Raisin Walnut Baked Oatmeal

My breakfasts tend to be a random assortment of flavors and textures, often involving oats, Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola. While delicious, it is rarely thought out or specific enough to post here as a “recipe.”

Baked oatmeal topped with peanut butter, banana, and chia seeds

Baked oatmeal topped with peanut butter, banana, and chia seeds

A few weeks ago, however, I began imagining a series of “fruit/nut/superfood” oatmeal concoctions, largely based on the ingredients in my pantry. I am using the term “superfood” loosely (it is a vague though trendy term after all), but this element will tyically add a distinctive flavor (like coconut) or a nutritional boost (like maca powder). My Apricot, Cashew, and Coconut oatmeal was the first creation in this series.

On a random Sunday evening after a weekend away from home, I suddenly realized that this series could move beyond a standard bowl of oatmeal, to showcase the plethora of oat-based breakfast options. Thus, this tasty baked oatmeal was quickly whipped together and popped into the oven, ready to be rewarmed on Monday morning.

Baked oatmeal

Baked oatmeal

The fruit/nut/superfood combo featured here is raisins, walnuts, and flax meal–so basically, it’s an oatmeal raisin cookie masquerading as a breakfast food!

Continuing my resolution to learn more about make the ingredients I use, let’s talk briefly about oats and flax.

Oat is a cereal grain, a staple food of Scotland, and commonly used to feed livestock. The oats we eat have been cleaned, hulled, toasted, and often steamed and flattened into “rolled oats.” Steel cut or scottish oats are the oat groats prior to being rolled. The outer casing of the oat is oat bran, which is particularly high in soluble fiber and is believed to lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease. Oats do not contain gluten, so they will not rise in baked goods unless combined with flour.

A slice of oatmeal

A slice of oatmeal

Flax seed is a rich source of Omega-3s, as well as calcium, iron, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin E. It is also high in fiber and a source of antioxidants called “lignans.” The nutrients in flax seed are best absorbed when the seeds are ground into flax meal.

My eye doctor recently recommended that I take a flax oil supplement to help keep my eyes moisturized. While I did buy a bottle of supplements, I have also been trying to eat flax meal once or twice a day. I always prefer to get my vitamins through food as opposed to pills.

Flax meal can be mixed with liquid to form a gelatinous mixture that is a good substitute for eggs in baked goods. While the recipe below is not vegan, you could increase the flax and use it in place of the egg.

plated 2

Peanut butter in the middle!

Raisin Walnut Baked Oatmeal

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons flax meal
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Wet and dry ingredients

Wet and dry ingredients

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients and whisk to incorporate. Stir wet ingredients until dry until just combined. Pour batter into a greased 8×8 (or similarly sized) pan. Bake 25 – 30 minutes.

one piece

Breakfast is served!

While I prefer a bowl of oats to the baked variety, it was incredibly convenient to just heat and eat! I will probably try a few variations (with mashed banana, pumpkin, or different dried fruits and nuts) in the near future. This dish would also be great for a brunch party!

plated and pan

Pretty plate!

I love the versatility of oats. They can be sweet or savory, and provide a great canvas for all sorts of flavors. This baked oatmeal spotlights a traditional combination of raisins and walnuts. Next week, I’ll be sharing a recipe for overnight granola flavored with molasses, ginger, and dried figs.

What’s your favorite way to eat oatmeal?

-L

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Massaged Kale Salad with Carrots, Raisins, and Walnuts

Back home in Charlottesville, but not yet back to work, I took advantage of my afternoon at home and planned a lovely lunch recipe to share.

Love my kale!

Love my kale!

This simple salad featured kale, carrots, walnuts, and raisins. The dressing included (among other things) turmeric and Himalayan pink sea salt. As part of my New Year’s resolution to really learn about the foods I eat, today I decided to focus on walnuts, turmeric, and salt.

I perused The New Food Lover’s Companion for basic information on each of these ingredients, and then turned to Google for additional information.

pink salt

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements (including magnesium, calcium and potassium). “It is an unrefined, unprocessed “raw” salt that’s hand-mined from abundant salt caves that were formed 250 million years ago as ocean salt settled in certain geologic pockets around the earth.” (Source)

Ground Turmeric

Ground Turmeric

Turmeric comes from a tropical root that is similar to ginger. Ayurvedic science hails this spice for its natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and blood cleansing properties. It is used to give American-style mustard its distinctive yellow color.

Walnuts

Walnuts

Walnuts are the fruit of the walnut tree. Among all nuts, walnuts pack significantly higher amount omega-3 fatty acids, and are also rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E (Source). Black walnuts and American walnuts are the most common varieties. Once shelled, walnuts keep best in the refrigerator, for up to 6 months.

These ingredients gave my salad a lovely flavor, as well as added nutrition.

Yum!

Yum!

Massaged Kale Salad with Carrot, Raisins, and Walnuts

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ~5 leaves of curly kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 Tablespoon raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • 1/8 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Method

Combine kale and carrot in a large bowl; set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Massage about 3 Tablespoons of the dressing into the  kale and carrot, until the kale leaves soften and turn a darker green, about 2 minutes. Add more dressing if desired. Top with raisins and walnuts.

Lunch is served!

Lunch is served!

The tanginess of the dressing is off-set but the sweet raisins, and the walnuts provide a nice “crunch”. While I enjoyed this salad for lunch with some pita chips, it would also be great as a side dish for dinner, perhaps with some grilled chicken (I’m making myself hungry just imagining this meal…).

Enjoy!

-L