A simple, and simply delicious, way to enjoy your favorite steel cut oats: as a nutty, risotto-like pilaf! Made with only 4 ingredients, it is healthy, fast (soak the oats ahead of time), vegan, gluten-free, and endlessly variable.
My meal planning–or lack of it– this week serves as illustration of my trick for overcoming the occasional, yet acute, case of dinner-prep inertia: focus on the sides.
When strapped for ideas for a main dish, I concentrate on accompaniments and let the rest follow. It’s liberating and satisfying, and solves the problem most every time.
This approach also helps me use up the bits and bobs I have on hand. For example, two bags of steel cut oats in my freezer. Which led to the making of one of my favorite, simple, healthy side dishes: Steel Cut Oats Pilaf.
To make my essential version, you need nothing more than 4 ingredients (plus water and salt): steel cut oats, an onion, mixed dried herbs (I used herbes de Provence), and a bit of oil.
This dish comes together in minutes, but you do need to plan ahead because you need to soak the oats for at least 4 hours, or overnight. It’s an easy step, you just have to remember to do it :).
Following the soak, 1 cup of oats plumps up to 2 and 1/3 cups of oats:
All that remains is to sauté the (chopped) onion in oil, then add the herbs, salt, drained oats and an additional 2/3 cup water. Cook and stir the oats for about 5 to 6 minutes until the water is absorbed and the oats are tender.
The resulting dish is almost risotto-like in texture, with a wonderful nutty texture. It is so good! Plus, you can make this multiple ways by changing and or adding to the vegetables (e.g., chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, dried fruit), playing with the herbs and spices, or swapping the water for other liquids, such as broth, wine, or cider.
Oh, and the leftovers are smashing, too! You may want to double (or triple) the recipe so that you have leftovers for lunches.
A simple, and simply delicious, way to enjoy your favorite steel cut oats: as a nutty, risotto-like pilaf! Made with only 4 ingredients (plus water & salt) , it is healthy, fast (soak the oats ahead of time), vegan, gluten-free, and endlessly variable.
- 1 cup (176 g) steel cut oats (certified gluten-free, as needed)
- water for soaking
- 2 teaspoons oil of choice (I used olive oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons herbes de Provence (or dried Italian herbs)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Place the oats in a medium bowl. Fill bowl with water, enough to cover oats by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Soak for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain the oats.
Heat the oil in a medium-large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes until golden brown.
Add the drained oats, herbs, water and salt to the skillet. Cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes until the water is absorbed and the oats are tender. Serve.
Storage: Store the cooled pilaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Serving Size: 3/4 cup
- Calories: 157
- Sugar: 1.2 g
- Sodium: 146.2 mg
- Fat: 3.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 29.4 g
- Fiber: 4.5 g
- Protein: 6.3 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: steel cut oats, sidedish, 4 ingredients