Welcome compassionate women (and men)! This is my first post on the blog and I thought I’d start with a recipe because I love to cook, and more importantly, I love to eat. Some people claim that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped. I’ve heard other nutritionists say that if you aren’t hungry in the morning, don’t force yourself to eat. I can see both sides, but me personally, I’m usually starving when I wake up. And sometimes finding a vegan and gluten free breakfast that is filling can be difficult.
Why vegan? Because animal protein causes a wide array of serious health issues and equally as important, animals must suffer for us to consume it. Why gluten free? Because gluten is a silent killer. It’s a substance that when consumed on a regular basis and over time, causes just as many health problems as animal protein. Gluten and animal protein are both inflammatory. When you’re body becomes inflamed, it causes everything from cancer to heart disease to diabetes to IBS to acne to everything in between to arise. It’s pretty crazy. The good news is, I have a healthy and delicious breakfast recipe to share with you all. There’s no animal protein and there’s no gluten. Just yummy, insanely nutritious plant based food. Plus, it’s quick and easy. Ready? Let’s get started!
One of the first foods I discovered several ago when I first decided to go vegan and gluten free was steel cut oats. They’ve been described as a tastier, heartier version of oatmeal. I’ve never been a fan of oatmeal, but I was hearing such rave reviews about steel cuts oats that I decided to give them a try. You can buy them in bulk at pretty much any natural foods store, as wells as bigger chains like Whole Foods and Central Market. I used to buy them at Austin’s largest grocery store chain HEB. They are stinkin’ cheap too. I eat steel cut oats practically every morning, and a month’s supply costs me less than $5. In fact, it probably cost me about $3. Can’t beat that. When I’m feeling organized, I like to transfer them from the plastic bag you put them in at the store to a mason jar, and then I store it in the fridge to improve freshness.
The only trick with steel cut oats is that you must soak them in water overnight (or for at least 7 hours). Why? Because when you soak them, the water breaks down the acidic barrier on the outside of the oats, therefore allowing your body to consume the full nutrients inside. You don’t HAVE to soak them, but why eat them if your body won’t be able to absorb the nutrients? Otherwise, you’re just eating filler food as I call it. Once you get used to soaking, it becomes second nature. Every night before I go to bed, I measure out my oats, put them in a container (preferably glass so the oats aren’t absorbing any chemicals from plastic containers), fill it up with water, and put on a lid on it. In the morning when I’m ready to cook them, I just strain the oats in a sieve and they are good to go!
Just to give you a quick breakdown on how great steel cut oats are for you… they contain fiber (very very important), protein, and iron. Most people don’t know they can get all the protein and iron they need humanely from plants! But the multimillion dollar meat and dairy industries would be out of business if people knew this… But that’s for another post.
Now you’re ready to cook your outs. It’s super easy. You cook them in a 1:2 ratio of oats to water. So if you have 1 cup of oats, you cook them in 2 cups of water. I soak and cook 1/3 cup of steel cut oats. I find that’s about one serving size. Just bring your water to a boil, toss the drained and rinsed oats in, and cook them on a med-low heat until the water is absorbed, which is anywhere from 15-25 minutes. You don’t need to cover the oats while they’re cooking.
When they’re done, they should be fluffy. I like to put just a dab of plant based butter like the Earth Balance brand, some organic brown sugar, stir it together and voila! A delicious breakfast that gives you nutrients and energy. There’s also a lot of room for creativity with this dish. Sometimes I sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg on it. You can use maple syrup or a sweetener like Stevia. Fresh fruit is delicious as a topping, as is coconut whipped cream. A jam without corn syrup would be tasty, as would chia seeds, chia jam, or chia pudding. Chopped nuts, vegan chocolate, dried fruit – the possibilities are endless!
- ⅓ cup steel cut oats (soaked in water overnight)
- ⅔ cups water
- 1 tsp Earth Balance
- 1-2 tbsp organic brown sugar
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk (I use the Trader Joe brand. It says 'coconut cream' on it)
- Splash of vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup
- Steel Cut Oats Breakfast Cereal: Drain and rinse the soaked oats. Bring water to a boil. Add oats and lower heat to med-low. Let the oats simmer uncovered until all water is absorbed, anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Serve in bowl. I recommend stirring in a plant based butter (such as Earth Balance) and organic brown sugar.
- Coconut Whipped Cream: Let your can of coconut milk sit in the fridge overnight or longer so it solidifies a bit. When you are ready to make your whipped cream, take the can out of the fridge. Empty the contents into a bowl. Usually the bottom part of the can is where the excess water/milk goes. Leave that out, you just want the solidified parts. You can use the watery milk in smoothies if you like. Add your vanilla and maple syrup to the bowl and use an electric beater to whip the coconut milk until it takes on the consistency of whipped cream. I use the highest setting and it takes me about 5 minutes on and off until it’s done.
That’s it. You’ve got vegan whipped cream. In my opinion, it tastes better than the dairy version. Store it covered in the fridge. It lasts about 5 days. I use it for my breakfast cereal, I put it in my coffee and black tea, and in my vegan homemade frappucinos. Sometimes I give my dogs a tiny taste and they love it too (coconut is good for their coats).
Let me know how this delicious breakfast (you can eat it any time of day!) works out for you, and if you come up with any yummy variations on it.