In my crusade to revamp our breakfast routine, I’ve discovered yet another dish my kids adore. In fact, we made this one on a Monday, and I’d hoped to have some leftover for later on in the week, but my kids polished it off in a single sitting. I promise you, it wasn’t that they were starving…it was just THAT good. Think scrumptious, maple-sweetened oatmeal atop a thick layer of bananas and plump, tart blueberries. Yum!
This dish comes from Melanie over at Nutritious Eats. Melanie is a mom to three young children and a registered dietitian who believes in healthful, flavorful, whole foods. I’ve bookmarked several of her recipes I can’t wait to try. I also love her website for meal planning ideas. Each Sunday, she posts her healthy meal plan for the week and invites followers to post theirs as well. Hop on over to her site and check it out.
Now, the second time I made this recipe I decided to soak the oatmeal overnight, and it made for a thicker, creamier bake. And maybe it’s just in my head, but it seemed to fill us up more too. Soaking oats softens the kernels, giving them a creamy texture and also can make them more digestible.
Societies that depend on whole grains as a significant part of their diet soak their grains to reduce phytic acid content – an acid contained in the outer layer of the bran that, when untreated, can bind with minerals and block their absorption during digestion. Absent this method, these societies might likely suffer from nutritional deficiencies given the makeup of their diets.
For those of us not so dependent on whole grains, it may not be necessary, but it can still be beneficial. Soaking grains is also said to help break down gluten to make it more digestible as well. Traditional foodists who advocate the soaking of grains suggest soaking in a warm acidic liquid anywhere from 7 to 24 hours to neutralize phytic acid and increase the nutritional benefit of whole grains. For more information on soaking whole grains, see Soaking Whole Grains: Why Do It at Kitchen Stewardship.
Baked Banana and Blueberry Oatmeal
Adapted from: Melanie Flinn, Nutritious Eats
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans, chopped and lightly toasted (optional)*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
*I didn’t have pecans on hand, but I did have flax seeds so I topped mine with a tablespoon or so for an added boost of nutrition.
Optional: Combine oats in a bowl with 1 cup filtered water and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to sit at room temperature overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease an 11×7 or 1 and 1/2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray (I used butter).
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients – the oats, half of the pecans (optional), the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients – the maple syrup, milk, egg, melted butter, and the vanilla.
Place the sliced banana pieces in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish, and then sprinkle about half a cup of the blueberries over the top of the bananas.
Cover the blueberries with the oat mixture and then pour the milk mixture over the oats, distributing evenly. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and pecans (or flax seed) over the top of the oats.
Bake the oatmeal for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the oats have set. Remove the oatmeal from the oven. Let cool and serve.
Leftovers reheat great, so this is an excellent option to bake ahead on a Sunday and reheat on weekday mornings when you’re pressed for time.
You Might Also Like: