Baked oatmeal that’s healthy and fun, made with ricotta cheese, honey, pecans, Greek yogurt and berries.
Like many of my baked oatmeal recipes, this one is loosely based on a dessert. Actually, it’s based on three desserts.
The first dessert: berry cheesecake. I love cheesecakes with berries, or chocolate, or preferably both. And, as I mentioned in this cheesecake post, I almost always make my cheesecakes with a mixture of ricotta cheese and cream cheese, as this gives the cake a lighter texture. I simply cannot deal with overly dense cheesecakes. Just no.
The second dessert: blueberry pie. Lots of blueberry, a hint of cinnamon, and a tender pie crust – what’s not to love?
The third dessert: toasted banana bread with ricotta and honey. Wait, is that a dessert? Eh, close enough. Anyway, toasted (or un-toasted) banana bread is delicious with a generous schmear of ricotta cheese, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey. Actually, this is also delicious even if you use regular toast (or a bagel) instead of banana bread.
So, I combined these three ideas into one breakfast.
The baked oatmeal sits on top of a layer of blueberries, which reminds me of blueberry pie (or blueberry cobbler). I used frozen blueberries, but I’m sure fresh ones would work too. Since there are a bunch of blueberries on the bottom of this breakfast, be careful when transferring slices/pieces into bowls – the bottom of this oatmeal is very juicy!
As a slight homage to my beloved ricotta-topped banana bread, the oatmeal itself is flavored with ricotta cheese, honey and a little cinnamon – plus vanilla bean paste, because that stuff is darn delicious.
To add a little crunchiness, like the base of a cheesecake, chopped pecans are speckled throughout the oatmeal. The mixture of ricotta cheese, Greek-style yogurt, milk and eggs also gives the baked oatmeal a soft and slightly creamy texture – another nod to my favorite ricotta cheesecake.
This is one of those fairly easygoing recipes where you can substitute ingredients without causing a major disaster. If you don’t have ricotta cheese, try cottage cheese or quark cheese instead. No blueberries? Try chopped apples, blackberries, raspberries or sliced peaches. Don’t like honey? Use maple syrup or another liquid sweetener. And if don’t have pecans, try another type or nut, or pumpkin seeds, or even chocolate chips.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter what kind of milk you use in this recipe. Cow’s milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk… it’s all good.
This breakfast can also be stored in the fridge and easily reheated throughout the week. Simply put your slice of cold oatmeal in a bowl, pour over a little bit of milk, and microwave until warm (about 1 – 2 minutes, depending on your wattage).
Last of all, here’s something completely off-topic: the White House Thanksgiving dinner featured six types of pie! I have no idea how many people were present at President Obama’s last Thanksgiving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but whoever was there was pretty lucky. The dessert selection consisted of apple pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, banana cream pie, coconut cream pie and pecan pie.
I’m not sure how a dessert-lover could have decided which pie to have. Personally, I would’ve wanted to take a spoonful of each. (But something tells me that kind of tomfoolery would be frowned upon, especially at the White House).
Fun Fact: It would take a line of over 10 billion pecans to reach the moon.
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup (80g) Greek-style yogurt
- ⅓ cup (80g) ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup (70g) honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (200g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (55g) chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup (180mL) milk
- 2 ½ cups (12 ½ oz / 355g) fresh or frozen blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Add the yogurt, ricotta cheese, honey, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon and salt, and whisk until relatively smooth.
- Mix in the rolled oats, chopped pecans, baking powder and baking soda. Add the milk, and mix until well combined.
- Spread 2 cups (10 oz / 280g) of the blueberries evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Pour the oatmeal batter over the blueberries, and smooth out the batter with a spoon (or spatula). Scatter the remaining ½ cup (2 ½ oz / 75g) of blueberries across the top of the batter.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the oatmeal is golden brown and reasonably firm when touched.
- Let the oatmeal cool in the dish for 5 minutes before serving, if possible. Enjoy the oatmeal by itself, or with steamed milk and an extra drizzle of honey.
When done, the oatmeal should ‘spring back’ when touched – if your finger leaves an indent, it’s not done yet.
Recipe inspired by Cookie + Kate.