Before you throw up your hands, declare me an absolute wierdo, and vow to never even think about venturing to Farmers Market Vegan for the rest of your days, I urge you to cultivate an open mind. For what are we vegans if not the most experimental, imaginative, and cunning culinary craftsters, dedicated to exploring the unknown realms of gastronomy? Sure, your acquaintances may deem you strange for including UFOs with squiggly tails (aka quinoa) and patties of fermented soy beans (aka tempeh) in your diet, but when fellow vegan adventurers raise an inquiring eyebrow at your dietary decisions, you know you’ve struck the gold standard of strange edible fodder.
I know I propose an abnormal notion, perhaps one made even more unfamiliar by tampering with the meal with which vegans and omnivores alike have become most obstinant in their daily routines: breakfast. Remember my plea and your role as an innovator in the ever-expanding universe of vegan sustenance when I introduce the concept of savory oatmeal.
Last year, I began each morning with a bowl of oats cooked in tomato juice with kale and broccoli, sprinkled with flaxseed meal, nutritional yeast, walnuts, and dried basil. Before familiarizing myself with the idea of vegetables for breakfast, I too doubted that I could palate seemingly lunchtime-like fare in dawn’s wee hours. However, after discovering the savory morning meals of other cultures, such as miso soup in Japan and congee in China, I decided to accept my duties as a vegan (thus, as a gastronomic explorer) and break through society’s sweet breakfast standards.
Clearly, I’ve since ceded my savory oatmeal to the daily green smoothies of which I am oh so fond, but today I commemorated my retired oatmeal recipe after realizing that I had no bananas in the freezer to blend up a signature smoothie (and if you know the first rule of smoothie-making, you’re aware that they require a banana for optimal texture). Hearty, richly flavored, and wonderfully wholesome, this oatmeal provides a surprising breakfast that easily wards off hunger until lunchtime.
Savory Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Soy Free, Oil Free)
- 3/4 cup tomato juice (I use Pomi’s strained tomatoes for their thick viscosity and premium flavor. Gotta love those Italian imports!).
- 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
- 1-2 oz kale, finely chopped
- 4 oz broccoli, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
- 1/4 oz (about 1 tbsp) walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried basil
In a small saucepan, bring the tomato juice to a rapid simmer (it won’t be quite a boil since the consistency is too thick). Stir in the oats, cover, reduce to medium-low heat, and cook for 7 minutes.
Stir in the kale and broccoli and cook, covered, for 7 more minutes.
Stir in the remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on the lowest heat for about 2 minutes longer, just to allow the final flavors to meld.
The tastiest aspect of this recipe comes from scraping off the stuck-on bits of tomato and oats at the bottom of the pot which have developed a fabulously unctuous flavor.
Needless to say, this recipe calls for infinite variation: substitute whatever nuts you like, play with the herbs and seasonings, use any leafy green in the place of kale, or replace the broccoli with cauliflower.
Breakfast Checklist: Protein—soy milk (served on the side). Whole Grain—gluten-free oats. Fruit—do tomatoes count? Leafy Green—kale. “Power Food”—flaxseed meal. Added Vegetable Bonus!—broccoli.
Comment Provoking Questions: How do you feel about savory food in the morning? What’s the most unorthodox thing you add to oatmeal? What is/are the vegan staple food(s) that your friends give you wierd looks for eating?
Until next time, Ali.