Kitchens today thrive on efficiency – identifying ways to save time and money can prove critical to operating with a sustainable bottom line. Whether it is by reducing waste in the kitchen or ensuring serving sizes are appropriate, we’re always looking for ways to standardise the way we operate. Now, we have discovered a new way you can use one product in six very different ways in your kitchen – saving you time, storage space and best of all, money!
Oats – they have been around for years. They are the trusted old friend that pops up on menus across Australia in the warmer months, served as a delicious porridge.
But oats have a new calling in life. No, it isn’t porridge with new flavours added to make it stand out from the crowd. They are now being welcomed on snack and lunch menus, even dinner and desserts.
While they contain nutrition like protein, fibre, magnesium and vitamin B, they are also very versatile in the way they can be used. So, to help you experiment with the world’s most common product, we have uncovered six unique ways you can use oats across your whole menu.
One of the most unique and unusual ways of using oats within the kitchen is as a meat binder for when you are making burger patties, meatballs or meatloaves. According to Forkly, many chefs are beginning to substitute the eggs in their mixture for a cup or two of oats.
Once the oats are exposed to moisture, they create a binding power to meat, vegetables and spices. The oats also help set the burgers as they bake, making for a more tender and less crumbly patty.
The inclusion of oats allows your patties to be egg free while containing an extra texture with each bite. Replacing the eggs with oats gives you an option to create a completely vegetarian and vegan inspired dish for your customers.
For example, you can offer veggie burgers with a black bean and oat patty, meaning you can cater to a larger customer-base by simply using the kitchen staple. Or as mentioned earlier, instead of using the oats as part of your burgers, you can incorporate them into your meatloaves and meatballs.
Oats are also the perfect thickening ingredient for soups or stews. Whether you are creating a creamy soup for your winter menu or a delicious stew for your dinner round, mistakes can happen.
If your dish forms a runnier consistency than you initially wanted, it can all be saved with a teaspoon of oats. To save yourself time, and most importantly wastage, add the oats to your soup or stew, stir and let it simmer for five minutes.
If you are still unimpressed with the result, continue to add a teaspoon at a time until you have the consistency you were after. The popular rolled oats are the most common type used for this method with chefs, as they hold up well to the liquid.
This is a good tip for all apprentices, whenever they are left in-charge of your stove procedures. With a simple spoonful, your meal can be saved within minutes.
A simple – and most popular – way to use oats in the kitchen is as a granola mixture. Whether the granola is used as a topping or transformed into a bar, they are an all-year crowd favourite with customers.
Granola mixtures don’t need to be over-the-top and full of different ingredients and flavours. Sometimes it is important to remember that the simple mixtures are the most popular for customers.
For the best, and freshest, granola recipe, combine your rolled oats with puffed whole-grain rice, dried fruits and peanut butter. Or if you were hoping for a sweeter taste, switch the peanut butter to honey.
Turn it into a crumble as a breakfast or dessert topping or form them into easy-to-eat, on-the-go bars. And as easy-to-grab snacks are becoming a bigger trend amongst consumers, now’s the right time to hit the granola bar boom.
Staying on the healthy trend, smoothies have and continue to become, a huge trend amongst consumers not only in Australia but globally. So, another trick to using your oats in your kitchen is to incorporate them into your smoothie menu.
Easy – no need to create a whole new menu or dish, all you have to do is simply add an extra ingredient that you most likely already hold in the pantry. Oats are becoming popular within smoothies as they add nutritional benefits to customers across the board.
An easy recipe you can add to your menu can simply be a banana smoothie that includes a frozen banana, berries, nut butter and oats, blended with cold liquid, whether it is water, milk or dairy-free milk.
Pies are a much loved sweet or savoury dish and can be offered as a whole or as a slice. An age-old favourite, pies are commonly known as being adaptable in kitchens depending on what you feel like offering at the time, and what season it is.
So, while you are switching up the fillings, why not ditch the common pastry shell and create your own oats pie crust. Sounds strange, we know, but many kitchens across the globe are starting to make the change, so why can’t you?
An oat-base crush makes a great pairing for any cream pie or no-bake pies. The traditional breakfast ingredient adds a great texture to your traditional crust and basically offloads the taste of an oatmeal cookie.
Creating the oat crust is easy. For example, combine your oats with melted margarine or coconut oil and press the mixture into your pie pan and bake.
If you were after a sweet crust, pour the rolled oats in a food processor to create a ground oat flour. Then, combine it with all-purpose wheat flour and salt before mixing it with butter and brown sugar.
Using oats as a replacement to a traditional flaky butter crust offers a real rustic crust, for your pie. And best of all, you save yourself time rolling out dough or blind baking – simply press the base into a tart pan, pour in your filling, and stick the pie in the oven or fridge.
What do you do with old bread? You create breadcrumbs.
What do you do if you have no old bread? You use your breakfast staple, oats.
Yes, you read right. Chefs across the globe are starting to utilise their pantry and expand their oats offering into their dinner menus, using them as a coating for chicken.
Coating your chicken fillets with oats and sesame seeds, isn’t only the healthier option for your customers, but they also offer for a more satisfying crunch factor to every bite. An oats coating is super easy, quick and has been known to be a hit with customers.
For some extra flavour, combine the oats with parmesan cheese and different herbs. The options of flavours are endless, so are the dipping sauces that can be served alongside.
These days, it is all about versatility of products and finding new ways to use what you have in a number of different menu items. So, whether it is added as a thickener to your soup or stew, or used solely as a base of a pie, oats can certainly be used across the menu.
From the breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner menus, oats now have a home everywhere – not just in a bowl of porridge. Now it is time for you to experiment within your kitchen and see how far you can take the old trusted oat delivery.