tasty option for lunch!