I find a hot bowl of oatmeal to be so comforting on these cold autumn mornings and to make things more fun and less bland, I have fun with my toppings and flavors to keep me fuller and satisfied longer. For about three years now, I've been adding a thickened chia gel for an additional boost of fiber, omega 3s, protein and of course texture. I honestly don't remember a day I didn't add chia seeds to my oatmeal! I just love those little seeds. Anyway, this oatmeal was real special to me because it cherished the true flavors and my favorite fruit of the season: apples! By roasting the apples with cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg they develop a lovely dimension of texture and flavor. If you're pressed for time the apples in this recipe can be roasted the night before and thrown into the oats at the last five minutes of cooking. This oatmeal is also different because it relies on the use of dried apricots for sweetness and again more texture! (Can't you tell I just love texture?!) If you don't love dried apricots you can easily swap them for dates or simply just add maple syrup to your oats instead. The apricots are great because they get more tender and chewy upon simmering and they add both sweetness and fiber; a nice way to limit excess sugar into your diet.
With that said here's the recipe!
½ cup steel cut oats
1 ½ cup water
½ cup plus 1/3 cup almond milk or milk of choice, divided
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 pieces dried apricot, sliced thin
2 Mutsu apples (Gala, honey crisp and granny smith work here too!), cored and chopped into medium dice
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon plus more for serving
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup chopped pecans for serving
Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat the apples with coconut oil, cardamom and nutmeg; place them on baking sheet and roast about 15 minutes or until tender. While baking the apples bring water and ½ cup almond milk to boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling add steel cut oats, salt and dried apricots to saucepan. Set heat on low, allow the oats to simmer for 15-20 minutes (until the liquid is absorbed and oats are thickened) and stir every now and then. While oats are simmering, in a small bowl combine remaining almond milk and chia seeds and set aside to thicken. As soon as the oats are thickened stir in the roasted apples and chia seed mixture. Allow to simmer for another five minutes. Divide the oatmeal into two bowls and top with remaining roasted apples, chopped pecans and more cinnamon. Enjoy!