Let’s talk about stovetop oats. Let me be honest. As a child, there were few things I enjoyed eating less than a bowl of oats porridge. In fact, that sentiment would be putting it very mildly. Something about the gloopy consistency of runny oats reminded me somehow of wet concrete. Attempts at oat consumption were an unpleasant experience. As a result, oats is not something that you would have found on my breakfast meal plan very often, or, in fact, ever.
But that changed a little less than four years ago when my older daughter started solids. Oats in theory seemed like a good breakfast option, especially as we embarked on baby-led weaning. As I read through various recipes, I began to hope that I might find a way to cook oats that I would also like to eat, because part of baby-led weaning is for your kids to eat what you eat!
I first explored overnight oats, as something completely different from cooked. I quite enjoyed it – made with homemade yoghurt, chia seeds and homemade apple butter – but my husband was definitely not a fan. That lead me back to the drawing board, and this oats recipe is what resulted.
There are a few keys to making it different to conventionally cooked oats porridge. The first is the use of rolled or steel-cut oats instead of quick-cooking oats. Naturally, it makes it take longer to cook, but the resulting texture (and nutritional profile) I feel more than makes up for the time.
The second key is to cook it in milk instead of water. This makes it more creamy and less like glue! I confess I have only tried it with dairy, but feel free to use any milk you prefer and let me know how you like it. You can also play around with different ratios of milk and water.
The third key is to cook it over a lower heat. This allows time for the oats to soak up the milk, cook the fruit if you prefer it soft, and stops it from getting stuck to the bottom of the pot.
The final key is in the add-ins. This mitigates to an extent the problems of eating starchy cereal for breakfast! In this version I used apple, cinnamon and pecan nuts. I like to combine a fruit, a nut, some seeds and spice. Here are a few options we enjoy:
- Pear, walnuts, nutmeg, and chia
- Cranberries, macadamia nuts, flaxseed meal and cardamom
- Apricots, sunflower seeds, almonds and a pinch of cloves
Make it your own! Use fresh or dried fruit, whatever seed or nut combo you enjoy or have on hand, and spice it the way you like. Let me know your favourite – I’m always keen to try new ideas.
Yields 3 bowls of porridge
5 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 3/4 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
- 1 1/4 cups milk of choice
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1/4 cup pecan nuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or one cinnamon stick if preferred
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a medium-sized pot
- Cook, stirring often, until all liquid is absorbed and mixture is thick
- Serve with your choice of toppings (we enjoy honey and butter or cream as a treat!)
This is an excellent recipe to use up 'toddler-in-the-house apples'!
- Calories 244
- Total Fat: 8 g 12.31%
- Saturated Fat: 2 g 10%
- Cholesterol: 10 mg 3.33%
- Sodium: 45 mg 1.88%
- Potassium: 268 mg 7.66%
- Total Carbohydrate: 33 g %
- Sugar: 5 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Vitamin A: 3.34%
- Calcium: 146 mg 14.6%
- Iron: 2 mg 11.11%