The healthiest foods are usually the least processed versions, which retain more of their nutrients. They often taste better, to boot. In the case of oats, while there’s little nutritional difference between instant, rolled, and steel-cut oats, the latter (least processed) have a lower glycemic index, and therefore take the laurels for both healthiest and tastiest.
The rap on steel-cut oats is that they take so long to cook; upwards of 25 minutes, compared with just 5 minutes for rolled oats and about a minute for instant. But by planning ahead, you can enjoy the wonderfully nutty flavor and texture of steel-cut oatmeal while bypassing that long spell on the stove.
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 3 cups water
- 2/3 cup dried fruit (raisins, apricots, figs, apples, and/or goji berries)
- fresh fruit, as desired (berries, sliced banana or peaches, &c.
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- a handful of toasted sunflower seeds
- 1 Tbs ground flax seeds
- dairy or non-dairy milk or cream, if desired (my preference is almond-coconut milk)
The evening before you want to serve oatmeal, place oats, water, and dried fruit in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, turn off the heat, and let stand on the stove overnight. The next morning, bring back to a low simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent scorching. It may be ready to serve as is, or you might want to cook it for another minute or two, uncovered, to obtain your preferred consistency.
When oatmeal is ready, stir in the nuts and seeds and top with fresh fruit. Ladle into two bowls, serving the milk on the side.