I’m all about savoury oats these days. The inclination to savourize (?) crept in with mushroom congee a few months ago and we’ve been eating it every fortnight since. It might also possibly be one of the nicest things I’ve made this year (along with a mushroom orzo which will make an appearance here shortly). Tall claim I know, but it’s seriously good and the only reason we don’t eat it every week is because I use shiitakes quite liberally in it and my frugal brain cannot handle the anxiety of going through a packet a month.

Rolled oats are best here for texture. Instant oats go to mush. Steel-cut is another good option, only, cooking times will vary; it’ll take longer to cook and also need more water for cooking. Adjust accordingly. I kept the flavours here pretty simple. The idea is to be able to quickly make a batch for breakfast with little to no prior planning. If you’re like me and always have spinach and spring onions lurking about the fridge, you’re in luck. You can have breakfast on the table in 15 mins.

I fry the garlic in ghee here. Ghee has a very distinct flavour and aroma, and blooming the garlic in it intensifies that. Feel free to use oil instead if you prefer. Also, using lemon zest instead of juice gives you the sourness that the dish needs but also freshness. (I’m also really into lemon zest in everything these days.)


Servings: 2 people


  • 1 cup rolled oats (see notes)
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • ½ an onion, finely chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chilli flakes
  • 100 grams spinach, chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon ghee or oil
  • Salt, to taste


  • Heat ghee/oil in a pressure cooker or pot and add the garlic. Fry until lightly browned. It’ll continue to cook as it cools so don’t wait for it to brown too much. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Leave the remaining ghee in the pressure cooker.
  • Sauté the spring onions and onions in the garlic-infused ghee until lightly browned. Add the oats, salt, and chilli flakes and toss to coat.
  • Tip in the spinach and pour in 3 cups of water. Cover and cook to a porridge consistency adding more water if necessary. (If cooking in a pot, check often and add more water if it starts to dry out.)
  • Take off the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide into bowls and top with the fried garlic. Serve hot.


Rolled oats work best here. If you only have instant oats, cook with less water. Instant will also cook a lot quicker. If using steel-cut oats, you may need to add more water and it’ll take longer to cook.


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