Oats in Many Variations – A Kitchen Staple

Oatmeal comes in many shapes and sizes, from handy packets that make a single serving of porridge to large flakes.  Steel cut oats, which are not rolled, are considered to be less processed than rolled oats.  From a nutritional standpoint, they are quite similar but be aware that instant oat products have added sodium (650 mg per 100 g compared with 10 mg per 100 g for quick oats).  Some instant oats also have added sugars and flavourings.   Steel cut oats take longer to cook but do have a slightly low glycemic index, although all oat products are in the 40 to 50 range.  (For more information on glycemic index, check the Pure Prairie Eating Plan, page 87.)


Most people eat oats for breakfast or in desserts.  A dinner at the Three Boars restaurant in Edmonton (http://www.threeboars.ca) inspired me to try it as a savory addition to dinner recently.  For inspiration, an internet search yielded some choices that sounded interesting.  Here is what I ended up making:


Steel Cut Oats Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms
Serves 4, about 1 cup (250 mL)

Risottos are a nice variation on the rice theme – try making them with medium grain rice, barley or … steel cut oats.  Add whatever combination of vegetables you have on hand.  To make this a complete meal, add chickpeas, chicken breast or strips of lean steak (4 oz or 100 g per person) and serve with a fresh green salad and a cup of milk.



5-1/2 cups (1375 mL) low sodium chicken stock

2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter

½ onion, diced

2 cups (500 mL) mushrooms, halved

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp (5 mL) ground dried sage

1/4 cup (60 mL) dry white wine (optional)

1 cup (250 mL) steel cut oats

¼ cup (60 mL) sundried tomatoes, cut in strips

2 Tbsp (30 mL) grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In medium saucepan with lid, heat stock over medium heat until simmering, then reduce heat to low and keep covered.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, garlic, thyme and sage; cook 7 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are very deeply browned, stirring frequently. Add wine (or ¼ cup (60 mL) broth), cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add oats; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 2 ladles of hot stock, cook until oats have absorbed almost all of the liquid. From this point, you’ll just continue adding stock, 1 ladle at a time, and stirring. You do NOT need to stand and stir constantly, but you should stir frequently. The oats should take about 25 minutes to cook (taste to make sure they are tender). You should have enough stock (be sure to keep the lid on it when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t evaporate!), but if you run out before the oats are tender, just add some water.

4.   To finish, stir in sundried tomatoes, garnish with parsley and cheese.


Nutritional Profile per serving

Calories – 358; Carbohydrate 38 g;,Fat 14 g, Saturated fat 5.9 g, Protein 18 g, Fibre 4.0 g


Canada’s Food Guide servings

Vegetables and Fruit 1.5, Grains 1


This recipe was adapted from: