Healthy Matcha Oatmeal
It's pretty well established that oatmeal is a heart-healthy breakfast food, but it's not the most exciting thing in the world from both a flavor and texture perspective. Adding matcha powder to your oatmeal is a great way to improve its flavor and visual appeal. There are also tons of potential health benefits of matcha, including weight loss and the stabilization of free radicals.
The best part about this is that the flavor of the green tea lends itself well to going sweet or savory, depending on what you top it with.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- Using high-quality matcha ensures you get vibrant green color and all the health benefits of matcha.
- Adding the matcha at the end helps retain its vivid hue.
- Topping the matcha oatmeal with various textures and tastes keeps the oatmeal from getting boring.
Is Matcha good for you?
While "good for you" is relative to your individual situation, Matcha has several science-backed benefits. Because matcha is made with whole tea leaves, you're consuming the leaves themselves. This means you're getting more of the tea's beneficial compounds than steeping the leaves in water as you make green tea.
Free radicals are a necessary part of life, but they cause cellular damage, which over time can lead to illnesses like cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and dementia. Antioxidants help disarm free radicals by stabilizing them. Matcha contains a high concentration of a class of antioxidants called catechins.
Matcha contains caffeine, which is a stimulant that can enhance cognitive performance. However, beyond the benefits of caffeine, Matcha also contains compounds such as l-theanine and epigallocatechin gallate, which can affect mood and cognitive performance.
A growing body of evidence shows a link between consuming green tea and increased fat oxidation. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found significant weight loss, BMI, and decreased total cholesterol in women who took a green tea extract for 12 weeks. Another study found a reduction in body fat and cardiovascular risks. A meta-analysis of 11 studies also found a statistically significant link between decreased body weight and the intake of Catechins.
Ingredients for Matcha Oatmeal
- Rolled Oats - Nothing special here, and I just used some organic rolled oats. Steel-cut oats take longer to cook, so if you're using those instead, adjust the cooking time and amount of liquid according to the package directions.
- Water - To turn the rolled oats into oatmeal, you need a liquid. I usually use water for this, but if you want creamier oatmeal, you can use your favorite non-dairy milk instead. On the flip side, if you know you are making savory oatmeal, you can substitute vegetable stock or konbu dashi to boost umami.
- Matcha - You'll want to use authentic matcha powder for the best color and taste. You can read more about matcha in the FAQ, but real matcha isn't just powdered green tea, and the method used to grow and process it makes a huge difference in the taste and color of the tea. I also generally find that ceremonial grade tea tends to have a brighter color than culinary grade matcha, but it tends to be significantly more expensive.
Toppings for Sweet Oatmeal
- Milk - adding milk to this green tea oatmeal makes it taste like a matcha latte. I like using coconut cream because it adds richness, but if you want to go with something healthier, just substitute your favorite non-dairy milk such as soy milk, oat milk, or almond milk.
- Fruits - Banana, mango, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and kiwi are just a few fresh fruits that go great on these breakfast oats. You can also use dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, apples, etc.
- Nuts & Seeds - I used toasted pumpkin seeds, but adding any nuts or seeds is an excellent way to boost the protein in your breakfast. For nuts, I recommend pistachio, walnut, cashew, or macadamia. If you use harder nuts such as almond or hazelnut, I recommend chopping them first. For seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds are great options. Shredded coconut is another tasty addition, and I've even added quinoa to this before when cooking the oatmeal (just be sure to increase the amount of water). I also love dusting oatmeal with kinako powder along with a drizzle of kuromitsu.
- Sweetener - Depending on how sweet our fruit is, you may not need a sweetener, but I've included some Japanese brown sugar (kokutou) on this one. I've also used maple syrup or date syrup on this, and they are both delicious!
Toppings for Savory Oatmeal
- Seeds - Any nuts or seeds will add texture and protein to this savory oatmeal, but if I'm trying to go for a Japanese breakfast, I usually use toasted sesame seeds.
- Pickles - Any salty Asian pickled vegetable works well to add texture, flavor, and salt. I used store-bought takuan pickles and umeboshi in mine, but I have a recipe for 3-styles of Japanese pickles, and another one for Cucumber Wasabi Tsukemono if you want to try that out.
- Seasonings - I used shiokonbu (salted kelp) to season this, but other seasonings such as soy sauce or even salt will work.
- Herbs - Herbs are an excellent way to accent savory oatmeal, and you can really use just about anything here. I usually use shiso or kinome (sansho pepper leaves) if I'm going with a Japanese-style breakfast.
How to Make Matcha Oatmeal
To make the oatmeal, bring the water to a full boil before stirring in the rolled oats. If you like a creamy oatmeal (less chunky), you can add the oats simultaneously with the water.
After adding the oats, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and set a timer for ten minutes. If you like your oatmeal more firm and chewy, you can cook them for less time. Be sure to stir the oatmeal regularly, especially towards the end.
When the oatmeal is done, turn off the heat and use a tea strainer to sift the matcha into the cooked oats. Matcha tends to form lumps, and it won't dissolve properly if you don't sift it. Now you just need to stir the green tea powder into the oatmeal. It will start off looking like there are dark green specks in plain oatmeal, but as you stir, the matcha will dissolve, and the color of the oatmeal will turn a more vivid green.
Plate your matcha oatmeal in a bowl and top it with your favorite sweet or savory toppings.
Other Oatmeal Recipes
Matcha is a type of tea that's grown, harvested, and processed in a very specific way. It's a type of ground whole leaf tea, but not all ground green tea is matcha.
The process of making matcha green tea involves covering tea trees (Camellia sinensis) with shade cloth in spring for up to 20 days. This protects the young growth from the sun, preventing the breakdown of amino acids and increasing the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves. The young green tea leaves are then harvested, and the stems are removed before the leaves are steamed, rolled, and dried. The dried leaves are then ground using a stone mill to a size of 10-15 microns. For perspective, flour varies in size from 10-300 microns.
This process increases the taste of umami in matcha while reducing bitter and astringent tastes.
Unfortunately, there is no regulation about what can be labeled as "matcha," so many producers sell ordinary ground tea leaves as matcha.
Matcha is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies to make tea by whisking it into a foam along with hot water. These days it's often used to make matcha lattes, green tea ice cream and desserts such as cookies or cheesecake.
Because there are a lot of deceptive practices in how matcha is sold, it's important to do your research so that you understand how the matcha you're buying was produced and where it came from. Beyond that, you can look at factors such as the color of the matcha (it should be vibrant green) and the taste (it should not be overly bitter or astringent). I order my matcha directly from a tea farm in Kyoto.
This recipe is easy enough to make in small batches, but if you find yourself with leftovers, you can flatten them into a patty (or patties if you have a lot) and store them in the fridge. These can then be pan-fried until they're crispy on the outside and hot in the center. These matcha oatmeal cakes make for a delicious dinner side dish that's a little like polenta cakes.
Matcha oatmeal is plant-based, and as you're careful with your topping ingredients, this oatmeal is both vegan and vegetarian friendly.
For Matcha Oatmeal
- 48 grams rolled oats (~½ US cup)
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon matcha
Sweet Oatmeal Toppings
- coconut cream
- toasted pumpkin seeds
- unrefined sugar (such as kokutou or muscavado)
Savory Oatmeal Toppings
- toasted sesame seeds
- salted konbu
- japanese pickles
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Stir in the rolled oats and turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Stir the oatmeal periodically to ensure it cooks through evenly. You'll want to stir it more often as it gets closer to being done.
- When the oatmeal is cooked, take the pot off the heat and sift in the matcha using a tea strainer.
- Use a spatula to stir the matcha in until the oatmeal is vibrant green and there are no specs of undissolved matcha.
- Serve the Matcha Oatmeal with your favorite savory or sweet toppings.