VeganMoFo, Day 6: 1,001 Ways to Enjoy Oatmeal (for reals!)

October 6th, 2009 12:34 pm by mad mags


What’s that? 1,001 ways to enjoy oatmeal? Surely I exaggerate! Actually, I think I’m underestimating the many, many ways one can serve a seemingly simple bowl of oatmeal. Don’t believe me? Keep on reading for 123 basic ingredients (most of which come in several different forms, flavors and whatnot) that can allow you to enjoy oatmeal every day for a year – without ever making the same dish twice!

Shane offered to write a script to generate every possible combination of the ingredients I’ve compiled below, but that would be a little much, dontchathink? Not to mention, gross and overwhelming: A bowl of oatmeal with white and brown sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup, chocolate soy milk, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and chocolate-covered soy nuts might very well send you right back to bed with a sugar headache to beat all sugar headaches.

On the other hand, many of the possible (human-generated) combinations sound absolutely delightful:

* Rolled oats cooked in water, sweetened with maple syrup, and garnished with a handful of pecans – the perfect morning pick-me-up!

* Quick oats with vanilla soy milk, a dash of white sugar, and fresh and dried blueberries – yum!

* Chewy rolled oats mixed with peanut butter and strawberry jelly – brown bagging it to the office, anyone?

* Steel-cut oats flavored with a cup of chai tea, sweetened with a squirt of agave nectar, and topped off with a generous serving of cranberries – why aren’t more restaurants on the oatmeal bandwagon, yo!?

At first glance, some of the ingredients I’ve thunk up may strike you as a little odd: marshmallows and chocolate chips in oatmeal!? While I don’t recommend that you make a habit out of marrying oats and jelly beans, candy-decorated oatmeal is a delicious indulgence. And nostalgic, too!: As a kid, I hated oatmeal. Loathed the stuff. Well, the “boring” (read: healthy) “adult” oatmeal, anyhow. When my mom occasionally bought the fun, cartoon-themed, kid-oriented flavors, I downed oatmeal with gusto. I can still remember this one variety of oatmeal (Quaker, probably), which had these little gummy dinosaurs mixed in with the quick oats. Once the “eggs” met with water, the candied exterior dissolved, “hatching” the dino beneath. (From ages 6 through 13, I fancied myself a budding archaeologist, you see.) Ah, memories!

Now that I’m older (and more health-conscious), I no longer eschew “boring” oatmeal. Truth be told, I love the stuff. In fact, VeganMoFo caught me in the middle of an oatmeal kick. I rotate between three morning meals – dry cereal, bagels with fruit preserves, and oatmeal – jumping from a run of one to a run of another, usually on a monthly basis. I’ve been stuck on oatmeal for a few months now, so come to think of it, I’m long overdue for a change. But after this post, I might never eat dry cereal or a bagel for breakfast again! So many possibilities, so quick and simple – and so delicious!

2009-10-06 - 1 Way to Enjoy Oatmeal

Here’s how I usually do it:

First thing in the morning, I start out with a cup of juice with which to down my morning supplements. Before sitting down with my drink, I get the oatmeal going: I pour about 1 1/2 cups of quick oats into a bowl, sprinkle on a little sugar and cinnamon (purchased separately, but mixed in an old margarine container for maximum efficiency – I’m not too coordinated in the AM!), cover the concoction with some water and/or soy milk, and let it sit for a bit. When I’m ready to eat, I toss in a handful of dried fruit (usually cranberries, cherries, blueberries, and/or apples) and microwave the dish for 60 seconds. VoilĂ ! A hot, nutritious breakfast in less than three minutes!

I especially love how Silk’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice soymilk tastes in oatmeal (and tea!), but alas, the year’s still a little middle-aged for Pumpkin Spice. Well, at least it gives me something to look forward to!

Well, now that I’ve said just about everything there is to say about oatmeal, let’s have a look at those ingredients.



The three types of oats most commonly used in oatmeal are:

Rolled oats

Quick oats

Steel-cut oats



You can cook your oats in (or flavor them with) any one of the following liquids:


Soy Milk (sweetened, unsweetened, plain, vanilla, chocolate)

Seasonal soy milk (Silk Soy Nog, Silk Pumpkin Spice, VitaSoy Peppermint Chocolate, etc.)

Rice Milk (sweetened, unsweetened, plain, vanilla, chocolate)

Almond Milk (sweetened, unsweetened, plain, vanilla, chocolate)

Hemp Milk (sweetened, unsweetened, plain, vanilla, chocolate)

Tea (sweetened, unsweetened; green, chai, chamomile, Earl Grey – the possibilities are endless!)

Coffee (black, with sugar, flavored, caffeinated, decaf)



Use these sweeteners judiciously:

White sugar

Brown sugar

Agave nectar



& Spice

For that extra kick, try:


Cinnamon sticks



Crystallized ginger


Pumpkin Pie Spice


Lemon zest

Lime zest

Orange zest


2008-10-16 - Pumpkin Applesauce - 0005

Sugar and Spice (Extra nice!)

These ingredients are sweet and flavorful:

Maple syrup

Fruit syrup (blueberry, strawberry, etc.)


Marmalade (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, strawberry, etc.)

Jam, Jelly or a Fruit Preserve (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, peach, grape, orange, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, apricot, gooseberry, redcurrant, blackcurrant, plum, mint, etc.)

Fruit butter (apple, plum, peach, grape)

Applesauce (sweetened, unsweetened, mixed fruit, plain)

Soy yogurt (plain, vanilla, lemon, lime, strawberry, banana, blueberry, raspberry, apricot mango, etc.)


Everything Else That’s Nice

Some less traditional oatmeal additives:

Peanut butter

Soy nut butter

Almond butter

Carob powder

Cocoa powder

Matcha (green tea powder)


Coconut flakes (sweetened, unsweetened)


Fruity Goodness

For fruit, you can choose between four main “states” of fruit:

Freeze dried

And of course, there’s a wide variety of fruit species available for vegan noshing:

Goji berries
Star fruit


Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

Nuts and seeds pack an uber-oomphy protein punch:

Peanuts (roasted, dry roasted, salted, unsalted)

Soy nuts (roasted, dry roasted, salted, unsalted)

Edamame (grilled, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Pecans (raw, roasted)

Almonds (raw, toasted, salted, unsalted)

Cashews (raw, roasted, dry roasted, salted, unsalted)

Walnuts (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Hazelnuts (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Chestnuts (fresh or dried)

Pistachios (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Macadamia nuts (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Brazil nuts (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Pine nuts

Sunflower seeds (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)

Pumpkin seeds (raw, roasted, salted, unsalted)


& Sometimes You Just Want Candy!

For midnight snacking:

Marshmallows (Vegan varieties include Dandies or Sweet & Sara.)

Ricemellow creme

Chocolate chips (miniature or standard size)

Carob chips

Peanut butter chips (Do they make a vegan version of these? Note to self: Must. Investigate.)

Butterscotch chips (Ditto: Peanut butter chips.)

Chocolate-covered goodies (raisins, espresso beans, sunflower seeds, peanuts, soy nuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, etc.)

Carob-covered goodies (peanuts, raisins, etc.)

Sprinkles (chocolate, rainbow or seasonal/festive)

Jelly beans

Mint lentils

Candied fennel seeds

Candied fruit slices

Mochi Rice Cakes


Nutritional Supplements

For Monday morning optimism:

Wheat germ

Fiber powder

Soy protein powder (plain, vanilla, chocolate)

Hemp protein powder

Pumpkin seed powder

Pomegranate powder

Strawberry powder

Blueberry powder

Goji berry powder

Acai powder

Maca powder

Mangosteen powder

Kelp powder

Soy lecithin granules



So. For closers, a question: When, why and how do YOU get your oatmeal fix?


Photo attributions, top to bottom:"> / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0"> / CC BY 2.0"> / CC BY-NC 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0"> / CC BY 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0"> / CC BY-NC 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0"> / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



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5 Responses to “VeganMoFo, Day 6: 1,001 Ways to Enjoy Oatmeal (for reals!)”

  1. Christie Says:

    Great ideas! I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow to try out some of your suggestions. I love porridge sprinkled with gomasio and served with oatmilk – a vegan twist on the traditional Scots way to serve it.

  2. Nadia Says:

    I laughed when I saw peanut butter in with the “less traditional” mix-ins–my favorite bowl of oatmeal is rolled oats cooked in soy milk with peanut butter, bananas, and ginger. It’s weird to me that other people don’t put peanut butter in their oatmeal, I’ve always eaten it that way!

  3. Melisser Says:

    Wow, this is some serious oatmeal love!

  4. Shannon Says:

    I’m a simple girl: I cook my oatmeal (in the microwave) with water. Then I add a splash of soy milk, stir in chopped walnuts and molasses, and sprinkle with brown sugar. :) All these intense flavor combos are making me hungry!

  5. Mo Says:

    Geez! I know what I’m having for breakfast!

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