Outdoors with Onions: Savory Onion Oatmeal

Savory Onion Oatmeal

A warm meal is just what I need after a day of hiking. Despite how hot or strenuous the activity, there is something about the dark, cool atmosphere of the forest that makes a steaming plate of food even more delicious.

The best thing about this meal is how perfect it is for breakfast or dinner. Steel-cut oats are flavored with the savory spices of chili and garlic powders and brightened with fresh chives and basil. Sweet caramelized onions add a balance to the savory flavors. Plus, grain-based meals like this are always better when topped with a fried egg.

This whole meal can be made campside over a fire or on a grill. You’ll need two pans. I like cast iron the best, if those are too heavy to haul, lightweight camping cookware will also work.

Savory Onion Oatmeal

First, before you leave the house, or the night before you prepare them, soak your oats in one cup of water. This will help them cook more quickly once they are on the fire. Prepare the spices by mixing them together and packing them in a small baggie. You can do the same with the herbs and then chop or tear them before you garnish the oatmeal.

The onions will take the longest to cook. So get them started first. Once they are done, you can transfer them to another vessel and fry the eggs in the same skillet while the oatmeal cooks. Once it’s all together, you’ll have a hearty, comforting meal that is sure to boost your energy for another day of activity!

Savory Onion Oatmeal

 Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour


1 ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 cup steel-cut oats, soaked overnight in 1 cup water
1 ½ cups water
½ teaspoon fine ground sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon basil leaves, chopped or torn, if large


1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the onions are caramelized to your preferences. The longer they cook, the sweeter they will be.
2. In a deep skillet or medium saucepan, stir together the soaked oats and 1 ½ cups of water.
3. Bring to a simmer over the heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. The oatmeal will thicken and the grains will soften.
4. Stir in the salt, pepper, chili powder and garlic powder.
5. Transfer the caramelized onions to a plate or bowl and add the remaining ½ tablespoon of butter to the skillet.
6. Once melted, fry the eggs to your preferences.
7. To serve, place the eggs on top of each portion of oatmeal, add an equal amount of onions to each serving and garnish with chives and basil.

Savory Onion Oatmeal


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