My Favorite Savory Steel Cut Oats
October 19, 2015


I know that the phrase “life changing” is tossed around way too much in food writing, and I know it sometimes rings hollow. The only recipe I’ve ever shared that probably deserved those words in full was banana soft serve. Much as it’s tempting to deem every awesome new recipe a life changer, I’m wary about wielding the claim.

But I must admit that savory oats have been sort of life changing for me this fall. It’s not my first time trying them; I’ve made them in the past, and enjoyed them. But it’s the first time I found a formula that is, if not life-changing, an instant–and, I suspect, a lifelong–favorite.

It all started when a longtime reader (and post-bacc student!) wrote to me saying that savory oats had become her favorite easy staple for busy school weeks. I was inspired, and I started making my own versions with rolled oats and all sorts of flavorings/toppings, from miso to hummus to avocado slices to leftover legumes. Switching over to savory steel cut oats, though–which I did a few weeks ago–has made me love savory oats even more.

I used to think of steel cut oats as being desirable from a texture perspective (so naturally creamy and chewy), but not very efficient. While they don’t lend themselves to spontaneous cooking, I’ve come to see them as a reliable food for batch cooking, which actually saves me a lot of time when all is said and done. I simply soak the oats overnight and bring them to a boil first thing in the morning. Within 12-15 minutes–more but not too much more time than rolled oats–they’re perfectly cooked, and then I have a big batch that I can reheat as the week progresses.

You could obviously prepare savory oats a thousand different ways, by stirring in different ingredients and flavorings. This combination is one of a great many options. I love that it’s packed with umami and protein, thanks to the marriage of nutritional yeast, miso, and mushrooms. I love that it’s an easy vehicle for leafy greens. I love that it’s a one-pot deal. I’m sure the formula will change and give way to a new favorite over time, but right now, I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it.


My Favorite Savory Steel Cut Oats (gluten free)

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 cup steel cut oats be sure to purchase GF certified oats if you are allergic to gluten
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 head dinosaur kale stems removed, leaves chopped into ribbons (about 4 ounces after preparation)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme optional
  • 2 teaspoons mellow white miso
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Optional toppings: sliced avocado extra nutritional yeast, cashew cheese, hummus, roasted chickpeas (or fresh chickpeas), cooked lentils, chopped green onion, hot sauce, lemon, balsamic vinegar, etc.


  • Shortcut cooking method: Before you got to sleep, mix the steel cut oats and 3 1/2 cups water in a medium sized pot. Put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the oats from the fridge and pot them on the stovetop over medium high heat. Bring them to a boil and reduce them to a simmer. Simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until they're tender, and the mixture is thick, yet easy to stir.
  • Longer cooking method: If you don't pre-soak the oats, simply bring them to a boil as directed above, but cook for up to 30-40 minutes for the desired texture.
  • While the oats cook, heat the oil in a medium-large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute, or until they're fragrant. Add the mushrooms and salt them generously--and add the thyme, if desired. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, or until they've released all of their juices and reduced significantly. Add the kale. Cover the skillet and allow it to steam cook for 2 minutes, or until the kale is wilted. Turn off the heat.
  • Whisk together 2 tablespoons of hot water, along with the miso, tahini, and tamari. Stir this mixture into the cooked steel cut oats, along with the nutritional yeast. Then, stir in the vegetables. Mix everything well and divide it into serving bowls. Top with your toppings of choice, and savor! Leftover oats will keep for up to three days in an airtight container in the fridge.

As you can see from the images, the dish is amazingly creamy, thanks simply to the oats and a little tahini. And the combination of miso, tahini, and nooch is really an unbeatable vegan flavor trifecta.


The nice thing about this dish, of course, is that you can eat it at anytime of day, and it’s a complete, nutritionally dense meal. It boasts nearly 14 grams of protein, all sourced from easy, protein-rich plant food combinations. So, whether you’re enjoying this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s a reliable means of getting quick nourishment. The leftovers keep nicely, which makes it a great batch cooking staple.

Naturally, you can mix up the veggies based on what’s in season. And feel free to use frozen spinach or kale to make it even more of a pantry meal. I love the shallot here, but you can skip it if you don’t have it, or use garlic in its place. I’ve experimented with topping this bowl with avocado slices and chickpeas, and both were great.

But honestly? It’s pretty perfect and complete the way it is.


It hope the recipe–or at least the idea–kinda sorta changes your life too, especially during those busy weeks when you need something reliable, fast, and sustaining.

As you can see, this post is standing in for the usual Menu Plan Monday post. Because I’m traveling through tomorrow and cooking with a client on Friday night, my guess is that I’ll simply be living off of the freezer for the next couple evenings. I look forward to sharing another weekly menu plan next Monday. In the meantime, have a great start to the week!


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  1. I have mine with peanuts and Sri Racha chilli sauce. But I also add chia seeds to my oats.

  2. 5 stars
    I just recently started trying savory oats recipes. I bought the ingredients for this recipe last week but was too lazy to try it until this morning and Oh my goodness!!! The flavor is spectacular! I LOVED it so much!! I’m pretty sure I’ll be having this for breakfast for the rest of the week, maybe longer and I will definitely be cooking this for anyone that comes to my home until I’ve made it for everyone that I love. Thx for sharing!

  3. I thank you for this wonderful recipe. Cutting out eggs and cheese has limited the savory breakfast choices, so I am glad to have this new option, I made it this morning with broccoli instead of mushrooms and whatever miso I had in the fridge, and it was amazing. It is company worthy.

  4. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this at home. This looks really tasty. Thank you for the recipe.

    – gustavo woltmann

  5. I think we might be soul sisters. I’ve been making a very similar savory oats recipe For years now. I always add frozen peas and fresh spinach to the oats at the end and they cook perfectly. I never thought to mix in tahini, I gotta try that next!

  6. Hi Gena!
    I just saw this post — can’t believe I missed it! I was that miso-oat addicted post-bac who wrote you. Thanks so much for the shoutout and so glad you’re on the savory oat train. I can’t wait to try adding nutritional yeast and tahini to my next batch!

  7. This sounds super tasty and I’ve got a ton of extra mushrooms from a clearance sale. I just wonder if the oats I have are steel cut…. How can you tell? I buy them in bulk from Sprouts, and when I make them for breakfast in the microwave, they still have a great mouth feel, and aren’t fully cooked after 3 minutes. I love that they are still a little chewy. I’ve never thought to do savory oats before.

    • Hey Lynne,

      Those sound like steel cut, though you can just google a photo to check! It’s an awesome recipe — hope you enjoy it.


  8. This is a fabulous dish Gena, thank you! If one did include the optional thyme, where in the recipe should it be added?

  9. 5 stars
    I just made this and it is AMAZING! I am eating this for dinner and having more for breakfast. I had to use onion inseam of shallot and also light sweet miso instead because I was unable to find Mello white.

  10. For some reason the recipe isn’t showing up…just the file name. Would love to have this recipe because it sounds delicious!

  11. I land to try this–looks and sounds delicious. I cook my steel cut oats in a slow cooker over. night and they are always creamy. I plan on adding the rest of the ingredients in the morning. Don’t see any reason why this won’t work. Looking forward to it! Thanks for the recipe.

  12. Hi Gena! Just made a triple batch of this for breakfasts all week for my husband and I. Love the miso-tahini-tamari combo!

    Just wanted to let you know I don’t think the recipe says where to add the optional pepper and thyme. I nearly forgot and added them at the very end!

  13. Just had this for breakfast on a drizzly, overcast Wednesday morning, and it totally hit the spot! I usually do more fruit-oriented breakfasts, but I loved the savory, warm goodness of this.

  14. I made these today and I have to say they’re becoming a regular breakfast! they’re like the answer to breakfast when you want an everything bagel but don’t want the refined flour and to feel hungry in an hour. These are everything basically 🙂

  15. Gena, this is one glorious bowl of oats! I eat oats in some for every single day, and thus always have it on hand, so I’m definitely looking forward to shaking up the routine with your savory approach.

  16. These are DELISH, I am blown away. So grateful you shared this recipe. Thank you. <3

  17. Made this tonight and it was completely amazing. My boyfriend couldn’t believe it was vegan and ate the entire recipe! Planning a double batch in the near future. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, it has already become a favorite.

  18. Definitely going to buy steel cut oats and mushrooms tonight so I can make this in the morning! LOOKS DELISH! Have you used qunioa flakes with a recipe like this (savory breakfast) yet?? Seems like it would work well here!

  19. Hi Gena, I am wondering if there is a type of nutritional yeast that you might recommend. This recipe sounds so comforting and yummy. I look forward to trying it.

      • Thank you.
        I also just got your cookbook. There are so many wonderful recipes I don’t know where to start. Probably though – it will be a soup.

  20. Gena, the steel cut oats will cook faster and better if you bring them to a boil the night before, boil for a minute then let sit overnight. Just add a splash of water in the morning, and they’re done in a few minutes!

  21. Going to be honest here: savory oats have always turned me off. However, using steel cut oats just might make me change my mind. This looks and sounds so delicious. It reminds me of a risotto I’ve made before, and I’m so curious to try it now!

  22. These photos are stunning Gena, wow! I’ve only recently come to dig into the savoury oats idea and although I love it, I’ve had a hard time convincing the man & mini man to get on board too. It’s a work in progress 😉

    By the way, I’m late in doing so but I love the rebrand of The Full Helping – Congratulations! It’s a perfect reflection of everything you bring to the table here. XO

  23. In the morning I eat steel cut oats with strawberries, black berries (or blue berries), ground flax seed, and unsweetened soymilk. I do not cook the oats because I don’t like mushy cereal. Are there nutritional benefits to eating the oats raw vs. cooked?

    • Hi Scott,

      I find the steel cut oats much too hard if I don’t cook them, but I don’t think the nutrition changes!


      • Hi Gena–These look FABulous!! Still have some gluten oat groats, which I might try this with. Oh, the flavor-nutrition palette!! I see why you say this very well may be life-changing–and I agree the photos are beautiful too. xo

      • I’ve been able to eat them raw if I soak them overnight and then process with a little nut milk and a date a bit in the food processor. Sort of a “middle” ground for the texture, Gena and Scott. 🙂

        • I’ve tried that method as well, Maria! I love the creaminess and the fact that it’s so like a traditional “porridge,” even if the cooked steel cut oats are my preference.