Nothing says fall like pumpkin. Its creamy texture is absolutely perfect for a steaming bowl of oatmeal on a cool autumn morning. You’ll get a hearty dose of slow-burning complex carbs and filling fiber plus a powerful antioxidant punch from the beta-carotene and vitamins A and C in the pumpkin, not to mention potassium.
There are several different types of oats. Steel-cut oats (sometimes called Irish or Scottish oats) are made by cutting the whole groat into pieces without any rolling or pressing. These take the longest to cook. Rolled oats (sometimes called old-fashioned oats) are steamed to soften and then flattened into a round shape. They cook a lot more quickly and are extremely versatile. They absorb liquid evenly and tend to retain their shape well. Instant oats (sometimes called “quick oats”) are the most processed variety. They are pre-cooked, dried, and then pressed and rolled so they cook very quickly. Because of their small size and quick cooking time, they tend to get mushy easily.
This recipe calls for rolled oats, but feel free to use instant or steel cut—just note that cooking times will vary.
Most packages of rolled and instant list 1/2 a cup dry oats as a serving (1/4 cup for steel cut), but if you’re looking to boost fiber or want to make the texture more interesting without upping the calories too much, use 1/3 cup (3 tablespoons if using steel cut) and add a tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flax. You’ll also get a dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
For added protein, fiber, and healthy fats, top your bowl off with pumpkin seeds or your favorite nut or seed butter. A drizzle of maple syrup (1 teaspoon, max) adds a touch of sweetness.
⅓ cup rolled oats
1 cup water
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the oats, spices, flax, and pumpkin.
2. Allow to simmer until liquid is almost fully absorbed and texture is uniform (with rolled oats, about 7 minutes, about 3 with instant).
1. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix water, oats, spices, flax, and pumpkin.
2. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals until cooked through, stirring between to prevent clumping.
3. Top with desired toppings and enjoy.
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, health coach, and writer with a passion for helping others experience a happier, calmer life and a balanced relationship with food. For those in need of some healthy-eating inspiration, Jess created five day's worth of delicious make-ahead lunches to make it even easier to eat well on a busy day. For more information on Jess, check out her website and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Main Photo Credit: JeniFoto/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Yuliya Gontar/shutterstock.com