Choosing The Best Savory Condiments Can Shake Up Your Baked Oats

Oats have been having a moment lately, but they're certainly nothing new. In fact, humans have been consuming ground oats mixed into a porridge for 30,000 years; as an everyday breakfast cereal, oats have been popular since the 1500s. Whether it was the Romans, the Chinese, the Indians, the Africans, or the Scottish, most of the earliest civilizations were built upon the dependability and nutritiousness of a humble bowl of oatmeal served just the way they liked it: hot and savory. These days, however, your oatmeal can include anything from date syrup to peanut butter or berries to chocolate. While most of us know our go-to sweet additions, the savory oats that nourished our ancestors remain in a department that very much feels like uncharted territory. 

It's the dreaded internal debate you have with yourself every time you're preparing for brunch: Do you go the sweet or savory route? Though rare, there are certain mornings when your double chocolate, brownie-baked oats may not sound appetizing. However, while they may have sustained civilizations for centuries served plain and simple, oats have the incredible ability to pull off both sides of the brunch menu; they just need the best savory condiments to do so. Those condiments play on two things: flavor and texture. So, while you're welcome to stir in whatever leftovers you have from the night before, it's the toppings that will bring your baked oats to life.

Textural and flavorful condiments for savory oats

Savory baked oats can pull off basically anything, and they're a great medium for experimenting with flavor combinations. To achieve flavor from within your baked oats, look to the Chinese porridge known as congee for direction. The combination of miso broth with spices like cumin and coriander provide an umami-rich base for your condiments to play off. Or, go the masala route with garlic, ginger, chili, cardamom, and cinnamon. Then, add whatever leftovers you find inside your fridge. Whether it's cooked greens from the night before, the veggie fajitas you couldn't finish last Taco Tuesday, or the roasted sweet potatoes you brought home from your family's Thanksgiving — whatever works. Still, it's the toppings that bring it all together.

Top your baked oats with a generous drizzle of hot sauce, soy sauce, or even tahini. You can also take inspiration from Morrocan assida by adding a garnish of fresh parsley, a fried egg, and a drizzle of honey. However, it's not all about the flavors of the condiments you choose — it's also about the texture. This makes savory baked oats the perfect opportunity to try smashing your mushrooms rather than slicing them. Crumbled on top, you'll have an incredible textural experience. Toasted nuts, frizzled shallots, crispy bacon, dukkah, za'atar, pomegranate, your trusty everything bagel seasoning, and fried garlic are all options when it comes to achieving the combination of flavors and textures that will shake up your baked oats.