Savory oatmeal with shiitake "bacon" and spinach

By • March 21, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Breakfast is easily my favorite meal of the day because it can be just about anything, sweet or savory, without repercussions. Lunch and dinner are solidly in savory territory, but breakfast can swing either way, from french toast to leftover chinese food, depending on what one feels like eating first thing in the morning.

This oatmeal with spinach and shiitake "bacon" is perfect for days when I want something savory and a little salty for breakfast. It's quick and easy (not much harder, really, than just making plain old oatmeal-I promise!) and quite delicious. The spinach and mushroom topping also makes a nice side dish for other times of day; I imagine it would be good on grits, too, instead of oatmeal, but I didn't have any in the house. If you're one of those people who needs a bit more protein to start the day, a fried egg on top would not go amiss. The recipe can easily be scaled for more servings if you've got friends or family to feed.

To make this vegan, sub olive oil or coconut oil for the butter; if you want it to be gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats.


Serves 1

  • 1/3 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 5 good-sized shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 generous teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach
  • salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon (to taste)
  1. First, prep the vegetables: wash and dry the spinach, and make sure the shiitakes are clean. Then, stem the mushrooms and slice the caps into ~1/4" thick slices.
  2. Put the oats in a small pot with 2/3 cup water, a tiny pinch of salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Set the pot over medium heat and let it come to a boil while you start the mushrooms.
  3. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Keep an eye on the oats while you do this: when they boil, give them a stir and turn them down to a simmer.
  4. Add the soy sauce to the softening mushrooms and stir to make sure all the slices get coated. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the mushrooms for another minute, then add the spinach. You're watching the oats, right? Stir them occasionally to make sure they don't stick to the bottom.
  5. Saute the spinach and mushrooms until the spinach is just wilted. Use the spinach and the liquid it releases to deglaze the pan a bit-get all the soy sauce that cooked onto the pan, onto your greens, for easier cleaning and maximum deliciousness. When the spinach has barely wilted, turn the heat off under the veggies and check the oatmeal. If it needs another minute, the veggies can just wait for it, but it should be basically done. Scoop the oats into a bowl, top with the spinach and mushrooms, and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top to brighten it up.

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