Start your morning right with a warm, creamy bowl of steel cut oats with kefir and fresh berries. Read on, or jump straight to the recipe, HERE.
I like rolled oats, but I also get tired of them really quickly. After a few breakfasts, I’m ready for something else. Anything else.
But somehow, steel cut oats are different. Maybe it’s a texture thing, but to me, there’s nothing better on a chilly morning than the mild, nutty flavor of steel cut oats mixed with tangy-sweet kefir and berries.
I can eat these for days and days and never get bored. Which is a good thing, because I love making a big batch at the beginning of the week for quick, easy breakfasts. One of my resolutions for the new year is to become more of a morning person. Turns out, the key to waking up earlier? Meal prep.
Because THIS I can get out of bed for:
When my dad was in the hospital a couple years ago, I stayed there day and night for close to a month. Every morning I woke up to the dusky sky outside the window of the ICU, wandered down to the cafeteria, and got myself a bowl of oats.
You can say what you will about hospital food, but this place had incredible steel cut oats. And the hospital staff knew it. If you weren’t there before nine, the giant batch they made fresh each morning would be gone. I learned that early on and for that month, I became a morning person just so I could get there in time and get my bowl of cozy steel cut oatmeal.
I have actually considered going back JUST FOR THE OATS. Is that crazy? Who goes to a hospital for the food?!
The hospital served up it’s steel cut oats simply, with just a packet of brown sugar and some dried cranberries or walnuts if you asked nicely. It was warm, sweet comfort in a styrofoam cup, and for those desolate days in the ICU, it was the glue that held my spirits together.
Now, I make them at home. They’re easy and simple, and still just as comforting as I remember.
I like to dress up my bowl just a little with a handful of fresh or frozen fruit, some nuts or seeds for crunch, and a splash of kefir. Using kefir in place of milk or cream is my current favorite way to enjoy my oats in the morning. It’s rich and creamy, with just a touch of tanginess that I really like. Plus, it’s a great way to get a few probiotics in my belly each morning. (Pills? No thanks.)
A few weeks back my friend Joyce gave me some of her kefir grains (the little micro-orgnaisms that make kefir), and it blew my mind how easy it was to make delicious and probiotic rich kefir at home. You can find her directions for doing it yourself right here: Homemade Milk Kefir.
If you’re not up for that, no worries — you can still make this using store-bought kefir and it will be delicious. I recommend buying plain, unsweetened kefir and sweetening it yourself, according to your tastes. I like mine with a little drizzle of pure maple syrup, but you could also use a few drops of stevia, a touch of honey, or a sprinkling of coconut sugar. Whatever kind of sweetener you like will do.
- 1 cup steel cut oats (look for certified gluten-free if you have a gluten intollerance)
- 3 cups water
- pinch of salt
- fresh or frozen fruit / berries (I used blueberries and raspberries, but any fruit will work)
- a handful of sliced almonds, pepitas, hemp seeds, or other nut/seed (you could even use a little of your favorite granola -- I'm a fan of this Honey & Hazelnut Granola)
- unsweetened kefir, homemade or store-bought
- drizzle of maple syrup, sprinkling of coconut sugar, a few drops of stevia, or any other sweetener you like, to taste
- Add the oats to a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Allow to toast, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook for about 25 minutes, or until the oats are tender enough for your liking. (The oats will thicken up as they cool -- if you prefer them a bit more porridgy, add a splash more water, or some milk or dairy-free alternative.)
- Serve with berries, nuts/seeds (or a handful of granola), a splash of kefir, and any sweetener you like, to taste. Dig in!
P.S., my friend Aysegul just shared a post on her blog about making steel cut oats in a slow cooker. She has a genius technique that allows you to get the oats cooking before bed, and then wake up to warm, perfectly creamy porridge in the morning. If that sounds more appealing than cooking it on the stove, you can find her blog post and directions here: Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats | Foolrpoof Living.