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Powerhouse Oatmeal

March 1, 2011
Meet SoupAddict’s very favorite breakfast food: oatmeal. But not just any old Quaker oatmeal. Steel cut oats. Not “old fashioned” or “rolled” oats (or, heaven forbid, instant). Steel cut. If you’ve never had steel cut oats, you must, must try them.

Yeah, sure you have to cook them. But you’re up for that, right? Because it’s the right thing to do. Eating McDonald’s oatmeal? Not the right thing to do. Homemade steel cut oatmeal? Now you’re talkin’.
Say goodbye to mushy oatmeal. Do you see these small grains? Lovely. Super lovely. They have a soft, chewy texture that’s entirely pleasing and chock full of that comforting nutty-oatty flavor we’ve all come to know and love.
SoupAddict recently tried almond milk for the first time. Me likely. A lot. (Much, much better than soy milk, which is a little blechy, even though I like things like edamame and tempeh.) So now SoupAddict uses almond milk in her oatmeal instead of regular. Word.
For extra yumminess, oats are toasted in the pan with a pat of butter. You won’t be sorry.
You know what else is so fabulous about homemade oatmeal? The wonderfully healthy and delicious things you can add to it. Like almonds and pecans. And flaxseeds. SoupAddict likes to grind up these three things into a powdery paste and add them to the steel cut oats while they’re cooking. For extra nutritional goodness, add some buckwheat, or wheat bran, or amaranth. Or all of the above.
And toppings. Ooooo, the toppings. The sky’s the limit, people. Chopped nuts, dried fruit (wild blueberries, above right), raisins, cranberries. Dates (above left), figs. Fresh strawberries, macerated or not. It’s all good.
And don’t forget the seasonings. Cinnamon is good for you — add as much as what tastes good (sometimes I add an entire tablespoon to the batch as it’s finishing cooking). How about cardamom? Just a pinch. Ginger, for a little kick. And last but not least, the sweeteners. Now, before you reach for that processed brown sugar, have you tried pure maple syrup? Or honey? You might be pleasantly surprised at the amount of processed foods you can actually leave out of your breakfast and still be completely satisfied.
The reward for cooking steel cut oats is that you have breakfast for a week. Real oats, with ingredients you recognize because you added ’em yourself. Store the leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the microwave with a little water or milk. SoupAddict takes this to work and wards off Starbucks cravings by enjoying a warm bowl mid-morning.
Not only is steel cut oatmeal good for you, but it’s good for your wallet, too. Buy in bulk for a mere $1 per pound and save a ton over the packaged instant stuff. (Even my Kroger carries steel cut oats in bulk in the natural foods section.)

Powerhouse Oatmeal

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup milk, soy milk or (my fave) almond milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a large saucepot, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast. Add the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Keep at a low simmer for 20 minutes, without stirring.

Add salt and milk to the oatmeal. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir in sweetener and cinnamon prior to serving.

  1. March 1, 2011 11:36 am

    I make mine in the crockpot overnight so it’s waiting for us when we wake up. I’ve also started using whole oat groats because I like the texture, and it’s cheaper and you get more nutrition because once you crack the groat, it leaks out goodness (like when you grind your grains). I sometimes replace 1/3 of the oats with buckwheat. I posted my recipe on my blog:

    • SoupAddict permalink
      March 1, 2011 1:40 pm

      Ahh, the crock pot – so many wonderful uses! I applaud you, using the whole oat groat. At this point, I’m just really diggin’ that my Kroger starting carrying the steel cut groat in bulk. 🙂

      • March 2, 2011 1:58 pm

        I order a big bulk bucket of organic oat groats. It was cheaper for me than the steel-cut. You can also grind the groats and add a little to banana bread recipes and things like that. I love all your pictures. I’m no photographer, and I just have a little Powershot camera, but it is full of pictures of food. Oh, and my kids 🙂

  2. March 1, 2011 12:07 pm

    I like the idea of making 1 batch and drawing from it all week. And that last picture of the oatmeal is just beautiful.
    And confession: I tried McDonald’s oatmeal at an airport once a few months ago and I really liked it. Of course, knowing what’s in your oatmeal is always better!

    • SoupAddict permalink
      March 1, 2011 1:34 pm

      I’d be totally lying if I said I was immune to the call of the “Cinnamon Roll” packet of instant Quaker oats. It’s delicious! 🙂 But, it’s the texture of the steel cut oats that I adore. And hey, since cinnamon is good for you, I don’t feel bad about adding a lot to my homemade version. That and a little honey … mmmmm. And if I had to be at McDonald’s for breakfast, I’d definitely pick the lesser evil of their oatmeal.

  3. Phyllis Ryan permalink
    March 1, 2011 6:22 pm

    I have made steel cut oatmeal a couple of times. We bought the pinhead oats to make Goetta for my husband. It is a dish that he remembers from his childhood and his son also seems to like. I do remember waking at the cabin in the fall and smelling oatmeal on the wood stove and with a little brown sugar and frsh cream it was like nothing else.

    • SoupAddict permalink
      March 3, 2011 3:50 pm

      Mmmm … Goetta. Goetta is a Cincinnati specialty – we even have entire festivals devoted to it. Our grocery stores always have a space reserved in the pork section for pre-made Goetta. Mmmm … I could really go for a GLT right about now.

  4. Marissa permalink
    March 3, 2011 1:05 am

    Holy moly, I don’t check your site for a week or so and you have three new posts! Had to catch up on all of the fun before the yummy oatmeal. I too share the love of oatmeal, but I’m guilty of making the quick oats on a busy morning. Well, that won’t happen any more if I make a batch of this on the weekend. Thank you for saving me.

  5. March 4, 2011 6:22 am

    Steel cut is a different thing completely. Yum…your photograph is making me hungry.

  6. Tom M. permalink
    March 13, 2011 11:33 pm

    Hi, first time visitor. I came for the fish taco sauce but stayed to look around. Looks great so far. My gf has been making oatmeal in the morning recently so this one appealed to me. Gonna have to buy some steel cut. BTW, I read that Bittman article about the MickyD’s oats and my gf and I had a passionate discussion about the crappy food people are eating waaay too often. Thanks!

  7. Chris permalink
    March 17, 2011 4:21 pm

    I love steel cut oats for breakfast but have never really liked anything sweet and I am looking to heart healthy grains to improve my health. So I make a savory oatmeal breakfast by making a few days worth in a batch and refrigerating. When I serve up a bowl I add a half an avocado and a scoop of low fat cottage cheese or feta or even Parmesan and then about a dozen walnut chunks. Stir it up and microwave, it almost resembles a risotto. My wife thinks it’s crazy but it works for me.

    I also make up a mixture of brown rice with wild rice and farro and use instead of the oatmeal for a change.

    • Tom M. permalink
      March 17, 2011 5:21 pm

      That is a great idea. Short of adding crumbled bacon I have not tried savory. Will have to try.

    • August 8, 2011 10:37 am

      One of my favorite breakfasts is a poached egg over farro! I’m thinking now that I will have to try an egg over steel cut oats….

  8. March 17, 2011 6:06 pm

    I recently started compiling my own recipes and this was one of my first posts! I’ve got my entire family eating steel-cuts for the past 8 or 9 years. Not many mornings I (not the family, though) go without it. Pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice is one of my son’s favorites but I”ve also been known to add cheddar cheese, chives, and bacon. Delicious sweet or savory!

  9. Cindy permalink
    April 23, 2011 10:03 pm

    I love steel cut oats too! I love your suggestions for additions and toppings. I usually chop an apple and toss it in while oats are cooking – adds lots of sweetness so I never use anything else to make it sweeter.

    • SoupAddict permalink
      April 24, 2011 11:43 am

      That is a great idea – I love it!

  10. jolene permalink
    July 1, 2011 4:47 pm

    I also add dried fruits and berries to the water also before the oats, after instead of milk on top like most people use, I add cottage cheese for a little more oomph.its great,large curd.

  11. ma pat permalink
    August 7, 2011 9:15 pm

    You can buy gluten free steel cut oatmeal. I have a gluten sensitivity.
    Love oatmeal, and missed it greatly until I found the gluten free oatmeal. Thx everyone for all the great ideas!

    • August 8, 2011 10:51 am

      For folks with gluten sensitivities, do note that oatmeal is naturally gluten free. However. The kicker is that most oatmeal is processed in facilities that are NOT gluten-free. Most commercially available oatmeal is contaminated with gluten at the factory (usually by the wheat products that companies also process in the same facility).

      So, be sure to look for packaging that says gluten free. Bob’s Mills is one brand that is commonly found at grocery stores. Aside from being a good company, they’ve made a considerable investment in their gluten-free facilities, and are reliable sources of gluten-free products.

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