Oats upma is a variation of rava upma which is a popular South Indian breakfast item. Traditional upma uses rava. Rava is semolina, so using rolled oats or steel-cut oats gives a healthier alternative to the original (which is also delish!)
I’ve also made this vegetarian Indian dish using quinoa – Quinoa Upma.
Think of this dish as Indian-style savory oats – flavored with basic Indian spices and veggies. Using frozen veggies cuts down on prep time.
Why you will love this recipe
Simple ingredients | Wholesome ingredients with the addition of vegetables and oats
Quick to prepare |Ready in just 15 minutes of cook time
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free |Vegan option available
Below are ingredient notes. Complete ingredients and directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.
Oats – I like using rolled oats or steel-cut oats. They have a little bit more nutritional value than quick oats or instant oats. They have more dietary fiber since they are less processed.
Veggies – fresh or frozen works. I like using frozen green peas and tend to have fresh carrots on hand. The mixed frozen vegetable bags work great to cut down on prep time. French beans are often used.
Flavor: I love adding ginger, garlic, and green chili paste. Fresh green chilies work too for a spicy touch!
Curry leaves: Fresh curry leaves give a big flavor. Can be easily found in an Indian grocery store.
Spices: turmeric powder, salt, and sugar
Coconut: Optional, but yummy. While traditionally fresh grated coconut is added, realistically we don’t always have that available in the US (although it is sold frozen in Indian stores). A quick alternative is to use desiccated or dry coconut.
Coriander leaves: Chopped cilantro adds a fresh bite. Optional.
Dals: Urad dal and chana dal give a nice crunch and add to the texture of the dish.
A squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice is a great way to finish the dish before serving.
If using fresh veggies, chop the veggies. I usually like to use frozen peas and have fresh carrots on hand.
If using fresh veggies try to make them around the size of peas.
Making Vegetable Upma
Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add cashews and mix. Pan fry until they are beginning to turn golden brown. Remove and place cashews aside.
Add mustard seeds to hot oil. Let them sizzle for about 30 seconds then add asafetida. Next, add chana dal and then urad dal.
Add onions and mix well. Let cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
Add green chili paste and ginger. Mix well.
Add curry leaves.
Add vegetables and spices.
Next, add oats and water. Mix well. Cover and cook until oats are cooked. Uncover and cook for 2-3 minutes letting any excess water cook out.
Add cashews and desiccated coconut or grated coconut. Optionally garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.
I like using a 1:1 ratio of oats to cups of water so it doesn’t get too mushy. Add in an additional ¼ cup water if you’d like it a little softer.
Upma is often eaten for breakfast or lunch/brunch. It goes great with a steaming cup of Masala Chai or Oat Milk Chai if you’re vegan.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Other oats-based recipes such as oats khichdi, oats idli, or, oats chilla and oats dosa will be added in the future so stay tuned!
Have you tried this vegetable oats upma recipe? If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to leave a comment and rate it with stars. It would mean a lot to me to hear how it turned out. If you’re on Instagram, feel free to tag me so I can see your creation. Thank you for your support!
- 1 Pot
- 2 cups rolled oats 215g
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp oil
- 8-10 curry leaves
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp asafetida
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp chana dal
- ¼ cup cashews
- 3 carrots 245g
- 1 cup peas 140g
- 1½ small onion 70g
- 3 cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger crushed
- 1 tbsp green chili paste
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp coconut desiccated or fresh coconut grated
- Heat oil in pan on medium-high heat. Add cashews and mix. Pan fry until they are beginning to turn golden brown. Remove and place cashews aside.
- Add mustard seeds to hot oil. Let them sizzle for about 30 seconds then add asafetida. Next, add chana dal and then urad dal.
- Add onions and mix well. Let cook 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add green chili paste and ginger. Mix well.
- Add curry leaves.
- Add vegetables and spices.
- Next, add oats and water. Mix well. Cover and cook until oats are cooked. Uncover and cook 2-3 minutes letting any excess water cook out.
- Add cashews and desiccated coconut or grated coconut. Optionally garnish with chopped cilantro before serving.