"Raw" Oatmeal with Sweet & Salty Caramelized Maple Clusters

This recipe has a very special place in my heart and in my home and more importantly, in my belly. It is an absolute bomb shell in terms of its’ utility, efficiency, nutrient-content and deliciousness factor. It’s become a common house staple among us three at home.

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This is the perfect meal for those on-the-go breakfasts that are needed in today’s fast past world when perhaps you don’t feel like eating breakfast before heading to work or University, but still need something quick, affordable, healthy and something that is perhaps heartier than fruit. Don’t get me wrong, I am a total fruit lover and personally, for me fruit is queen. It is my go-to food – it is so easy and it is the truest “fast food” out there. However, sometimes, especially when you are very busy and perhaps don’t have time to eat a large enough quantity of fruit to make up a full-on meal, OR, if, like me you eat seasonally, naturally with the changing of seasons from Summer to Autumn to Winter, your body starts to ask for those “bunker down foods”. Foods that are warming, earthy, grounding, solid and sustaining. Foods that are more yang in nature, more contractive and hearty. However, I’ve found that often when I cook oatmeal I tend to feel quite heavy afterwards. So, I developed this recipe for those times where I feel like something that is hearty and sustaining, but that still allows me to feel my best (light, agile, adaptable, flexible, energized yet grounded and stable).

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The key to this recipe is using quick-cook oatmeal, I haven’t yet tried it with rolled oats as rolled oats is thicker and more robust. If you have time and you soak the rolled oats overnight then it’s fine to substitute rolled oats in this recipe, but I wouldn’t recommend substituting rolled oats in this quick ten-minute recipe because it wouldn’t have had enough time to soften and thus wont be as easily digestible or soothing on the digestive system. What I love about this recipe is that it takes a total of ten minutes to make from start to finish. You still get the same textural feel of overnight oats (soft, soothing, grounding) but without having to have thought about and prepared your breakfast the night before!

 

Oats are such an incredible grain – I love them. They have an absolutely magical macro-nutrient composition: the balance between protein, carbohydrates and fats are ideal, allowing them to leave you satisfied, sustained and nourished throughout your busy days.

 

And let me not forget to talk about the sweet, salty, caramelized, smokey, delicious maple clusters that not only add a delicious crunch but also a divine flavor and heaps of nutrients. To me, finding the balance in a dish between sweet & salty is absolutely paramount. And these sticky, finger-licking-good clusters add exactly that: that balance of texture and flavor. They are like the “sticky maple bacon” of vegan cooking, and I use them A LOT. In salads, on top of pastas, veggies, on top of smoothie bowls or fruit salads: you name it, these clusters usually make their way into my meals. WARNING THOUGH: they can be addictive! So, just keep that in mind when making them <3 

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INGREDIENTS:

For the Clusters:

·       1 heaped tablespoon of sunflower seeds, raw

·       1 heaped tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, raw

·       1 heaped tablespoon of flaked coconut, raw

·       6 almonds, chopped, raw

·       ½ tablespoon light-medium soy sauce

·       ½ tablespoon syrup of choice (maple, honey, brown rice syrup etc.)

 

For the Oatmeal:

·       1 cup quick cook oats

·       1 cup water

·       ½ banana

·       2 figs (or other fruit of choice: examples are apples, mango, grapes, berries etc.)

·       2 dates

·       1 teaspoon of dark miso paste (optional but recommended)

·       ½ tablespoon superfood mix of choice (I used cacao, maca mix)

·       Pinch of Himalayan salt

 

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METHOD:

1.     In a bowl, combine your water, oats, superfood poweder and salt. Stir well and let it sit while you make your clusters.

2.     In a pan, place your sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chopped almonds. Bring to heat until you start hearing faint popping sounds and can see a slight golden hue around the edges.

3.     When this begins to happen add in the flaked coconut (it’s important not to add the coconut before this as the coconut has a different cooking time to that of the seeds & nuts so if you add it before this point, the coconut will burn before the seeds & nuts are adequately cooked through).

4.     Once it has all become golden and fragrant, add in the syrup & soy sauce and stir well. It will make sizzling sounds. This is good – it allows for the caramelization and intensification of flavor. It also gives it that cluster-texture when cooled. Keep cooking for about 30 seconds until the liquid is visibly cooked off and then turn off the heat. Let cool.

5.     Slice your fruit and get that ready for action.

6.     Place your oats in a serving bowl or jar, top it with fruit and caramelized clusters and put your blob of miso on the side. I eat my oatmeal with little bits of miso for enhancement of flavor and the health benefits of miso, which are numerous (it is rich in probiotics as it is a fermented food item).

7.     ENJOY!

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