Apple-Date Steel Cut Oatmeal is naturally sweetened, and the perfect hearty way to warm up on a cold winter morning.
Ready in 35 minutes
It seems like everywhere I turn, people are talking about how sick they are of winter, and how ready they are for spring to get here. Simmer down, folks! I mean, I know we’ve had a nasty little batch of cold and snow lately, but we’ve still got a long way to go before the tulips start blooming and you have to start shaving your legs again.
I’m a big fan of warm weather, too, but I’m definitely still embracing the cabin fever-ness of winter (and the nice, leisurely break from gardening). I’m still digging the cozy flannel jammies and the warm mugs of coffee and the crackling fires. I’m not ready to pack away my sweaters and bring out my swimsuit just yet.
That being said, I totally wouldn’t turn down a free tropical vacation, if you’re offering, universe. A week on the beach is always a good thing.
In lieu of a week in Bora Bora, I’ve been instead focusing on cozy, warm, comforting food. When you can’t get warm from the weather, the best way is to get warm from toasty food in your belly. Lots of soups, slow-baked casseroles, and warm breakfasts are keeping my belly very happy lately (well, when you’re dealing with morning sickness happy is a relative term—happyish is more like it). I know lots of people eat oatmeal and other breakfast porridges all year round, but I want nothing to do with a big bowl of oatmeal in June. But in January? Bring. It. On.
If you’ve never cooked steel cut oats before, they’re a bit more finicky than their rolled oats cousins. They take longer to cook because they are minimally processed. Steel cut oats are the whole grain groats from the oat plant (the groat is the whole kernel of a grain after it’s been hulled) that have been roughly cut by—you guessed it—a steel disc. Basically, steel cut oats are one of the least processed version of oats you can get, which makes them crazy healthy for you. And if you’re a fan of chewy grains, you’ll love steel cut oats. By using the less processed oat, you’ll never end up with the pasty, goupy, gray stuff that passes for oatmeal on some breakfast buffets.
Because steel cut oats do take a lot longer to cook, I’m a big fan of making the cooking process hands off—30 to 45 minutes of cooktime doesn’t seem like that big of a deal when you aren’t actually doing anything during that time. Lots of folks use a slow cooker and cook steel cut oats overnight, but I like using my beloved rice cooker. I just put all the ingredients in, set it, and when it beeps, breakfast is ready. No stirring, no watching! I can go snuggle up on the couch in front of the fire and not worry if my oats are burning. Of course, you can also make this recipe on the stovetop, too (and I’ve included those directions).
I love the combination of apples and dates in this mix because they go a long way to sweeten the oats without any added sugar. I do tend to drizzle a touch of maple syrup (and some half-and-half) on for serving, but if you don’t have a sufficiently-sized sweet tooth like I do, you could easily get by sans-sweetener.