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.
Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6, modified from Oh She Glows
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
Preheat the oven to 375.
Shred the carrots. Set aside.
In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add shredded carrots and other wet ingredients (milk through cranberries).
Mix together dry ingredients (oats through baking powder) in a small bowl with a fork or whisk.
Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl and mix to combine.a
Pour into greased 8x11 baking pan.
Cook at 375 for 35 minutes.
Divide into 6 servings, top each with 1/4 cup greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.