Pizza Oatmeal

Oats are underrated, under-appreciated, and under-utilized. I will not stand for such injustice! Oatmeal has been relegated to breakfast bowls everywhere, topped with sweet granola or paired with bananas, but it holds so much more potential beyond just being a blank canvas for apple-cinnamon or maple syrup. 

It can also be transformed into savory porridge—and one so reminiscent of pizza, it'll make you rethink what "oatmeal" can be. The first time I made it, its creamy consistency and ability to marry together all the flavors I threw into the pot made me think that it was a "poor man's risotto." But when I caught myself eating down the whole pot—that yields 4 very hearty servings, by the way—I realized that this, this was better than risotto.

For one, it's much less finicky. You should be stirring the pot pretty consistently to make sure there's no oaty lumps sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning, but you don't have to baby it and feel like adding an extra cup of water might ruin the whole batch. That's the beauty of oatmeal—it only gets better with more cooking time, and you can adjust the water level as you see fit. If you want it thicker but added too much water at the beginning, just keep cooking and let the moisture evaporate until the oats are less soupy. Loosen it as needed with more water to get the consistency that you desire.

This is a no-fuss recipe that you can mess around with as you'd like. I made it spicy but you can skip that. I use sambal oelek for super-fresh super-spice, but you can also substitute Sriracha in a pinch. I call for Italian seasoning here to keep it classically "pizza," but I've also used steak seasoning and a citrus-herb seasoning mix on other occasions and those came out delicious as well. You’re an adult now, you can do whatever you’d like, and I will not judge you for being your most creative self.

I use two different kinds of oats for a texture play, but if you only have quick-cooking, you'll have a creamier result; if you only have old-fashioned, each bite will have more chew. If you want to keep things vegan, skip the cheese. If you want to make it meatier, add some slices of pepperoni or crumble some cooked bacon on top or slip it into the simmering process. For more flavor, swap out the water for vegetable or chicken broth. Whatever will make you happiest will make me happy too.

Drop us a comment down below to let us know how you liked (or hated!) this—and share your fun oatmeal ideas while you're there too! If you love the easiest dinners imaginable, check out these Chinese-style stir-fried tomatoes and eggs.

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Yields: 4 - 6 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 10 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 30 mins
Ingredients
2 tbsp.

extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1

yellow onion, diced 

4

cloves garlic, sliced

1 c.

quick-cooking oats

1 c.

old-fashioned oats

1

(28-oz.) can peeled tomatoes

1 tsp.

sambal oelek

1 tbsp.

gochugaru powder

1/2 tsp.

freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp.

Italian seasoning

1 tsp.

kosher salt

1 tbsp.

granulated sugar

4 c.

water

Shredded mozzarella, for topping

Freshly grated Parmesan, for topping 

Fresh basil, for serving

Directions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and stir until fragrant and onion turns lightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add oats and stir constantly until toasty, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, sambal, gochugaru, pepper, Italian seasoning, salt, and sugar and stir until well combined. Use a wooden spoon to break up tomatoes into bite-sized chunks. Stir in water and bring to a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened and creamy, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning on the bottom of the pot, 10 to 12 minutes. 
  4. Top with desired cheeses while hot and garnish with more olive oil and basil before serving.

Using a combination of quick-cooking oats and old-fashioned oats will give you more textural intrigue—but you can use only one kind if that's what you have on hand!

June Xie
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