Oatmeal takes on Mexican flavors in this hearty, savory breakfast bowl.
When you’re a parent, especially of young, tantrummy toddlers, the three sweetest words in the English language are kid-free weekend. A couple of blissful days and nights away, trying to recapture your less responsible, more fun self. Or at the very least, catch up on some sleep. When our boys were at that especially
annoying cute stage, we took the first of what would become an annual trip to Austin to meet up with our friends at the Austin City Limits music festival. No diapers, no whining and no one’s food to cut up but my own.
That first trip was a much needed respite and I continue to look forward to these weekends more than my kids look forward to their birthdays and Christmas combined. We spend our days bopping from stage to stage checking out the bands on the festival grounds and our evenings in the bars doing the same thing. And in between we’re eating all of the best food that Austin has to offer…barbecued brisket, tacos and nachos, juicy fried chicken and ridiculously decadent donuts. (We worry about unclogging our arteries when we come back to reality.)
Breakfast is probably my favorite meal in Austin and I eschew anything sweet in favor of spicy Mexican flavors. It’s hard to choose between breakfast tacos slathered in salsa and guacamole or migas, a cheesey, eggy scramble mixed with fried tortilla scraps and (for me) a handful of chopped jalepenos and a splash of hot sauce. But more often than not, huevos rancheros usually wins out since I love mopping up that runny egg yolk with crispy tortillas and dunking them into spicy tomato sauce.
When we do return to everyday life, back to alarm clocks, packed lunches and laundry piles, I sometimes cook up a little something inspired by our trip. I forgo the fried tortillas and find a healthier way to enjoy the flavors of my favorite Mexican breakfasts. And yes, there are ways to make it hearty, satisfying and healthy.
This Mexican breakfast bowl is all about the layering of flavors. I start with a scoop of nutty, creamy steel cut oats and top it with fresh guacamole, black beans, salsa, a spoonful of shredded cheese and cilantro. And of course, a fried egg with that perfectly runny yolk. Now you might be thinking….oatmeal and guacamole? And my answer is a resounding yes. Steel cut oats have this nutty flavor and slightly chewier texture that lend itself well to savory preparations. They are also filling, high in fiber and low in cholesterol. I honestly don’t even miss the tortillas.
The great thing about a breakfast bowl is you can really make it your own. You can skip the cheese, use a different bean, make your own salsa or pico de gallo or opt for your favorite store brand. For me the guacamole is a must, but avocado slices work nicely here too. Just pile on your favorite toppings, grab a spoon and dig in. Yes, this breakfast bowl is definitely a grown-up, responsible version of my tex-mex favorites, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. I’m just saving up my debauchery points for that next kid-free getaway, which (don’t tell my boys), can’t get here soon enough.
- 1 portion of steel cut oatmeal prepared using McCann's Quick Soak Method
- 1/2 avocado diced
- 1/2 lime juiced
- splash of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper
- 1/4 plum tomato seeded and diced or 5 grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1 Tbsp cilantro minced
- 1 Tbsp scallion chopped
- 1/4 cup black beans warmed
- 1/4 cup salsa or pico de gallo
- 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 egg cooked sunny side up, over-easy or poached
- hot sauce to taste
- salt and pepper
- *2 tsp cilantro minced, for garnish
Heat one portion steel cut oatmeal over low heat and season with salt.
Prepare guacamole by combining the avocado, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, tomato, cilantro and scallions in a small bowl. Combine into a coarse mash with a fork.
Scoop oatmeal into a bowl and top with 1/4 cup guacamole (press plastic wrap on the surface of the remaining guacamole and store in the frig for later.)
Top the oatmeal with the additional toppings: beans, cheese, egg, hot sauce, salt, pepper and cilantro.