Oats for dinner is a nourishing bowl of oats cooked with ginger, chillies and loads of seasonal vegetables, topped with a protein of your choice, to make a fully balanced meal in a bowl
This post was first written in May 2007. I’m surprised that I was eating bowls of oats for breakfast, lunch or dinner even in the days before oatmeal bowls (or meals in bowls in general) became trendy.
Oats, like most other grains is hugely versatile, moving from breakfast to a main meal with much ease. For breakfast, I like my oats made into a thin, runny porridge with milk, some cardamom and powdered jaggery. Thin enough to pour into a mug and sip at leisure. You’ll find a bunch of oats breakfast recipes further down in the post…
For a heavier meal such as a late breakfast / early lunch or dinner, I prefer it like the bowl in this post. This oats for dinner recipe combines oats with 4-5 times the quantity of vegetables. Toasting the oats before preparing this dish ensures that it still retains a texture after cooking and doesn’t turn slimy. Use all the seasonal vegetables you can find in the fridge. You can use a bag of mixed frozen vegetables as a substitute. I insist that you chop up the green chillies, ginger, onion and tomatoes fresh, because these will add a ton of flavour to your nourishing bowl of oats for dinner. Oats can do with that flavour boost to make it appealing to the tastebuds.
As a bonus, I sometimes go ahead and top it with pan fried cubes of paneer (vegans can use tofu). A fried egg on top is also a good option for those who eat eggs. This adds a dash of extra protein to the bowl, keeping you full for longer.
Sprinkling a spoonful of sunflower, pumpkin or chia seeds adds the nourishing element of healthy fats to your bowl, making it a complete meal.
This oats for dinner recipe is very handy when you have to make dinner for one or two people. It is also perfect for a weeknight dinner when you come in tired and are in no mood to make anything elaborate. A regular oats porridge for dinner is not something that floats my boat. Hence this nutritious, filling, Indianised oats porridge, made along the lines of oats upma is my favourite. Trust me, this will end up becoming your go to dinner on busy weeknights.
Some topping ideas for savoury oatmeal bowls
- Pan fried paneer / tofu / halloumi
- Pan fried golden mushrooms
- Fried egg
- Boiled egg, halved and seasoned with salt and pepper
- Chia seeds
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Sunflower / pumpkin seeds
- Pan fried spinach or any other seasonal greens
Oats breakfast recipes
- Healthy breakfast meal planning for the week using oats
- Pumpkin Oats Porridge
- Oats Banana Buttermilk Pancakes
- Spiced chocolate oatmeal
- Savoury baked oats
- Overnight oats – 3 ways
Oats for dinner
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 2-3 green chillies finely chopped
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot finely chopped
- 1/4 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 8-10 green beans finely sliced
- 1 medium tomato finely chopped
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 100 grams paneer cubed
- 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp chia seeds or sesame seeds
- 4 Cherry tomatoes halved
- To prepare these bowls of oats for dinner, start by lightly toast the oats in a frying pan for about 4 minutes, on a medium flame until fragrant. Remove into a dish and keep aside.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tsp coconut oil and add all the tempering ingredients - mustard seeds, urad dal, chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for 1-2 minutes on medium flame until urad dal turns golden brown.
- To this, add all the vegetables except tomatoes and stir on high flame for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and fry for another minute or so.
- Pour in 3 cups water with remaining 1/2 tsp salt and bring this to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce flame and simmer for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are nearly cooked.
- At this point, add the toasted oats, give it a stir to break any lumps, keep the flame on medium to low and cover it with the lid.
- Let this cook for 5 minutes until the oats is cooked and creamy. Divide between two bowls.
- In a small pan, heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil and pan fry the cubes of paneer or tofu until golden on all aside. Remove and divide between the two bowls of oats.
- Sprinkle the seeds over the prepared oats. Serve hot.
- Instead of the toppings, serve with a cup of yogurt to make a complete meal.
- These bowls of oats for dinner are best eaten hot. They don't taste good cold.
- You can get this ready even faster if you use one and half cups of frozen chopped mixed vegetables instead of the ones mentioned.
Originally published on May 01, 2007. Updated with new photos and text.
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errrrrhow does it taste ???
Naditha,This looks delicious, I for one cannot handle oats, but this variation is very tempting.Will surely surely try and let you know how it goes
being health conceous is always good
I have oats often for breakfast (Quaker Oats, not the instant kind, widely available in the Bay Area). Hre are a few additions that work for me:a) Sliced fruits. I add apples and such but if I were in India, it’d be bananas, guavas, papayas, etc., esp something that has some crunch.b) Nuts. I use walnuts and would think (toasted) peanuts would go well too.c) Some folks add a spoon of honey and/or brown sugar and/or a spoon of butter. Thought of avoiding the salt you add?d) I also add some ground flax seed and/or lecithin and/or…
Ooops. I just realised you cook the oats differently than I do. We do it differently here. I just add some water to the oats and microwave it for about 3.5 minutes until it cooks. I then add the (soy)milk, nuts, fruits, etc. outlined in my last comment. Cooking and spicing it up per your recipe will probably produce something closer to upma than what we have customarily. Worth trying though it seems a lot of work. Perhaps weekends can be the Indian style and weekdays the quick kind, either way it’s healthy…
That sounds perfect…I have got soo bored of my usual cooking with milk and adding some sugar…nuts..fruits..none of them held my interest for more than 2 months ! I am going to try your version..it will surely make a yummy light dinner ! Will try your breakfast tip tomorrow.
awesome recipe, wonderfull to try something like upama porridge would love this with this i could avoid the sweet intake with the oats too!Thanks Nandita!
I tried the upma recipe on the Quaker carton and then made this variation myself. We’re thinking on the same lines 🙂 hubby and I both love this oats upma as my husband cannot eat the plain porridge 🙂
Anon- thanks for the variations listJuno- it tastes yummy, trust me and make this once!!Raaga – i forgot to mention that the inspiration did come from the quaker pack 🙂
Nandita, Oats for dinner with veggies, that is a great idea! With your permission, I’d love to include this in the “O of Indian vegetables” this weekend. P.S: My favorite variation of oatmeal: with a touch of honey and a dollop of peanut butter mixed in (idea from Alanna of veggie venture blog).
very different one ..very health dinner .Will surely try it soon
Now this version of oats is something I might could manage in the morning. My hubby eats oats 3 mornings a week, but he puts milk & sugar or butter & sugar on them. I only like savory foods in the morning instead of sweet ones, so I avoid oats. I think I need to try this style of cooking it.
Hmmm… I made some stuff last night… and tried to take some pictures too 🙂 but realized too late when most of the stuff was already in the tummies of hubby dear and my friend from Chennai 🙂 I’ll still put them up 🙂
hi ur blog looks so cool….nice recipes and healthy too…u have lot of information on ur blog…ur blog name “saffron trail” is simply superb.keep going..
What a great idea. We eat savory crepes for dinner–so why not oats?
Oats for dinner, that is so innovative sweety, I don’t normally eat oats, too bland for me, but this sure sounds delicious.
This is like an oats upma! I have to try it!A year ago, I tried coming up with an oats chivda, along the lines of the kachha chivda but it failed miserably. I also think I used the wrong kind of oats. If you have a recipe for oats chivda, please share it!!
When will I take pictures like the ones you do?
First you make gorgeous cheesecakes to die for and then next put us on a health route with oats ..good one
Nice dinner…..Colourful one..
hi ur blog looks so cool….Ill try this….
Hey Nandita,I am typing this as I am digging into my bowl of oats. Wonderful recipe! Hats off! I am very health conscious and do appreciate your wonderful blog. I topped mine with homemade lime pickle and microwaved sago pappad. Absolutely delicious. I will be making this often. Thanks much and keep up the great work.Cheers- Krithika
really a healthy and quick dish ! loved it 🙂 thanks for sharing-Pooja
Wow Nandita, a spectacular idea. I will definitely try it out!Kanchana
HI Nandita, first, thanks for stopping by – you are too kind, very encouraging… i liked this post of yours – Oats is so underestimated and ignored – as you noted, i think it is a great breakfast food. But who has time for breakfast, right? Oats for dinner is wonderful – some tired nights, I either serve oats with veggies porridge-style, or poha with veggies – feels like a sumptuous meal usually 🙂
Hey Nandita…. oats cooked with vegetables sounds really nice. Will definitely try this, especially when i have only little time to prepare dinner.
Hey Nandita :I tried your OATS idea for breakfast. It was awesome. I always have trouble coming up with healthy breakfast ( mainly cos I hate cereals or anything sweet for breakfast)and have little time for making rotis or dosas in the morning. This OATS , frozen peas , in buttermilk was too good. I also added a pinch of hing and had with vadu mango . 🙂 Thank you !
Hi Nandita Absolutely awesome recipe. I never thought of oats in a upma. always thought of oats in sweet breakfast category. I make upma this way with semiya or wheat rawa. will try with oats next time.
Hi Nandita, Nice recipe, I am one who cannot stand milk and sugar, so def the standard version of oats with milk and sugar never even tried. I always make oats with water and salt, then add spicy chutney which ever is available[I guess for me spicy is the the way to go] for breakfast. Will def try the pulao.Thanks,Ekta
Hi Nandita,I regularly visit your blog for recipes and have tried some. They have turned out really good. We usually have soup for dinner and hence I tried this one last night. It was a big hit in my family. My elder one who is an oats fan instantly loved it.Thanks for your healthy recipes!
omg! i do this in half measure for breakfast often! and yes yogurt gives it the zing, or maybe a dash of lemon juice and fresh coriander !Â
Hey,I’m a student in London and I miss my home food form Mumbai!So, tired and hungry at nights, I often look for indian recipies. I am never short of the blunt oats, but this indian style to it is AWESOME! I can’t wait for tomorrow morning! 🙂
AWESOME STUFF, SAFFRON TRAIL !!
A bowl of hearty vegetable oats ..perfect for Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner anytime. Thank u for this awesome recipe.
Please visit my blog as well. I post delicious Indian recipes like we cook in Bengali Household. You wont be disappointed!.