While oats are usually associated with breakfast or baking, their potential can reach far beyond that when your original plan goes awry. Searching in vain through cupboards for arborio rice, steel cut oats became the unlikely hero in this ‘risotto’, which uses a favourite kitchen hack of ours – the no-stir method.

Originally purchased with the intent of adding new and inspired breakfast items to our repertoire, the steel cut oats had been tossed aside in favour of our Four Ingredient Breakfast for On-The-Go because who has the headspace to get experimental in the morning? THANK GOD because these oats (and a little inspiration from Ottolenghi) ended up saving the day.

You can use arborio rice or pearl barley instead if you like, but we do have a soft spot for oats as they’re packed full of soluble fibre, plant protein, vitamins and minerals and help to control blood glucose and cholesterol. Add them to your shopping list!

You will need

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 250g steel cut oats (or arborio rice/pearl barley)
  • 700ml passata
  • 700ml vegetable/chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Marinated Feta
  • Fresh herbs for serving (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you do

Heat the oven to 160℃ fan assisted. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan with a lid (we use our trusty Le Creuset) then add the chopped celery, carrots, onions and garlic (we whizz our veg in a food processor to save time). Cook over a low heat until the vegetables are soft then add the steel cut oats (or rice) and stir for a minute. Add the passata, stock, bay leaf, thyme, paprika and lemon zest and bring to the boil. Stir then cover with a lid and place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the oats are tender and the risotto is nice and thick. You may have to add more water after 30 minutes or so if too dry. Serve with crumbled marinated feta and fresh herbs of your choice (we used fresh tarragon).

Tell us, readers… do you have a favourite savoury oat recipe? 

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Dinner, Kitchen Hacks, Lunchbox, One Pot, Rice, Grains & Pulses, Vegetarian


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