Spring might be here on the calendar but mornings are still chilly. Instead of my frozen fruit and protein smoothie, I was craving something warm to start my day. The solution? Steel-cut oats. But being used to a high protein smoothie, how could oatmeal do the job? Here’s how.
Steel cut oats have 7 grams of protein per dry ¼ cup (44 grams) serving, so the oats alone are a good start for a high-protein breakfast. Add 1½ tablespoons (15 grams) of hemp seeds, and that adds 5 grams of protein. For even more protein, double the hemp seeds. Gain a bit more with the almond milk, and you have a healthy, high-protein breakfast that comes from whole grain and plant-based sources.
Hemp Seeds: Complete Plant-Based Protein
Grown for thousands of years, hemp seeds are known as one of nature’s most perfect foods. Like many other seeds that we eat like grains (think of quinoa), hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Hemp seeds provide complete protein, meaning it has all of the essential amino acids as well as magnesium, iron and zinc. Another benefit, hemp seeds supply an ideal balance of omega-3 and omegs-6 fatty acids.
Easy Overnight Steel-Cut Oats
I’ve tried a few ways of cooking steel cut oats. The best technique so far was one I found on TheKitchn. They suggested cooking them a bit the night before and allowing them to stand all night on the stove. Worked great. I had perfectly creamy steel cut oats in the morning. If you follow this simple technique, you will be happy at breakfast time.
In a 2-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Add 1 cup of steel cut oats and cook the oats for a few minutes, until they smell toasty. Add water and bring to a full boil. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and move to a cool burner. Allow the oats to stand overnight on the stove. They turn creamy and wonderful while you are sleeping.
Breakfast is Ready
In the morning (about 10 hours later), I scooped out a portion of oats, heated them up, and then added the hemp seed, almond milk (homemade is best, here is my recipe) and a few dried cranberries. You can add a sprinkle of nuts, a drizzle of honey or raw coconut sugar, a bit of toasted coconut or fresh berries. Be sure to add the hemp seed, because it pumps up the protein and adds nice texture and flavor.
1 cup of dry steel-cut oats (176 grams) is enough for 4 servings. Cook oats in just the water. Heat a portion for breakfast and add your goodies. Refrigerate the rest of your oats for the next day. Unlike rolled oats, steel-cut oats just get creamier when re-heated. They don’t turn into wall paper paste. A healthy, high-protein breakfast is within reach even on time-crunched mornings.
Steel cut oats: I buy Bob’s Red Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats in the blue label bag. Oats do not naturally contain gluten, but because these are packaged in a facility that also handles wheat, they cannot be labeled as gluten-free. We follow a gluten-free diet but are not sensitive to gluten, so for us, these work well. If you are sensitive to gluten, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel cut oats.
Shelled hemp seeds: For the hemp seeds, I purchase Navitas Naturals which are available at health-oriented markets as well as online. Navitas Naturals brand is certified organic, raw and gluten-free. Bob’s Red Mill also offers hulled hemp seeds, but they are not certified gluten-free or organic. Choose what is best for you.
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Hemp Seeds and Dried Cranberries
Serves 4 (but make the full amount and heat up the extra through the week)
Steel cut oats
- 1-2 teaspoons coconut oil (or other healthy, neutral-flavored oil)
- 1 cup (176 grams) organic steel cut oats
- 3 cups filtered water
Additions Per Serving
- 1 1/2 – 3 tablespoons (15 – 30 grams) organic hemp seeds
- Almond milk (or other milk, however much you prefer)
Options (customize to your heart’s desire)
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- small handful of fresh berries
- A drizzle of honey
- a small sprinkle of raw coconut sugar
- 1/2 sliced banana
- a sprinkle of chopped walnuts
- a sprinkle of raw toasted coconut
- In a 2 quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the coconut oil until melted and hot. Add steel cut oats and cook over medium heat, stirring, until toasty smelling, about 3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a full boil, stir the oats, cover and remove from the heat. Allow oats to stand on a cool burner overnight.
- For 4 portions: Heat the oats in the pot over low heat stirring in your milk. Place in bowls, add hemp seeds and any options. Serve warm.
- For 1-2 portions: Scoop out a quarter to half of the oats and heat with almond milk. Stir in hemp seeds. Add any preferred options. Refrigerate what is left for another day
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