the taste space

Savoury Oatmeal with Soy Sauce and Nutritional Yeast

Posted in Breakfasts by janet @ the taste space on May 16, 2011

My mom recently forwarded an article to me.

“Study finds vegetarians have smaller brains” screamed the headline with a link to this article in Neurology from 2008.

Gosh, do I need to bemoan how media misconstrues academic research? The article had nothing to do with vegetarian diets, rather it investigated the effect of vitamin B12 levels in the elderly and its association with brain volume.  Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in the elderly due to many reasons, and can be a reversible cause of dementia.

However, I understand my mom’s concern. Vegans need to understand which nutrients are harder to come by without consuming meat and dairy. There are actually a few, but vitamin B12 deficiency can become problematic since you can only acquire it from meat and dairy, unless you obtain it from a fortified food.

A good source of vitamin B12 for vegans is nutritional yeast, which is fortified with vitamin B12.   While I first used nutritional yeast to make a creamy zucchini and basil soup, I hadn’t really discovered its prowess until recently.

Nutritional yeast is not nearly as scary as it sounds. Its name is true though: it is a nutritional boon for B vitamins and it is an inactive yeast, harvested from beetroot and molasses. Known as a vegan source of vitamin B12, it is also a great source of protein and fiber. It has a distinctive cheesy flavour, that I have grown to love, although you may need to warm up to it. It has that kind of ‘health food’ flavour for the uninitiated but if paired well with other ingredients, it can really shine. You should be able to find it easily in any health food store.

While I love my breakfasts to feature all kinds of fruit, I have recently been smitten by savoury oats for breakfast. Playing around with different combinations with my big batch of weekly oats, this has been my recent favourite: steel-cut oats with soy sauce and nutritional yeast. Simple, quick, healthy and a nice change of pace for breakfast.


This is my submission to this month’s Breakfast Club, featuring savoury vegetarian breakfasts.

Savoury Oatmeal with Soy Sauce and Nutritional Yeast

1/4 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water (or vegetable broth)
dash of salt
1 tsp Japanese soy sauce (I prefer this to tamari)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast steel cut oats until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Do not let it burn!

2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil with the salt. I find the oats to be done toasting when my water begins to boil.

3. Add oats to boiling water. Cover and turn heat down to low; allow the oats to cook for 40 minutes.

4. When creamy and smooth, drizzle with soy sauce and top with nutritional yeast. Or mix it all together for some cheesy goodness. :)

Serves 1 – can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled!

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19 Responses

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  1. Sissi said, on May 16, 2011 at 7:24 AM

    Your breakfast looks so yummy! If I have a breakfast, I only have a savoury one. My beloved breakfast is miso soup with tofu, whatever the season. Nourishing, very light and healthy (especially if I use low-sodium miso).
    I have no idea what nutritious yeast is! must check it one day in my organic shop. When I was a teenager I remember doctors advising drinking fresh yeast diluted with water to stop spots. Actually it didn’t taste bad!
    I always approach the research (even made by the most serious institutions) with a lot of suspicion. For example the studies showing alcohol is bad even in small amounts were conducted on a group of people drinking a couple of beers a day, eating fast food etc. and not those, who eat healthy food and enjoy one glass of wine a day. I once read an interview with a French doctor who said that the studies conducted in the US about the “bad effects of beef consumption” were carried out with a group of people having on average huge amounts of beef a day and also very bad food habits. In France an average steak is at least twice smaller than in the US and has 3X less calories, not to mention the French healthy food habits (the French eat usually lot of vegetables and small meat portions). However, the French authorities based their general advice (lowering the beef consumption) on the studies conducted in the US, looking only at the results… I have many other similar examples and stopped to believe the studies, unless I know more details than just the result.

  2. Ricki said, on May 16, 2011 at 8:28 AM

    I’ve never jumped on the savory oatmeal bandwagon, but yours looks delicious! I think I really need to give it another try.

    On another note, I’m really sorry to tell you this, but most nutritionists believe that nutritoinal yeast is NOT a “bioavailable” (ie, well-used by the body) source of B12. If that’s your only source, you could still be deficient. Here’s one article (skip to the bottom paragraph–I chose this one because it’s a credible source, but you can find all kinds of articles about this on the internet). Since I learned about that, I always take a B12 supplement now.

    • Saveur said, on May 16, 2011 at 8:39 AM

      Hey Ricki, Thanks for the link. I will have to investigate. Either way, I still love the taste, but I also take a vitamin B12 supplement as well. Good thing your body can store 2-3 years worth, so any excess won’t go to waste. ;)

  3. Johanna GGG said, on May 16, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    Thanks for the entry to the breakfast club – I love this idea – because I am not a porridge person but I often feel if I could find a good savoury oat breakfast I might come around to it – this looks simple and nutritious

    As for research, you do have to be so careful what you read – I always remember meeting a guy who was a statistician saying that if he was given a fact he would find the stats to prove it.

  4. Priya said, on May 16, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Never thought of making savoury oatmeal,simply delicious..

  5. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours said, on May 16, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    My type of breakfast! Try making a similar fried oatmeal with lots of veggies too. Perfection!

    • Saveur said, on May 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      That sounds like a great idea, Helen! :)

    • Saveur said, on May 16, 2011 at 7:35 PM

      Lovely! I found your recipe on your blog and will try it out! Thanks for pointing it out to me. :)

  6. Joanne said, on May 16, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Haha I’m sure my mom will find this article eventually and forward it on to me as well. Though she calls at least once a week to inform me that I’ll never have children if I don’t eat meat. And tries to beg me to eat chicken. Ha.

    I am so intrigued by the idea of savory oats! And I do so LOVE nutritional yeast! Though I don’t use it enough! (Or at least not in about a year…yikes!) Definitely trying this!

  7. [...] Adapted from TasteSpace [...]

  8. Tasha said, on May 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    I am always thinking I should try using nutrional use for more than just a popcorn topping. And I am very interested in the idea of these oats- I much prefer savory over sweet!

  9. Kristen @ Batterlicker.com said, on May 17, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    I love savory oatmeal, but haven’t tried it with nutritional yeast yet. Sounds right up my alley, as some leftover nutritional yeast has been begging me to use it for a couple weeks now!

  10. [...] regular or quick cooking oatmeal falls into the same category: quick and easy meal. Since exploring savoury oatmeal for breakfast, I didn’t think twice about whipping up a batch of oatmeal after coming home from Vancouver [...]

  11. Ashley said, on June 30, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    So creative! I would never have thought to try this. I use nutritional yeast sometimes but am still kind of scared by it for some reason.

    • Saveur said, on June 30, 2011 at 9:47 AM

      Nooch is great when it is integrated into sauces and the like… it might be more of an acquired taste to add it directly to oatmeal. However, I find it melts into the warm oatmeal quite well. :)

  12. miss figgy said, on August 5, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    nutritional yeast is one of my favorite ingredients. I thought I was the only one to eat it in my oatmeal!

  13. [...] Oatmeal with Quinoa and Kasha Apple Pie Oatmeal Baked Apple Banana Oatmeal Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal Savoury Oatmeal with Soy Sauce and Nutritional Yeast Savoury Oatmeal with Goji Berries, Nori and Ponzu [...]

  14. [...] stirred in some nutritional yeast and miso and I was in heaven. I’ve done the savoury oats thing before, but I had forgotten how lovely it was. Plus, I never ate it for dinner, with the [...]

  15. [...] I seemed to skip over posting my most repeated recipe in lieu of other savoury oatmeal concoctions: soy sauce and nutritional yeast, goji berries, nori and ponzu sauce and a savoury oatmeal that I would eat for dinner with [...]


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