Peas Porridge Hot (And Other Yummy Ideas for Topping Your Oats)

April 3, 2019
Peas Porridge Hot (And Other Yummy Ideas for Topping Your Oats) - Between the cooking liquid and plenty of toppings, your oatmeal can be straight-up dreamy

I’ve been making oatmeal the same way for as long as I can remember

Photo Credit: Children's World

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bringing four cups of liquid and a pinch of salt, to a low boil.  Stirring in a cup of steel cut oats, lowering the heat so the pot is barely simmering, and letting it go for roughly half an hour until the cereal has thickened.

If I'm in the mood for something savory, I'll use a combination of water and stock (chicken or veggie).  Something sweet?  Half milk/half water

It definitely gets the job done and has the benefit of being easy to make.  My oatmeal was good (I originally typed my oatmeal was food), and that's also true, but after reading Martha Rose Shulman's version, featured in The New York Times a decade ago, it was even better

Hers starts with the simplest and smartest of ideas .. toasting the oats in butter beforehand

This definitely adds a step, but one that isn't particularly difficult or time-consuming.  The oats are toasted while waiting for the pot to come to a boil.  You'll know they're ready when the kitchen smells like the most incredible shortbread is ready to emerge from the oven

It feels rich and satisfying.  One might even call it luxurious, a word that I'm not sure was ever intended for oatmeal.  After a few months of daily experimenting, might I offer some recommendations of things top it with?

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A Formula (Of Sorts)

I've discovered one winning (and repeatable) combination is seeds + nuts + spice+ fruit + other.

So, for example, in the fall I might do a walnut + flaxseed + pumpkin pie spice blend + apple + coconut flakes. Or maybe I’d do hazelnuts + sunflower seeds + five-spice blend + apples + cranberries.  Or chopped apples + raisins + slivered almonds + chia seeds + cinnamon

On your grocery list, just make sure you have a little something from each of the categories

On the Sweeter Side

Bananas + pecans + pinch of cinnamon + sprinkling of natural sugar (or a drizzle of honey)

Banana Bread Oatmeal – Add chopped bananas before heating, stir in cinnamon, natural sugar and a splash of vanilla.  Top with walnuts or almonds.  So, so good(!)

Strawberries + honey + buttermilk

Blueberries + sour cream

Peaches + a splash of cream

Tip:  If you're a frozen fruit lover (like me), chop it up and add it to your oatmeal before heating (or reheating)

Instead of fruit, a spoonful of your favorite fruit preserves (like Trader Joe's fig butter)

Honey + cinnamon + a sprinkling of brown sugar

Raisins + cinnamon + maple syrup (or brown sugar).  A combo that reminds me of rice pudding. Yum!

Maple syrup

Apple sauce + plain yogurt

Goat cheese + apple slices

Chopped dates and slivered almonds

Delicious (not so nutritious) Nutella

Peas Porridge Hot (And Other Yummy Ideas for Topping Your Oats) - Between the cooking liquid and plenty of toppings, your oatmeal can be straight-up dreamy

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Cocoa Oatmeal

For a More Nuanced Sweetness

Dates are a great substitute for sugar.  Before adding the oats, finely chop them and simmer with milk in the saucepan.  They'll dissolve to sweeten the milk.  Absolutely delicious

There's also date syrup, agave, or flavored honey.  (Over the holidays, Trader Joe's offered a honey sampler.  I really hope they'll bring it back.  So, so good!)

Veggies like carrots that are naturally sweet and can be turned into a bowl of Carrot Cake Oatmeal

On Channeling Your Inner Elvis

Peanut butter + bananas

Peanut butter + banana + walnuts + mini chocolate chips

Peanut butter + bacon + maple syrup

Peanut butter + jelly – a spoonful on opposite sides of the bowl will let you mix and match as you go.  Not to mention it's far > than any PB & jelly sandwich you've ever had

(Substitute your favorite nut butter in any of the above)

Photo Credit: Messy Nessy

Off the Beaten Path

Greek yogurt – The mix of hot and cold, sweet and sour is hard to beat.  Add some walnuts + honey and happiness ensues

Cottage cheese – It's a wonderful filler, pumps up the protein, and makes it creamy to boot. Even if you aren't fond of plain cottage cheese, I bet you'll love it in oatmeal

Cereal – A handful of a crunchy cluster cereal (like Kashi) or even granola really adds variety.  You can include it early on to soften up, or just before serving if you're partial to the crunch

Trail Mix – There are so many great blends that already have a mix of fruits, nuts, and seeds.  It's also a time and money saver, vs buying all of the ingredients separately

Protein Powder – A scoop + a spoonful of nut butter will keep you going all morning long

Peas Porridge Hot (And Other Yummy Ideas for Topping Your Oats) - Between the cooking liquid and plenty of toppings, your oatmeal can be straight-up dreamy

Garlicky Greens with Mushrooms and Oats


Instead of sweet, how about something different?  Savory oatmeal might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but if Mark Bittman approves, it must be pretty good

Tahini & honey is a classic combo.  And if you'd like to take it a step further, adding miso definitely takes up a notch

Jammy eggs + kimchi

Cooked and mashed winter squash (pumpkin, butternut, etc.) seasoned with cinnamon, allspice, and cloves

Salsa and cheese

A creamy cheese, like Laughing Cow wedges or even Trader Joe's goat cheese.  (Not the chevre, but instead, the little blue packets displayed next to the regular cream cheese) A tiny bit adds creaminess and lets you go sweet or savory with the other ingredients

My son swears by shiitake mushrooms + green onions + a spoonful of good miso paste + a fried/poached egg.  I'm pretty sure he's onto something

For those (like me) who addicted to Everything Bagel Seasoning.  Add a few shakes + a spoonful of cream cheese for a bowl of oatmeal that tastes like your favorite bagel

Oats + cheddar cheese + canned tuna + a pinch of salt tastes surprisingly like tuna mac. Throw in some broccoli and it’s even better(!)

When in Doubt, Put An Egg On Top!

Fried eggs – Sure, the white adds some interest but the real joy is the yolk, ideally soft, which creates gooey goodness when mixed with the oats

Crack an Egg – directly into your bowl of hot oatmeal and whip with a fork.  It will cook right into the oats and become nearly invisible

Scrambled or Poached – with some grated Parmesan + a few grinds of black pepper

Scrambled – with diced ham + a dash of hot sauce

Photo Credit: Macheesmo

Other Savory Flavor Ideas

Look toward your favorite risotto recipes. Risotto is basically a fancy rice porridge, and most combinations that work in risotto will be great with oats (or other grains)

Treat oatmeal as though it were a baked potato.  Maybe some cheese + chives + sour cream?  Or bacon bits + a tiny pat of butter + a few grinds of black pepper

Restaurant Menus

Are some of the most inspiring places for ideas.  Certainly, there is your Sunday breakfast spot,  or if you're lucky enough to live near a place that caters to oatmeal lovers



Peas Porridge Hot


  • 1 cup veggie broth (or chicken broth or water)
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup steel cut oats
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of peas
  • ½ - 1 cup diced ham
  • ½ cup cheese + more for topping
  • crispy fried onions


  • In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the stock and a pinch of salt to a low boil
  • Stir in the oats and lower the heat so the pot is barely simmering
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 - 30 minutes, until the oats are soft and have thickened
  • Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed
  • Remove from heat, add the peas, diced ham, and cheese
  • Top with extra shredded cheese and crispy fried onions
Nutrition + Show
Calories 410
Total Fat 20.1g
Carbohydrates 42.9g
Fiber 8.2g
Sugars 6.3g
Protein 19.1g
Print This Recipe

— — —


~ Adapted from Forks Over Knives

Oats with Garlicky Greens and Mushrooms


  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chopped spinach, or other greens
  • 1 Tbsp clarified butter
  • 6-8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ tsp dried mustard
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • shredded Parmesan cheese


  • In a medium saucepan, bring the veggie broth and basil to a boil
  • Stir in the oats
  • Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand (** Note, don't be afraid to add more broth if they seem dry for how you like to eat them)
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter and mushrooms, cooking until they're cooked down a bit (5-8 minutes)
  • Remove from the pan and set aside
  • To the skillet add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent, adding a tablespoon or two of water at a time to prevent sticking
  • Add the garlic and cook a minute more
  • Add the greens, dry mustard, and smoked paprika
  • Cook 3-5 minutes, or until the greens have wilted
  • Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper
  • Spoon the oats into bowls, add the greens and mushrooms
  • Top with shredded Parmesan
Nutrition + Show
Calories 285
Total Fat 9.2g
Carbohydrates 39g
Fiber 6.6g
Sugars 5.1g
Protein 14.4g
Print This Recipe

— —

~ Adapted from Taste of Home

Peanut Butter + Cocoa + Banana Oatmeal


  • 1 cup milk (regular or plant-based)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • salt, to taste

  • Toppings
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1 Tbsp milk (regular or plant-based)


  • In a saucepan over medium heat, bring milk, water, and a pinch of salt to a low boil
  • Stir in the oats, mashed banana, cocoa powder, and cinnamon
  • Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Remove from the heat, cover and let stand 2-3 minutes
  • Spoon the oats into bowls and top with sliced banana
  • In a small bowl, which the peanut butter and milk; drizzle over the top
  • Sprinkle with additional cinnamon
Serves: 1
Nutrition + Show
Calories 385
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 3.2g
Cholesterol 9.8mg
Carbohydrates 67.7g
Fiber 9g
Sugars 24.1g
Protein 13g
Print This Recipe


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1 Comment

  • Reply Restaurants in Baguio by Mae April 10, 2019 at 1:10 am

    5 stars
    This looks very delicious and yummy. Perfect for the cold weather here in the city of pines and also for breakfast. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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