Oatmeal: It's Not Just for Breakfast

March 11, 2014

As a defiant response to Sad Desk Lunches, the Food52 team works to keep our midday meals both interesting and pretty. Each week, we'll be sharing our happiest desk lunches -- and we want to see yours, too.

Today: How to change up your oatmeal game. 

Oatmeal from FOod52

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I think that you should put cheese on your oatmeal, and then eat it for lunch. Salt and pepper, too. Maybe some hot sauce.

Yes, this sounds crazy. Yes, this sounds revolutionary. Yes, this sounds like something that people will give you weird looks for, like if you brought pungent Indian food into your cubicle, or a drippy, messy burrito.

But you should do it anyway, because it is not nearly as weird or boundary-pushing as it seems. Risotto, polenta, and grits all get the savory treatment; why should oats always be syruped and dried-cranberried? Why not put more salt, more cheese, and more spice onto that steaming bowl of front of you -- one that reheated beautifully in the microwave, mind you -- and feel daring, original?

All the more reason to have that pastry for breakfast.

What breakfast foods do you like to eat for lunch? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Knightcraft
  • Redski23
  • deanna
  • Kanitta Laothai
    Kanitta Laothai
  • flowercityfoodie
Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.


Knightcraft April 4, 2014
A dash of salt and a pat of butter is how I always eat my oatmeal. THIS idea of cheese and hot sauce is so freakin awesome that I'm at a loss for words right now. I feel tears coming to my eyes. Give me a minute please....
Redski23 March 30, 2014
Bartevelle, a little cafe in Berkeley has a range of savory porridges done with sesame oil, fantastic
deanna March 19, 2014
even if you eat it for breakfast you can zap it up. I like cinnamon, cayenne and pepper on mine...with honey of course!
Kanitta L. March 15, 2014
oatmeal lam showder~~ wohoooooooo..i luv it!!!
Kanitta L. March 15, 2014
*clam showder
flowercityfoodie March 12, 2014
I made something similar to this on my blog. I called it "risoatmeal."
mikaela March 11, 2014
Oh so good, savory brunch oatmeal with cracked pepper, garlic, some shaved parmesan & a healthy drizzle of quality olive oil.
Sarah B. March 11, 2014
I've done some crazy things with my oatmeal - added a fried egg, mixed in spinach and egg whites, I even added some hot sauce on some really poor college days. I prefer savory to sweet oatmeal any day!
Natalie March 11, 2014
savory waffles! mix some herbs into the batter and top with whatever you please!
apayne17 March 11, 2014
I learned from my mom that my favorite way to eat cream of wheat is with (good!) butter, a wee bit of salt, and some parmesan on top. One of my most favorite savory ways to start my day.
monica_m March 11, 2014
I'm a huge fan of steel cut oatmeal with caramelized onions and a dollop of ricotta. A tiny sprinkle of red chili flakes for a little heat is nice too.
Brette W. March 12, 2014
Caramelized onions! Great idea.
jbban March 11, 2014
I usually add miso and tahini to my morning porridge.
Brette W. March 12, 2014
Colleen March 11, 2014
My partner eats oatmeal with garlic and soy sauce and olive oil all the time.
claire M. March 11, 2014
My mom made it with butter, salt & pepper, and brewer's yeast. Everyone's thought I'm crazy my whole life for eating it this way.
FoodieDawn March 11, 2014
Great ideas here! Making all kinds of lunch plans now. I eat eggs for dinner all the time in all different ways but this is different and oatmeal is such a nice, portable lunch.
whatshername March 11, 2014
Crumbled bacon, cheese and an egg over easy!
Shuchi March 11, 2014
I can't agree more! I cook savory oatmeal all the time, this being my all-time favorite!
FoodieDawn March 11, 2014
Love this idea, thanks!
Shuchi March 11, 2014
@AAFoodie - you're most welcome! You can try it with any kind of curry really, even those lingering Indian takeout leftovers :)
Andrew March 11, 2014
My wife and I eat a pumpkin version of savory pumpkin:
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 cup water (a little less for more dense oatmeal)
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
grated parmesan
Mix all but the pumpkin and parmesan for about 2.5 minutes in the microwave. When it's to a consistency you like, mix in the pumpkin and parmesan.

Pegeen March 11, 2014
Great question. One thought... ground oatmeal can work in lieu of bread crumbs but it helps to process them first in a blender or coffee grinder to get a smaller crumb like a bread crumb.
I can imagine using it, cooked (microwave fine) and pureed with a stick-blender, to thicken a sauce that has a lot of acid and needs a little thickening and sweetness.
Gumbercules March 11, 2014
Timely post! This past weekend I did savory cheddar oatmeal with a poached egg, avocado, jalapeno, and scallions. @AAFoodie, I made mine with a 2:1 ratio of milk to oats.
People are more receptive to it when you tell them it's "wheat polenta" than saying savory oatmeal.
FoodieDawn March 11, 2014
Yum, can't wait to try this, thanks!
FoodieDawn March 11, 2014
I have oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, walnuts and a banana several times a week for lunch at work. You are blowing my mind here.