Spring might be here on the calendar but mornings are still chilly. Instead of my usual frozen berry and protein smoothie, I needed something warm to start my day. The solution was steel cut oatmeal with hemp seeds and dried cranberries for sweetness. Try it to get your morning started.
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.
Cooking Steel Cut Oats: Safe and Not Safe
I’ve tried a few ways of cooking steel cut oats. One technique I found was on TheKitchn. They suggested cooking them the night before and allowing them to stand all night on the stove. While it works (I tested it), I have concerns about it from a food safety standpoint. If you choose to cook your oats this ways, beware of the risks. Allowing the pan to stand all night on the stove, unrefrigerated, risks pathogens growing in your oatmeal. Not what you want for breakfast.
The safest ways to cook steel cut oats is to cook them according to package directions, slowly until they are creamy, then cool and refrigerate. Most packages have directions for cooking steel cut oats in a slow cooker as well. This method is safe because a slow-cooker maintains a constant, safe temperature. If you want to cook them overnight, this is the best option. Cooked oats will last 4-5 days in the refrigerator, covered.
Breakfast is Ready
In the morning scoop a portion of oats into a small bowl. Add a little milk of your choice, homemade almond, coconut, dairy, rice, etc. cover and microwave at 70% power for a minute or two and test for heat. Stir and continue as needed. You can also place oats and milk in a small saucepan and heat over low temperature, covered, until hot. Stir occasionally so they don’t stick or burn.
To your heated oats add the hemp seed 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. Unlike rolled oats, steel-cut oats 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. If you are sensitive to gluten, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel cut oats.
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Hemp Seeds and Dried Cranberries
Steel cut oats
- 1 cup organic steel cut oats
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1 pinch sea salt
Customizable Options Per Serving
- 1 1/2 tablespoons organic hemp seeds
- Almond milk as needed
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 handful fresh berries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon raw coconut sugar
- 1/2 sliced banana
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes or thread
- 1 tablespoon coconut butter
- Cook steel cuts oats according to package directions, either on the stove top in a pan or in a slow cooker (overnight). If you cook them on the stove top, cool within 1-2 hours and refrigerate covered.
- In the morning, place cooked oats in a small bowl, cover and microwave until hot or heat oats in a small pot over low heat, covered, with milk, stirring occasionally so they do not stick and burn. Place in bowls, add hemp seeds and any options. Serve warm.