Carrots are stealing the show this week. This recipe features the same flavors as morning glory muffins—shredded carrots, raisins, orange zest, coconut and walnuts—in oatmeal form. I came across it in Megan Gordon’s new cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings.
In the headnote, Megan calls the oatmeal “porridge,” which always brings Goldilocks and her three bears to mind. I prefer to call it oatmeal, which sounds ever-so-slightly more sexy than porridge, but it’s still just fancied up peasant food. Not that I have anything against peasant food. Those royals weren’t doing themselves any favors with their fine white flour and refined sugar. I’d take hearty whole grains over that stuff any day (am I showing my peasant roots?).
Anyway, back to Megan. She runs a granola business, posts recipes and stories on her blog, contributes to The Kitchn and, somehow, in between all of that, produced a killer cookbook. The book is brimming with breakfast/brunch recipes, organized seasonally, that incorporate whole grains. When Megan asked me if I’d like a review copy, I said yes (because Megan knows how to make a great breakfast) while kicking myself for not coming up with such a terrific concept.
This recipe called to me from the winter section. It’s just sweet enough to taste like a treat, but hearty enough to hold me over until lunch. I’d almost forgotten about the steel-cut oats in the back of my pantry before I made this. Steel-cut oats are what rolled oats are made out of—they’re the oats you grew up eating, before they were rolled flat. They take a little longer to cook than old-fashioned oats, but they are so creamy that they are worth the wait.
I prefer to make big batches of oatmeal at once like this. Then I can warm the oats in the morning while I make my coffee, which takes less time and effort than it would to heat up one of those sad packets of instant oatmeal. I usually swirl in some plain yogurt for protein and creaminess. (Bonus: yogurt cools down the oatmeal, which is nice when you’re an over-eager breakfast eater like me.) I’m looking forward to another bowl tomorrow morning.
Once I’m out of this batch, I want to try Megan’s technique for cooking “the very best oatmeal,” which you can find at The Fauxmartha and A Couple Cooks. That’s about as sexy as oatmeal ever looks, folks. Then I’ll probably have to try Laura’s spin on the farro bowl and prepare some saucy tomato poached eggs for brunch once I’m settled into my new house. I. Can’t. Wait!
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup light coconut milk (or milk of choice or another cup of water)
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 large carrots)
- 2/3 cup seedless raisins (I used golden raisins)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I used a mix of unsweetened shredded coconut and large flakes since that's what I had)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest (this took 1 1/2 oranges for me)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 or more tablespoons maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar or brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional but recommended)
- In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Stir in the oats, carrots, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Bring the mixture back to boil, then decrease the heat to low and partially cover the pot.
- Cook the porridge, without stirring, until it begins to thicken and the oats are soft yet chewy. Check the oat's texture by stirring them after 25 minutes of cooking (it might need a few more minutes of cooking).
- Remove from heat and stir in the coconut flakes, orange zest and vanilla. Add maple syrup (or other sweetener), to taste. Cover and let the oatmeal rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Toast the walnut pieces in a pan over medium-low, tossing frequently, until the edges are golden and the walnuts smell nice and toasty.
- Serve the oatmeal with a sprinkling of walnuts and a splash of milk or a swirl of plain yogurt.
Change it up: This recipe is wide open to adaptation. Feel free to sub other dried fruit for the raisins, change up the nuts, etc.
Make it gluten free: Buy certified gluten-free steel-cut oats if you are avoiding gluten.
Make it nut free: Skip the nuts. You can substitute pepitas (pumpkin) or sunflower seeds if desired.