Monday, February 1, 2010

Overnight steel-cut oatmeal

I’m going to step away from my blogging backlog for a moment and present to you something not from last year, but from last night. I want to post this while there’s still plenty of cold-weather time left in the winter, so that you can enjoy this on a few upcoming chilly mornings.

Oatmeal! What could be simpler, right? Well, unless you have 30+ minutes free to prepare breakfast on weekday mornings (and if so, lucky you), you probably don’t get to enjoy steel-cut oatmeal very often, if at all. Steel-cut oats are toasted oat groats (the inner part of the oat kernel) that have been removed from the husk and cut by steel into two or three pieces, rather than being rolled. This means they are less processed than old-fashioned or quick oats, which is beneficial in a number of ways. The texture is better, for one—steel-cut oats are chewier and nuttier than rolled oats. As such, they are heartier and more substantial, thanks to the higher concentration of complex carbs (which are soluble-fiber-ful and therefore heart-healthy!). Not only will they keep you fuller longer, but they have a lower glycemic index than regular oats (42 vs. 66, respectively), so your blood sugar will stay steady.

The only bad part? They take forever to cook. This is easily remedied, though, with a slow cooker and a little advanced preparation. Substitute any nuts or dried fruits you want; I just used what I had in my pantry.

2 cups steel-cut oats
7 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup soymilk (vanilla or plain)
1/4 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

The night before, gather your ingredients. Chop the pecans, apricots, and cherries. Set everything aside for the next morning.

Line a 5-6 quart slow cooker with a plastic liner (highly recommended!) and spray the inside generously with cooking spray. (Alternatively, just spray the slow cooker bowl itself very very well with cooking spray.) Add the oats, water, soymilk, maple syrup, and salt. Stir to combine.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours overnight. My slow cooker automatically switches to warm after a set number of hours, but if yours doesn’t, it won’t hurt if you cook it a little beyond the 8 hours.

The next morning, uncover and add all remaining ingredients.

Stir to combine, re-cover, and cook on low for another 10-20 minutes.

I enjoyed mine this morning with an additional splash of vanilla soymilk and an extra glug of maple syrup. Again, customize to your heart’s content—use agave nectar or brown sugar in place of maple syrup, include diced apples and ground cinnamon instead of the dried fruit, or pump it up even further with a scoop of protein powder. This is an energizing, stick-to-your-ribs, power-packed breakfast if there ever was one!

Yield: 8 servings. Per serving: 274 calories, 6g fat (.5g sat), 53.1g carbs, 6g fiber, 7.6g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Blueberry cornbread muffins
Very berry "green" smoothie
Oat crumble jam bars

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  1. As you said, this definitely looks like it would stick to your ribs but it does look tasty and filling as well. I'm sure it keeps one full, longer.

  2. Yummy oats! I have tried the steel-cut before and because of the time factor, always go back to the old fashioned kind. I do want to try crock-pot oats though.

  3. 8 Hours?! Yikes! But I must say, it looks and sounds wonderful! I will definitely try it some time when I have the time. :) ...and I do not think it has to be cold out for some amazing oatmeal.