In a small saucepan, heat up the oats with the water and salt. Bring to a boil then quickly reduce to a simmer over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
Add the milk, stir, and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. By adding the milk at this point you don't have to worry about it scalding in the pot and you still get wonderfully creamy results but with only a fraction of the calories. You could alternatively start the process with half water and half milk or all milk - Feel free to reduce the liquid to 1 cup in total if you prefer thicker oats.
Once it's cooked to your desired texture, pour the oatmeal into a bowl and top with your toppings of choice (like this berry compote).
How To Store
I prefer to cook oatmeal freshly every day. However, cooked plain oatmeal can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days (or even frozen for up to 3 months!). Make sure to refrigerate it within an hour or two of making it though, otherwise, bacteria can start to grow.Reheat the oatmeal either in the microwave or on the stove. You may need to add an extra splash of water or milk to get it back to the creamy texture. The same goes for the berry compote.
Make sure to reduce the heat to simmer as soon as it being to boil, otherwise the oatmeal can become very gummy/gluey.
Adjust the liquid ratio according to your preference: For creamier, thinner oats use the 1 1/4 cups liquid and 1/2 cup oats, for thicker then use 1 cup liquid only. I suggest using 1 cup to begin and thinning it in the last minute of cooking if preferred.
Don't omit the salt - it really enhances the flavor and you only need a pinch!
For even quicker oatmeal, you can leave the oats and liquid in a covered saucepan the night before. Then cook it in the morning. Keep an eye on it though as it will take just a few minutes to be ready.
If you use quick-cook (instant) oats, then it will take just 2-3 minutes to cook.
Optional Add-InsObviously, there are tons of ways to adapt and top the simple oatmeal recipe. These add-ins aren't about adding tons of flavor, instead, they are ways to adapt your 'base' easily and still be able to top or flavor with whatever you'd like.
Add protein to oatmeal: It's very easy to add protein to oatmeal with the addition of 1tbsp chia seeds/flaxseed or this 5-Seed DIY Vegan Protein Blend or omega seed mix. You could also add a scoop of your favorite plain (or flavored) protein powder.
Hidden veggie: I love to add finely grated zucchini to my basic oatmeal recipe (for 'zoats'). As it cooks, it disappears into the oatmeal and is neutral enough in flavor that you can't taste it I suggest adding around 1/2-1 cup of the grated zucchini per 1/2 cup oats used.
Sweetener: Use the sugar/sweetener of your choice; maple syrup, agave, cane sugar, coconut sugar, brown sugar- or the classic 'golden syrup' in the UK.
Read the post above for more flavoring options and the answers to several FAQs!