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Think Outside the Packet


Think Outside the Packet


Photos Lauren Lee, Words by James Odum


With just a few weeks left before I become a BU alum, I knew my last article for TasteBUds had to be about something I truly love. After thinking long and hard, I realized there is one food that I simply cannot go a day without: oatmeal. I cannot imagine waking up without a heaping bowl of freshly cooked oatmealThere have been days, admittedly, when my bank account has been particularly slim, when I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now if you are a naysayer that sees oatmeal as tasteless and boring, you may wonder how one can possibly get so much pleasure out of oatmeal. Well first off, skip the packaged stuff; it’s loaded with preservatives, unnecessary sugars, and artificial flavors. Plain rolled oats, or even quick oats, are cheaper, healthier, and still only take a few minutes to cook. Over the years I have compiled quite the repertoire of slightly unconventional iterations of the breakfast classic.  Oats are a perfect, and healthy, blank canvas for you to get creative without spending long hours in the kitchen and big money on expensive ingredients. Think outside the packet and make oatmeal all your own.

Savory Oatmeal Ranchero

This recipe was my first test of savory oatmeal and now it is one of my staple dishes. Huevos Rancheros is one of my favorite breakfast dishes, so I just made a few swaps to adapt it for oatmeal. Let this be the starting point for exploring a new side of oatmeal.


½ cup rolled oats 1 cup water Pinch of salt ¼ cup your choice of salsa 1 egg ½ diced avocado


  1. Place oats in a sauce pan and add water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Stir in the salsa. Let simmer and stir occasionally until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Meanwhile fry an egg to your liking.
  4. Once your oatmeal is done, place in a bowl, top with egg and avocado and serve.

Chili Chocolate Oats

This recipe grew out of my recent addiction to spicy dark chocolate bars (offered by brands like Lindt). I had been making this recipe for a long time without chili powder, and it suddenly hit me that the smoky sweetness of chili powder would elevate this to a whole new level.


½ cup of rolled oats 1 cup vanilla almond milk 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tbsp honey or other sweetener 1 tsp chili powder 2 tbsp dried cherries 2 tbsp raisins Handful of chopped roasted almonds Your choice of chopped fresh fruit


  1. Place oats in a sauce pan and add milk, cocoa powder, honey, chili powder, cherries, and raisins. Stir together and make sure all ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to simmer.
  3. Let the mixture simmer and stir occasionally until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Place mixture in a bowl and serve topped with almonds and fresh fruit (I tend to use banana).

Overnight Oats

This recipe is a little more traditional, but innovative in its preparation. It is perfect if you are on-the-go early in the morning and simply don’t have time to cook. Eating it cold is a creamy treat, but you can pop it in the microwave too if you prefer yours heated.


½ cup rolled oats 1 cup vanilla almond milk 2 tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice 1 tbsp honey or other sweetener Pinch of salt ¼ cup raisins Chopped walnuts Diced apple


  1. Place all ingredients in a sealable container and mix well.
  2. Seal the container and place in the fridge. Let sit for at least an hour, or overnight.
  3. After letting the mixture sit, oats should be tender and ready to eat.
  4. Top with nuts and diced apple and enjoy either hot or cold.