Maple syrup, soft apples, a dash of cinnamon and a secret vegetable (yes, really).
I’m maintaining that this is a recipe for everyone! Regardless of whether you’re lamenting the 700th day of winter or accepting the onset of autumn, I think we all need a comforting bowl of goodness. This recipe also has optional salt, so add it generously if you’re a huge salty-sweet fan, or leave it off if you’re not. Alternatively, if you’re uncertain then here’s a third option: make the non-salted version and have some salt on the side so you can add salt to the occasional spoonful. I’ve made this recipe tons of times, and tend to alternate between salted and unsalted depending on how adventurous I’m feeling.
Maple, apple and pecans (or walnuts*) are such an amazing combination. I wish I could say that I invented this oatmeal idea, but I didn’t. This recipe was adapted from The Oatmeal Artist, so I have to given Lauren full credit for this idea.
*Let’s face it, they’re pretty similar. I’ve made this recipe with both, although I use walnuts more often since that’s what I usually have on hand.
As much as I love the original recipe (so you really should check it out), I can’t help but make changes to things. I made the salt optional, used steel-cut oats, made two servings, swapped the pecans for walnuts, added maple syrup into the oatmeal, and included a zucchini.
Since the zucchini is peeled and grated, it doesn’t change the flavor of the oatmeal – don’t worry, it’s still maple and apple all of the way. I didn’t notice the zucchini at all, it’s just there to add more volume to the oatmeal (and if you ask me, the bigger the bowl of oats, the better).
The last recipe I posted – Mexican Hot Chocolate Oatmeal – used rolled oats rather than steel-cut. As much as I loved the Mexican Hot Chocolate Oatmeal, I have to admit that when it comes to stove-top oatmeal, I’m definitely a steel-cut oats devotee.
Steel-cut oats are so much creamier and just all-around more delicious. Steel-cut oatmeal also reheats beautifully in the microwave – unlike rolled oats which often change texture and become kind of weird (at least that’s what I think). This is particularly useful if, like me, you’re frequently photographing your breakfast! Since steel-cut oatmeal reheats so well, I nearly always make two servings so I can keep one in the fridge for the next day.
The other reason why I make two servings is because steel-cut oatmeal takes 20 – 30 minutes to cook (unfortunately). I maintain that it’s worth the wait, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a pain in the ass. I plan to experiment with ways to decrease the cooking time, so hopefully I’ll have a post about that in the next few weeks*.
*Update from the future: I finally got around to it – How To Make Quick-Cooking Steel-Cut Oats!
Do you have a preference between steel-cut and rolled oats?
- For the oatmeal
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 cup almond milk, plus extra if needed
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup steel-cut oats
- Pinch of salt
- 1 red apple
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or maple butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the toppings
- Generous amount of maple syrup
- 2 - 4 tablespoons roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
- Peel and grate the zucchini. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, bring the almond milk and water to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium-low. Add the steel-cut oats, salt and grated zucchini. Stir well.
- Dice the apple and add it to the saucepan. Add the cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- Steel-cut oatmeal generally takes 20 - 30 minutes to cook. As it’s cooking, add more almond milk if it looks as though the oatmeal is drying out.
- Once the oats have softened are are creamy, divide the oatmeal between two bowls. Drizzle (or pour) over some maple syrup and top with the pecans (or walnuts). Enjoy!
In addition to the other toppings, sprinkle a big pinch of coarse salt over each oatmeal.
This recipe can also be made with 1 cup rolled oats. These oats will only take 5 - 10 minutes to cook.
Recipe adapted from The Oatmeal Artist