Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Did you know that ALL cuts of oats (steel-cut, old-fashioned/rolled oats and instant oats) have the same nutritional profile? In other words, you can enjoy the fiber and whole grain goodness even if you buy instant. I find that many of my clients have “read somewhere” or “someone told them” a nutrition myth that encourages them to create a rule or restriction around their food choices. I love it when I can bust that myth and offer some freedom. So if you like instant oats - go for it! But if you like steel-cut, that’s good too :)

Since I started working from home, I get pretty excited about breakfast. In the winter, I’m partial to a nice hot breakfast, and I’m always a fan of oats. I recently posted a lighter version of an old family recipe for baked oatmeal. It's a very simple recipe, which I love. And while this version of carrot cake baked oatmeal that I found is a little more laborious, I love that it incorporates some veggies and fruit into the recipe. Makes it an everyday option for me :)

I found some recipe inspiration over at Oh She Glows, after a friend of mine brought a version to a brunch. I knew it was good, but I thought I'd play around with it a little for fun. I'm not one to take a recipe and leave it be. It’s a blessing and a curse. What I came up with is a fluffier version of the original that is no longer vegan, but delicious, hearty, and nutritiously sound. A real winner.


I started off by grating a few carrots. For me, it was 4 carrots, about 10 oz or 2 cups of lightly packed shredded carrots. I’ve used regular carrots and rainbow carrots, depending on what I have on-hand. While the recipe has you start with the dry ingredients, I find that shredding the carrots first means I have everything in place and ready to go, making the recipe easier.

If you like a fluffy version, like I do, you need to add some egg for leavening. Specifically, two eggs, which I whisked to get a little air incorporated. Then I added the wet ingredients: milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir in the carrots, along with dried fruit - I chose cranberries because I had them, but raisins are a more traditional choice. Note: I normally like to find ways to reduce the sugar in a recipe, but DO NOT skimp on the maple syrup or the dried fruit in this recipe. One time I was half-way through the recipe when I realized I was out of both cranberries and raisins. The end product was not nearly as good.

In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: old-fashioned oats, baking powder, cinnamon and ground ginger. Use a fork or a whisk to make sure the baking powder is evenly distributed - it tends to clump in the package and makes for a very unwelcome surprise if baked in that way. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and pour everything into a 8x11 pan. You want all the oats to be in the liquid, otherwise they will dry out and be hard in the end product. You can always add a little water or additional milk to ensure the oats are covered.

Bake on 375 for about 35 minutes. If you chose a larger pan, the cooking time would be a little less. You'll know it's done when it's no longer liquid in the middle, but you don't want the edges to get too brown.

I love this topped with plain greek yogurt and chopped nuts. Also great with the yogurt and a nut butter, but you don’t get the crunchy texture without the nuts. Delish!

This is great at brunch for a crowd, but will also reheat nicely throughout the week if you just have one or two people enjoying it.

Oops, I snapped a photo before I added the walnuts. They are a delicious addition!

Oops, I snapped a photo before I added the walnuts. They are a delicious addition!

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt and Nut Butter

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Serves 6, modified from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots, about 4 carrots or 10 oz

  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

  • 2 cups milk of your choice (I’ve used almond, 2% and skim, all with great results)

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins

  • 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt, for topping

  • 6 tablespoons raw walnuts (about 1 1/2 oz), chopped for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.

  2. Shred the carrots. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add shredded carrots and other wet ingredients (milk through cranberries).

  4. Mix together dry ingredients (oats through baking powder) in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.

  5. Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl and mix to combine.a

  6. Pour into greased 8x11 baking pan.

  7. Cook at 375 for 35 minutes.

  8. Divide into 6 servings, top each with 1/4 cup greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.

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Katie Goldberg

Katie Goldberg, MCN, RDN, LDN, has been a registered dietitian since 2013, but has always had a passion for good food and a healthy lifestyle. Katie earned her Master’s of Clinical Nutrition from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and has worked in private practice, higher education, in a clinical setting, and as an in-house dietitian for a food company. Whether it's at through large groups or one-on-one, Katie enjoys connecting people with easy and practical solutions for better health.