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Vegan savoury oatmeal breakfast with mixed spices

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 30 minutes
serves 4 people

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi
Words by Amandine Paniagua

Published July 31 2023


Porridge base
2 tbsp olive oil
80 grams ginger, peeled and grated
1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
2 cups oats
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
cracked pepper
Umami butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp shichimi togarashi
50 grams vegan butter, cold, roughly cut into cubes
To Serve
1 tbsp olive oil
12 spring onions, cut in half lengthways
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
scrambled tofu


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ginger and crushed garlic, and cook for approximately 15 min, stirring often so the mixture does not stick to the pan. Once the ginger and garlic are golden and crispy, set aside ⅔ for topping later, and leave the rest in the pot.

Pour the oats into the pot, add water, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for approximately 4 more minutes, until the oats reach a soft, creamy consistency. Add water if you wish the oats to be more liquid. Set aside, covered.

Meanwhile, prepare the umami melted butter. Combine the soy sauce and shichimi togarashi in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, and with the help of a whisk, incorporate the vegan butter, a handful at a time. Wait for it to be just melted before adding the next batch. Keep the mixture homogeneous, and avoid boiling the liquid, or it will split. Once done, remove from the heat and transfer into a jar.

To prepare the toppings. In a bowl, toss together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cut spring onion and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat a pan over high heat, then place half of the spring onions and cook, turning the spring onions a few times for approximately 3 minutes, until the stalks are soft and lightly charred at the green ends. Repeat for the other half and set aside, covered.

Using silken tofu for the best consistency, prepare the scrambled tofu following our recipe here. For homemade sauerkraut, it is here.

To serve, divide the oatmeal between bowls, and top with spring onions, scrambled tofu and sauerkraut. Drizzle the melted umami butter, and enjoy!

This oatmeal will keep up for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

If you are looking for a different vegan savoury oatmeal breakfast with mixed spices, look no further, as your quest is over. Here we have made Ottolenghi’s savoury porridge published in the Guardian vegan, with a personal twist—our version is as flavourful and so umami and satisfying that it gets addictive. It is a versatile dish, perfect for any time of the day, spoon-snacking, breakfast, lunch or dinner, easy to make and long-lasting in the fridge. You’ll want to make it now!

When the idea of a new savoury breakfast bowl emerged, Trace came across Ottolenghi’s, and we immediately loved the luxury, the fineness aspect of it, from the burnt spring onions and umami butter. In our version, we switched the egg with our forever scrambled tofu, made with silken tofu and tons of kala namak salt, and we spiced up the umami butter with a high dose of shichimi togarashi. We also topped the whole dish with nutritious homemade sauerkraut, as this acid-taste, fermented food pairs so well with umami flavours.

The first time we prepared this dish, it was a bet, as you never know in advance what it will do to a recipe to switch ingredients. In addition, preparing this vegan savoury oatmeal breakfast with mixed spices, without requiring a chef’s skills, is an occasion to learn some easy cooking tips, such as how to burn the spring onion leaves nicely, adding another layer of flavours to the dish. The overall result was so delicious, from the subtle ginger-garlic taste to the buttery soy sauce-shichimi togarashi, the softness of the oats and scrambled tofu and the crisp acidic flavour of the sauerkraut; we couldn’t believe how pairing simple ingredients like these could result in such a bright, tasty food—this is the cooking we love here.

Health benefits of vegan spiced savoury oatmeal

We are crazy about oats here, and we love this oatmeal breakfast with mixed spices as it is a different way to prepare simple yet nutritious food. In terms of essential nutrients, oats per se are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Here they are cooked, which also helps release extra nutrients and improve oats digestion by the body. Combining ginger, garlic and spring onions brings additional health benefits, from boosting immunity to improving the digestive system. And the fermented sauerkraut and soy sauce supplement this dish with probiotics for better gut health and additional vitamins C and K, folate and iron for overall body health.

What is Shichimi Togarashi?

Shichimi togarashi is a traditional spice mix created around the seventeenth century in Japan, with notable flavours of citrus and seaweed. It is usually made of a combination of seven ingredients—nori algae, dried red chilli and sansho capsicum, sesame seeds, ginger, citrus peel and poppy or hemp seeds. Umami at its finest, shichimi togarashi is also packed with antioxidants, fibre, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamins A, C and E, for powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

The original recipe called for chilli flakes, but we preferred to replace it with shichimi togarashi for more flavour. I discovered this spice mix from Japan through food writer Alicia Kennedy, who suggested using it instead of salt, mixed in raw cabbage. Since then, I have been sprinkling this delicious spice blend on all my dishes, and that vegan savoury oatmeal breakfast with mixed spices couldn’t be an exception.

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