It’s pumpkin season. And that demands PUMPKIN EVERYTHING, amirite? It’s also oatmeal season. So! Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal: my standard breakfast oatmeal pumpkin-ified. Because I wanted to give you some real food for real days, not a big layer cake or a pie recipe that only has any business being made 1 or 2 days out of the year. Nothing wrong with those—I love feast day food & have a couple of really luscious Thanksgiving recipes in the works! But I’m in a practical mood these days. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom now, and that’s how that (vegan, whole grain) cookie crumbles. Haha. So go build a fire, put on a cozy sweater and cable-knit socks, jump in a pile of burnished leaves, fill every corner of your home with decorative heirloom gourds, and put it all on Instagram. But eat this before you do. Cause it’s #fallyall, and that gives us all permission to get a little basic.
I make oatmeal a lot. Like, a LOT. Especially as the weather cools, it starts to take the place of my other stand by eats: yogurt + granola or avo toast + egg. Usually I make mine with homemade mylk (I like almond, hazelnut, and coconut the best), a little sea salt, a little maple syrup or honey, a pinch of whatever spice I’m feeling (usually nutmeg, maybe cinnamon too), maybe a dash of rose water or orange blossom water if I’m feeling fancy, and a swirl of jam (I like raspberry). For crunch I usually throw on a bit of homemade granola (oat on oat action) or some of my “crunchy morning magic” which is just a mix of bee pollen, cacao nibs, super seeds like chia & hemp, and a few chopped nuts like pistachio or hazelnut or whatever I had on hand. I keep the latter in a jar in my pantry, and it goes great in yogurt bowls, porridge, tops smoothies bowls, etc. When I’m in a savory mood I usually throw in some miso, a bit of lemon or ponzu, and top it with scallion, a soft boiled egg, a tiny drizzle of sesame oil, and some furikake or togarashi.
For this sweater weather pumpkin pie oatmeal, try making a puree from scratch at the beginning of the week and using it in this throughout. You can also throw the puree in pumpkin breads, pumpkin waffle and pancake mixes, and soups if you get sick of this. Which you won’t. You can mix up winter gourds like kabocha, sugar pie pumpkin (my fave), butternut, delicata, and even sweet potato (not a gourd, obvs, but it fits right in). So if you’re a CSA person, use whatever winter gourds & sweet roots come your way! To make a puree I just slice up all my gourds, throw ’em on a sheet tray with a little olive oil and sea salt, and roast them at 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 until they’re mushy and fork tender, about 20 minutes. Scoop out all the flesh and store in the fridge. If you want it really smooth, I throw it in my Vitamix (a mere mortal blender will do, but this thing is a game changer) with just a splash of homemade coconut milk to smooth it out. I prefer a smooth puree. By all means, use a can if you’re short on time. I did for this recipe test. Just make sure you don’t accidentally get pie filling. There shouldn’t be anything other than “pumpkin” on the ingredient list and look for BPA free cans.
Some Porridge Pointers (a.k.a. How to Make Perfect Oatmeal!):
- Mix up your grains with things like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, steel cut oats, what have you. Adjust cooking times as needed. Steel cut oats take forever, just sayin’.
- But I like oats. And keeping my pantry simple. So for me, it’s always quick cooking oats. Not instant oats. But not old fashioned rolled oats either. Quick cooking oats are just rolled oats that have been cut up a bit, which reduces their surface area which, you guessed it, reduces cook time. And I prefer the texture. If you prefer rolled oats, go for it! You might need to cook it a bit longer though.
- Mix up your liquids but don’t use water! Water is sad clown. Whole milk, goat milk, coconut mylk, almond mylk. It’s allllll good. I prefer homemade mylks but if I don’t have time to make them or didn’t think to (read: often), I look for a brand of either whole, local dairy milk or a non-dairy mylk with no weird ingredients (I always read the label). New Barn is an almond mylk I found at Whole Foods with no weird ingredients. You could even try a dashi, broth, or stock for a savory porridge!
- Use a 4: 1 liquid to oat ratio for the creamiest oats. Some people use less, but I think this is juuuust right. It will look like a lot of liquid. But them oats drink it right up.
- As to method: Boil the liquid, then whisk in the oats + seasonings. Reduce to a bare simmer. Cover. Cook 10 min. Stir. Cook another 5-10 minutes. Done. Stir in goodies.
- Don’t eat oatmeal out of a wide bowl. They’ll cool too fast and get all gummy and cold. Gross. A deep bowl or mug will keep the oats on the bottom warm as you work your way to them! My photo in said wide bowl is for styling purposes only.
- Season them! Whether you’re making savory oats or sweet oats, a pinch of salt is always a must. (This is directed at you, dear husband! : )
- Just kidding. He doesn’t read my blog! He lives with me so he gets to hear it all LIVE.
- Jam is the quickest, easiest snazzifier. I always keep one jar of jam in the fridge expressly for this purpose. Sometimes I’m in a blueberry mood, but mostly I’m in a raspberry mood. You do you.
- Add some crunch. I personally don’t need any crunch to love a creamy, comforting bowl of oatmeal, but whether it’s chopped fresh fruit or nuts, from an objective texture point the creaminess benefits from some crunch.