Have you tried steel cut oats? Sometimes also called “Irish oats”, steel cut oats when cooked generally have a chewy, al dente texture and a nutty taste. They are oat groats, or oat kernels with no husk, that have been cut into smaller, coarse pieces using a steel blade. Size-wise, they remind me of tiny Acini di pepe pasta.
Like their cousins rolled and instant oats, steel cut oats are a blank canvas for adding different flavors and ingredients. You can cook steel cut oats longer to make them a little more softer and creamier, as I usually do, but don’t expect them to fall apart and turn to mush as instant oats would when cooked. Of course, adding a pat of butter or a touch of cream when cooking would help add creaminess and richness, as well.
Much like my recipe for banana-pecan oatmeal, this one requires a couple more steps than just opening a package of instant oatmeal, adding water, and heating—but it’s still very easy to make, and the results taste much better than what comes in a package.
Toasted coconut here adds a nice chewy texture and flavor that compliments the oats, and coconut milk happens to be my favorite non-dairy milk alternative. The debate is hot about whether or not coconut, specifically coconut oil, often used as a butter replacement in baked goods in vegan diets in addition to having a number of other uses, is good for you. Much like similar debates about eggs in years past and other foods as “good” or “bad” for you, the key more-so lies in eating a balanced and well-portioned diet. (Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or medical professional, so if you have any concerns about your diet or nutrition, consult one as appropriate.)
If you don’t have currants, dried pineapple is a great replacement and one that also adds a tropical twist. When heated up first with the water and other ingredients before the oats are added, the dried currants soften and plump up again. This is a trick I love using when putting dried fruit into recipes, like oatmeal or baked goods. On a final note, I frequently add flaxseeds or flaxseed meal to my cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, and baked goods for extra fiber. You can reduce or omit, if your body doesn’t like or want the added fiber.
To make this a vegan recipe, omit the butter added later in the process. Calculating the ingredients (except the water, vanilla, and cinnamon which don't add significant calories or nutrition) with MyFitnessPal, one serving is about 360 calories, 15 g fat, 8 g fiber, 9 g protein, 166 mg sodium, and 52 carbs.
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup toasted coconut milk
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (add more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 1 tbsp flax seed meal
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp toasted coconut
- 1 tbsp Irish butter (suggested: Kerry Gold reduced fat Irish butter) (optional)
- Pinch of salt
In a small pot, add water, coconut milk, currants, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a simmer before adding the oats.
Add oats, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until the oats have softened and absorbed most of the liquid.
Add the vanilla, Irish butter, and coconut; stir. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes.
Serve topped with more toasted coconut.