The Lazy Psychologist in the Kitchen: Savory Oatmeal Stew

Welcome to another installment from the Lazy Psychologist in the Kitchen. For those of you who are new to my blog, you may be wondering why a psychologist is sharing a recipe on her blog about mental health. The answer is quite simple: food affects mood. Over the past several years, more and more research has shown that what we eat affects how we feel, both physically and emotionally.

Here’s where I have to reveal one of my deep, dark secrets, though. I am easily overwhelmed by even the thought of cooking a complicated meal. The planning, the preparation, all of the steps…*sigh*…it leaves me in quite a tizzy, and you don’t want to see what I look like when I’m in a tizzy. Therefore, I’ve made it one of my daily living goals to find or create simple, healthy meals, and I like to share them from time to time here. An important disclaimer for all of my recipe posts: I am not a nutritionist, dietician, or physician, so don’t take my recipe posts as golden advice based on the most up-to-date nutrition science. In sharing some of my personal recipes, my goal is to inspire you to find easy ways to incorporate healthy eating as one way to cultivate healthy mood.

Today’s recipe: savory oatmeal stew! Until a few years ago, I’d always eaten oatmeal as a breakfast meal, usually sweetened or with fruit added. Then a friend of mine served me oatmeal with an egg on top, and it was delicious. It got me thinking about the possibility of oatmeal as a savory dish, which led to the creation of this savory oatmeal stew recipe. You’ll see that it meets a couple of important “Lazy Psychologist in the Kitchen” criteria: 1) The whole meal (protein, whole grains, and veggies) is made in one pot, because lazy people do not want to do a lot of dishes after going through all of the trouble of cooking dinner, and 2) This dish saves well for leftovers, which conserves lazy energy over the week. Another lazy bonus: it is very hard to mess this one up! Lazy chefs all agree that our recipes need to be fairly idiot-proof. Nothing feels worse to a lazy chef than going to all the trouble to actually cook a meal and then have it turn out badly. I can’t guarantee your results but I can tell you that I have made this recipe literally dozens of times without any severe mishaps. Score!

Ok, on to the tasty recipe, which makes about 4-6 servings.


1.75 cups water1 cup quick-cooking steel-cut oatmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)*

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized chunks

1 14-oz can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained, chopped into bit-sized chunks

(Lazy Tip: you can buy these already quartered, saving you chopping time. Nice!)

1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives (or use your favorite kind of olives)

3-4 green onions (also called scallions), chopped into thin slices

1 4-oz package smoked salmon, cut into bite sized chunks

Your favorite shredded/crumbled savory cheese (I like to use smoked gouda or feta)
Ground paper to taste.









  1. Using large sauce pan, heat water to boiling.
  2. Reduce to medium-low heat and stir in oatmeal. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add tomatoes, artichokes (make sure you’ve drained them thoroughly!), olives, and onions. Simmer for 2 minutes or longer until liquid is incorporated.
  4. Stir in smoked salmon and remove from heat.
  5. Serve immediately. Top with ground pepper and your favorite cheese.



























A few recipe notes:

*Quick-cooking steel cut oatmeal takes about 5-7 minutes to prepare. For an even quicker version, you can use rolled oats, using the cooking instructions on the package as a basic guide. Lazy Tip caution: watch out for regular steel-cut oats. They take over 30 minutes to cook.

I’ve made this with leftover shredded turkey breast instead of salmon and it was still delicious.

Happy healthy eating,

Dr. Jen

P.S. Check out these other recipes from The Lazy Psychologist in the Kitchen:

Slow-cooker chicken tikka masala

Veggie frittata

Chicken enchillada soup

Asian beef

P.P.S. Hazel and Baxter like it when I make this recipe because they always get a little taste of smoked salmon.