las islas galápagos /// savory stovetop oats (vegan + gluten free)

Five years ago I had the opportunity to travel (for a hefty price tag) to the Galápagos Islands (with a layover in Quito) on a trip organized by my high school biology teacher. The cost was the major deterrent there, and I chose not to go, since a year living in Europe was higher on my priority list than a week spent on the equator. Back then, I never imagined that half a decade later I would be living in Quito and having the opportunity to experience all that Ecuador has to offer.

But after working my ass off in the food service industry (restaurants are my own personal form of hell) for two summers in a row and saving almost everything, I finally made it to the Galápagos (and to be honest, I got back a month ago… so this is a little late. But then my parents came to visit! And then one of my best friends went home early. Life. It happens).

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There’s rain almost every day in Quito and thunderstorms nearly as much (and every once in a while, hail). I’ve missed cold weather this year, but now that spring has arrived back in my native corner of the globe I’m appreciating the moderate climate more than I did last fall. I like starting off sunny mornings hiking in the forest behind my house before the downpour starts in the afternoon, when all I want to do then is curl up with a book or Netflix (D.H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow, Grey’s Anatomy (HOLY SHIT is all I’m gonna say), and Glee, to be specific. And it’s totally normal that I started Glee a little more than a week ago and I’m almost done with season 4. No judging- I’ve had a lot of free time lately. Oh, and I’m in love with Cory Monteith).

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So savory oatmeal bowls. The idea? Comes from a night (at this point about two months ago) when I was home alone, it was a little late, and all I wanted was carbs. Does that ever happen to you? Don’t demonize it, go for it. I’m all about that healthy whole-food-high-carbohydrate-fruit-and-vegetable heavy lifestyle. Except there were no leftovers, rice takes too long to cook, and I also really wanted mac and cheese (vegan, duh). But I didn’t have any pasta or cashews or even any non dairy milk on hand. The only thing quick and healthful in the pantry was oatmeal. And I thought, savory cheezy oatmeal bowl. GENIUS, am I right?

So google told me that yes, savory oats are a thing (which I guess means I’m not such a genius after all). But most recipes I saw had cheese or bacon or egg or something else nasty like that because the majority of the world’s population has not yet caught on to the amazingness that is veganism. So I went to the kitchen, risked peril lighting the stove, and threw some things in a pot. And I really liked it. And then decided, savory oats should not just be limited to cheezy soup. So here I give you single serving savory oats, three ways.

CHEEZY SOUP

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free instant oats
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • approx. 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • crumbled dried basil, to taste
  • crumbled dried oregano, to taste
  • fresh cilantro, to taste

Combine all ingredients and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes

INDIAN CURRY

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free instant oats
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil to a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the garlic, wait until it starts sizzling (yes that’s a technical term), then add the onions and saute for approximately 5 minutes on medium heat, until they start to turn translucent. Add all other ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes.

Note: The amount of curry powder in the recipe creates a very strong dish, so if you’re sensitive to that you may want to start off with less and increase to your liking.

AFRICAN PEANUT SOUP 

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup diced purple onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free instant oats
  • 1/4 cup creamy, room temperature all natural peanut butter
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • cilantro, to taste
  • cayenne pepper/tiny bit fresh chopped jalapeño OR add hot sauce
  • optional additional vegetables: sliced mushrooms, chopped bell pepper

Add the olive oil and garlic to a saucepan and place on medium high heat. When the garlic starts sizzling, add the onions and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to turn translucent. While waiting for the onions chop the tomato and celery. When the onions are starting to change color, add the tomato, celery, and if using, mushroom and bell pepper. Let that cook briefly, about two minutes. Then add the water and oats, stir to combine, and immediately afterwards the peanut butter. You will have to stir this thoroughly for a few minutes to ensure the peanut butter disperses throughout. At this point, the oatmeal will need to cook for 5-10 minutes, until everything looks like mush basically (doesn’t that sound appealing?) Within this time add the lime juice, and if using, salt, pepper, cilantro, and cayenne pepper or chopped jalapeño and stir thoroughly. If you don’t have cayenne pepper or fresh jalapeños, you can do what I did, which is either add hot sauce while its cooking or afterwards to taste.

I realize its a bit strange not to have pictures of food on a food blog, but…. while savory oatmeal bowls may be delicious, they aren’t exactly pleasing to the eye. Trust your tastebuds with these ones, not your eyes. 

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One comment

  1. Interesting images.

    Liked by 1 person

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