I just had a birthday. And you know what that means? Total life evaluation! I mean, not really, but kinda. One thing that I reflected on was my health and my diet. I do love delicious food, and I do have a cooking channel on YouTube, but I do, as my metabolism slowly grinds to a halt, need to be more conscious of what I put into my body. At least a little bit more than I am now.

I’m not saying that I’m going on a diet, or that I’m going to give up a ton of things that I love. But I do need to just be more conscientious when it comes to “sometimes foods”, and only eat them sometimes.

A viewer had commented on a YouTube video that I should make more S.O.S. free (salt, oil and sugar free) recipes on my channel, and I was not necessarily opposed to the idea, but I saw it as a direction that I didn’t necessarily want to take my channel, and a lifestyle that I wasn’t necessarily interested in exploring. However, on a whim, I purchased the Kindle version of the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann and Jane Esselstyn so I could give some of the recipes a shot.

Overall, the recipes in the book seemed simple and easy to prepare, using healthy whole food ingredients. I made a few things from the book, and although I thought they were good, I did think that they could use just a pinch of salt.

That was until I tried the Savory Smoky Oats recipe. I made it once, and fell instantly in love. The flavors were slightly muted compared to the heavily salted and processed foods I loved, but it wasn’t necessarily the flavor that I fell for, but the texture.

I was obsessed with the bite that the steel cut oats provided. They only cooked for about 10 minutes so they remained al dente while while not feeling under-cooked. The oats also released a bunch of starch into the dish, so here you had this creamy base with these chewy bits, that just hit the spot for me. And then there were the greens. I had originally made them with kale, and that added another layer of texture and flavor to the dish.

From the first bite, I was hooked.I honestly couldn’t wait until the next morning to make them again.

And that got me thinking: What else could I do with these oats? They were a game changer! I felt like I had discovered a new medium; a new ingredient with limitless possibilities.

That next day I added some garbanzo beans, and I fell even more in love with the dish. The third time I played with the spices a bit, added curry powder and tomato paste along with the garbanzo beans, and I was blown away by how satisfying it was.

What if I used a different type of bean? What could I do with black beans? Would a chili flavor work…? I did!

What about a risotto? I experimented with Italian flavors and mushrooms, and that recipe too impressed me.

Long story long, I’m obsessed. I’ve eaten these every day for the past week, and I still look forward them the next morning. I never really loved oatmeal, but these are nothing like oatmeal. You would never know they are made out of the same grain.

Give these recipes a try, or experiment with your own flavor combinations. The ratio is simple: ½ cup of steel cut oats, 1 ½ cups of liquid, seasonings, , bring to a boil, and then simmer on low for 10 minutes. Done.

Full recipes are linked below:

Savory Mushroom Risotto Oats

Savory Curried Chickpea Oats

Savory Black Bean Chili Oats