I’ve already shared with you my recipe for a relatively quick, wholesome oatmeal breakfast. But because I have a penchant for figuring out the least processed food, I’ve become a big fan of steel-cut oats. (Note: There is in fact little nutritional difference between steel-cut oats & rolled oats, so if you prefer rolled oats, this recipe works measure-for-measure with rolled oats as well.)
The problem is that steel-cut oats take forever to cook. Who has an hour+ to cook breakfast during the week?!
But there is a solution to this problem: Soaking.
By properly preparing your grains, you actually come out ahead, both in time saved & nutrition.
It takes about 3 minutes of prep the night before & in the morning you can have breakfast in little more time than it takes to prepare instant oatmeal from a packet. Seriously!
There is also a nutritional advantage to soaking your grains. Apparently, oats are a big source of phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient & will block the absorption of other good stuff in your oatmeal. This is something I’m still researching & learning about, so instead of botching a fuller explanation, I’ll point you to a few sources who appear to know a lot more about the advantages of soaking grains than I do: The Weston A. Price Foundation & The Nourishing Home. Regardless of the science behind soaking, I’m convinced by the serious convenience factor.
Lightning Quick Steel-cut Oatmeal, adapted from Nourishing Traditions
• 1 1/2 c. steel cut oats
• 1 1/2 c. filtered water
• 1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or yogurt or whey)
• 1 Tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds
• 1 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
• 1 Tbsp. shredded coconut, unsweetened
For cooking & dressing:
• 1 1/2 c. filtered water
• 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
• 1 Tbsp. hemp seed
• cinnamon, to taste
• ground ginger, to taste
• dash of ground nutmeg
• 1/4 c. raisins
• yogurt or kefir
• fresh or frozen fruit (bananas, berries, etc.)
• Warm the water in a glass container or bowl until it’s warm but not hot. I do this in the microwave, but a tea kettle could work just as well.
• Add in the apple cider vinegar or yogurt/kefir/whey. Mix well. This is the acidic medium that will help take care of the phytic acid.
• Mix in the oatmeal, coconut, pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds.
• Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or cloth napkin. Place the bowl in a warm spot, if you can (e.g. on the stove if you’ve just finished making dinner or on top of the fridge if you’re tall enough).
• Let the whole thing soak overnight, at least 8 hours if you can manage. I usually throw this together after dinner dishes are clean or while dinner is cooking, if I think of it.
• Bring water to a boil.
• While you’re waiting for the water to boil, drain & rinse oatmeal mixture that’s been soaking. Rinsing reduces any sour taste, if that’s important to you.
• Add the oatmeal mixture to the boiling water. Reduce heat, cover & (this is the best part) cook for 5 minutes. (Yes, you read that correctly… five minutes & your steel-cut oatmeal is done!)
• Remove from heat & add the spices, flax & hemp seeds, & raisins.
• Serve it up with yogurt/kefir (protein), molasses (sweetener & iron), & fruit. Or with whatever you want (maple syrup is, of course, a big hit).