This lean, green vanilla bean steel cut oatmeal is a breakfast all-star! It is the perfect way to sneak some extra veggies in at breakfast.
I apologize in advance for how scary these oats look. That’s why I put allllll of the toppings on them.
No really, I know they look terrifying but they are really delicious. Just trust me on this. You know I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
So how did I get here? Putting these bowls of green oatmeal in front of you so you could give me the side eye. Whole Foods made me do it. On the weekends, Whole Foods hot bar is my go-to. The boyfriend’s apartment is dangerously close to Whole Foods, and nearly every weekend when it comes to breakfast we hit up the hot bar. It is just so addicting. A little while back, they had a prepared oatmeal that caught my eye. I love reading the ingredient list at the hot bar because 1) I want to know what I’m eating and 2) I get a lot of good recipe inspiration from their flavor combinations. As you may have guessed, the oatmeal that caught my eye was green thanks to some good old spinach.
When I scooped some into a cup, E gave me the same side-eye you’re giving me right now. I was just too intrigued not to have some! As expected, it was delicious vanilla-y oatmeal that just so happened to have spinach in it. Aside from the green color it was undetectable. It was only a matter of time before I had to make some for myself.
I have a few tips for successfully putting greens in foods that don’t traditionally have them. In order for this to work you must do the following:
- You have to blend the spinach with a lot of liquid. You have to have to have to. Please do not try to put some sad, dry spinach in a blender and puree it. You will have gnarly spinach chunks, and a bowl of sadness instead of oatmeal. Take all of the liquid you intend to cook your oats in, throw it in the blender with your spinach and blend, baby blend.
- You need to use a good blender. I’m not bougie enough to be in the Vitamix/Blendtec club quite yet so please don’t feel like you need to be either. But if your blender can’t give you a smooth, decent smoothie you are going to want to reconsider some things here. I used my Nutribullet and it worked great. If you don’t have a very strong blender, you can try blending for a while to really give the spinach time to break down. Then run the mixture through a strainer before cooking your oatmeal in it.
You follow these tips, and you can put spinach in just about anything. I promise.
All right now that I may have finally won you over, you are going to think I’m crazy again. Let’s talk about saving our green oats for meal prep. If I’m eating cooked oats, they need to be steel cut as cooked rolled oats don’t do it for me. But I also don’t have time to cook steel cut oats in the morning before work and I suspect you may not either.
Pro tip: pre-make steel cut oatmeal and scoop it into a silicone muffin pan. Then stick that bad boy in the freezer for a few hours until the oats have set and are frozen. Pop them out of the muffin pan and save them in freezer bags. When you’re ready to eat, put two oat blocks in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat. BOOM. CLAP. You have easy steel cut oats that are ready in an instant and won’t explode in the microwave.
Then, just add toppings and enjoy. Yaaaaaaas honey, yaaaaaaas.
So if you’re feeling adventurous or are a weirdo like me and are drawn to green food, give these a try!
- ½ Cup Quick-Cooking Steel Cut Oats*
- ¾ Cup Water
- ¾ Cup Almond or Coconut Milk
- 1 Cup Fresh Spinach
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 1 Mashed Banana
- 1 Teaspoon Chia Seeds
- Pods from ½ of a Vanilla Bean, or 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Optional Toppings: Banana, blueberries, additional milk, chia seeds, etc.
- Combine spinach, water and almond milk in a blender and process until completely blended. The mixture should be completely smooth and there should be no chunks of spinach. Transfer mixture to a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Add in steel cut oats and stir until combined. Reduce heat and cover, stirring occasionally until cooked through. I used quick-cooking steel cut oats, so this took about 5 minutes.
- Once the oats are cooked, add the banana, maple syrup, vanilla bean and chia seeds. Stir until all ingredients are mixed into the oats and the oats are fluffy.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately, or scoop into a muffin tin to freeze.
- What are some of your favorite ways to sneak veggies into meals?
- What is your favorite item to get from the Whole Foods hot bar?