Since Seattle got it’s first taste of decent weather in MONTHS yesterday (and is supposed to rain today), we celebrated early (starting with a great early morning walk). Dinner was a ham from our half of a pig we get yearly from a small farm. We were thinking of giving up our share for next year, but this ham was so good we’re reconsidering. We kept it simple, with some organic asparagus from Whole Foods, sauteed in butter and garlic, and roasted sweet potatoes.

We also celebrated early because, honestly, we wanted to have leftover ham today. Today is going to be a great day for leftovers, what with ham and fritatta and baked oatmeal in our fridge.

I’d been meaning to make baked oatmeal for months, but could never settle on one of the four or five recipes I’d found. So yesterday I turned my kitchen into a lab and combined the bits I liked best from each recipe. I went with steel cut oats instead of regular, soaked or not soaked, buttermilk instead of cow or almond milk and eggs instead of…no eggs. The results were fantastic, kind of a cross between stovetop oatmeal and thick French toast. We served it topped with ground flax seeds, unsweetened coconut, a drizzle of sunflower butter and a few crumbles of chunky granola, for crunch.

Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal
Serves 4-6

8 ounces steel cut oatmeal (by weight) or 1-1/4 cups
1/2 cup walnuts (or nuts of choice)
Water to cover plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, kefir or plain yogurt
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup buttermilk (or milk of choice)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and diced dried apricot)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (if desired)
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil (melted and slightly cooled)
Additional butter or coconut oil for greasing the pan

  1. The night before, put oatmeal and nuts in a glass or ceramic bowl, add enough water to cover them completely, then stir in the salt and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk, kefir or yogurt. Cover and leave to soak overnight (about 8 to 12 hours) at room temperature.
  2. The next morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a pie plate or 8-by-8-inch baking pan.
  3. Drain the excess water out of the bowl. Whisk the buttermilk or milk and the eggs together in a separate bowl until frothy. Add to oats, along with the vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup (if using). Stir well to completely combine. Add melted butter or coconut oil to oat mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the dried fruit.
  4. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. You can serve immediately if you want to scoop it out of the pan. If you prefer to cut it into squares or wedges, allow it to cool for 5 or 10 minutes, first.

If you’ve never soaked grains before, you might wonder what the point is. Soaking can make grains more digestible and make their nutrients (including B vitamins and several important minerals) more absorbable. I don’t always pre-soak grains but I often do. It’s easy when you’re planning ahead with a great weekend morning breakfast like this one!