Creamy steel-cut oatmeal with a warm mango topping. Easily vegan, and can be made with frozen mango.
Have you caught the fever yet? Pumpkin fever, that is (hopefully we’ll all avoid the viral or bacterial types). Pumpkin recipes have started popping up all over the place, and the other day my Dad – a certified pumpkin skeptic – even tried a pumpkin spice latte. (That’s saying something, trust me).
And yes, right now there’s a ton of fresh pumpkin purée in my fridge, and I’ve already gone through one-and-a-half jars of pumpkin butter. (That, on the other hand, is not saying something, given that I eat endless amounts of pumpkin all year round).
But before pumpkin takes over entirely, surely there’s still time for some mango-topped oatmeal. Especially given that chocolate’s involved.
If you’re wondering, ‘How on earth do I find a mango during this time of year!?’ then don’t fret because you can use frozen mango instead! Frozen mango is something that I keep in my freezer all year round because (a) I want mango even if it’s the middle of winter; and (b) it’s insanely versatile.
When frozen, mango is incredibly creamy. It makes smoothies taste like thick milkshakes, and can be whirled into one-ingredient ‘ice cream’ just like frozen bananas. (And ‘ice cream’ made with half frozen bananas, half frozen mango is out-of-this-world).
Unlike some frozen fruits (I’m looking at you, berries), frozen mango doesn’t disintegrate when you cook it on the stove. And unlike frozen bananas, it doesn’t turn into goo when you let it defrost. So it’s ideal when you’re after a warm mango topping, but can’t get your hands on the fresh fruit.
For this oatmeal topping, I sliced two frozen mango cheeks and let them defrost before throwing them into a skillet with a little orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla bean goodness. And by ‘throwing them’, I mean ‘transferring them with the greatest of care’, of course. (Cue the shifty eyes).
If all you have are frozen mango chunks, then those should be fine. My guess is that you’d need about one cup of mango cheeks, but it depends on how they’re cut (since this affects how tightly the chunks can be packed into a cup). Since we’re making an oatmeal topping and not some fancy French cake, it won’t be a big drama if the amount of mango chunks you use isn’t precisely equal to two average-sized mango cheeks.
Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to have fresh mango, then I bet that would be delicious.
The oatmeal itself is lightly flavored with cinnamon, orange zest, vanilla bean paste and blackstrap molasses. Vanilla bean paste is a thousand times better than plain old vanilla extract. Not only is the paste more intense, but you can also see the little flecks of vanilla.
The blackstrap molasses aren’t quite as important. If you don’t have any molasses, just add a couple of spoonfuls of brown sugar instead (and leave out the optional maple syrup).
Last of all, there are the chocolate chips. Please don’t leave them out. While mango and chocolate isn’t the most common combination, it’s delicious. Trust me.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup steel-cut oats
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
Vanilla Bean Mango
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¼ teaspoon blackstrap molasses
- 2 mango cheeks, thawed if frozen
- Chocolate chips
- Chopped walnuts
- Oatmeal: 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 and salt, and stir well.
- Stir in the cinnamon, blackstrap molasses and orange zest.
- Gently simmer the oatmeal for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the oats have softened considerably but are not completely cooked. As the oats are cooking, add more almond milk if the oatmeal becomes too dry.
- Add the vanilla bean paste, and sweeten with maple syrup (if using). Continue cooking the oatmeal while preparing the mango topping.
- Vanilla bean mango: In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and blackstrap molasses. Thickly slice the mango cheeks.
- Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Grease with cooking oil spray, and then pour in the orange juice mixture. Let the mixture heat up for 30 seconds, or until it begins to bubble.
- Add the sliced mango and cook for 5 – 10 minutes, or the mango is warm and the liquid has reduced.
- Once the oatmeal is soft and creamy and the mango slices have cooked, divide the oatmeal between two bowls. Top each bowl with half the mango slices, as well as plenty of chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
Milk or dark chocolate chips are both A-OK. To make this breakfast dairy-free and vegan, use dairy-free chocolate chips (many varieties or dark chocolate chips are dairy-free).
Blackstrap molasses give the oatmeal a slight brown sugar taste. If you don’t have this ingredient, replace the optional maple syrup with brown sugar.
Cooking the oatmeal
While cooking the sliced mango, keep an eye on the oatmeal and stir in additional almond milk and/or turn down the stove heat if necessary.