Steel-Cut Oatmeal

I topped mine with a dollop of cashew butter and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

It’s a new year, and time for some new recipes. I’m trying out a different style of eating and cooking, thanks to this book:

Mark Bittman's VB6 plan is a compromise--while most meals are vegan, there's plenty of freedom to eat whatever foods you crave.
Mark Bittman’s VB6 plan is a compromise–while most meals are vegan, there’s plenty of freedom to eat whatever foods you crave.

I’d read about Vegan Before 6 (VB6) around the blogosphere, and finally read the book for myself this past week. While I can’t see myself ever going fully vegan or even vegetarian, but Mark Bittman’s plan of eating more vegetables and fewer (but higher quality) animal products makes a whole lot of sense.

The basic premise of VB6 is that you eat vegan meals based around whole foods–fruits, vegetables and whole grains–for most of the day, and then whatever you want for one meal. You can have that omnivorous meal after 6 (as dinner) or at some other point throughout the day.

Although Bittman originally came up with this plan as a way to lose weight, I was interested in it as a way to eat healthier and learn how to be a less dependent on factory-farmed meat and dairy products. Other benefits are eating fewer processed foods, cooking more at home, and getting nutrients from more natural sources.

I scored this canister of steel-cut oats for under $3 at Aldi!
I scored this canister of steel-cut oats for under $3 at Aldi!

So far, decreasing my dairy intake has been my biggest change. That’s why this breakfast recipe uses unsweetened almond milk rather than my usual skim. The almond milk has fewer calories and more fiber than regular milk, and the fat helps keep me full until lunch time. I like to make up a big batch of these steel-cut oats on the weekend and heat them up for breakfast throughout the week. (Add a little extra liquid–more milk or water–and then heat portions in the microwave.)

Steel-Cut Oatmeal

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats (I used “quick-cooking,” which is a bit of a misnomer)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
  • Honey or brown sugar to taste, optional

Steps

  1. Heat the water in a covered saucepan until it boils. Stir in the the oats. Turn the heat to low and simmer.
  2. When the water is low enough that you can see the oats, add the raisins. This gives them time to soak up some water and rehydrate, though you can add them later if you like them chewier.
    Add the raisins when you can see the oats near the surface.
    Add the raisins when you can see the oats near the surface.

    Continue to cook until the oats are tender. This could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. I used “quick-cooking” steel-cut oats which were supposed to cook up in 5-7 minutes; it took closer to 20.

  3. When the oatmeal has almost reached the consistency you want, stir in the cinnamon. Turn off the heat and let it sit for a minute (the oats will absorb a bit more liquid).

    Add the cinnamon when the oats are almost done.
    Add the cinnamon when the oats are almost done.
  4. Then, stir in the almond milk (and sweetener, if using) until the oatmeal is creamy and has reached the desired consistency.
    Add the milk at the end to make the oatmeal nice and creamy.
    Add the milk at the end to make the oatmeal nice and creamy.

    Add more or less milk depending on how you like your oatmeal.
    Add more or less milk depending on how you like your oatmeal.
  5. Top with nuts, fruit, a splash of milk or any other toppings you can think of!
I topped mine with a dollop of cashew butter and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.
I topped mine with a dollop of cashew butter and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

I’ll be exploring more VB6-friendly recipes this year, and hope to share some more with you!

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