Oats & Veggies with Toasted Nuts

Rolled oats have most unfortunately been relegated to the land of sweet.  Such a pity given that they can be the foundation of some pretty amazing whole-grain dishes.  When dry-toasted prior to cooking, the oats develop a nutty smell and flavor and the texture is light and fluffy rather than the sticky mess most people associate with oatmeal.  Add some roasted vegetables, a few toasted nuts and there’s a quick-cooking mouthwatering meal on the table in minutes.  Although I often eat this for breakfast, it also make a good side for supper or lunch.  Furthermore, the appearance and flavor can be played with by changing the choice of vegetables or nuts in the garnish.  Have fun and rediscover the power of old-fashioned rolled oats!

(Keep in mind, I have not explained the techniques of roasting vegetables or toasting nuts.  If you don’t know how to do that, I do have a recipe for roasting veg and this tutorial can get you started for toasting nuts)

Yield: 1 serving as a main, 2 as a side

What you need:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (no quick-cooking here)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup hot or boiling water (use the kettle)
  • 2 cups roasted vegetables (whatever’s leftover in the fridge)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari pecans or almonds, chopped (or pumpkin seeds)

What you do:

  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet or small heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat (make sure you have a tight fitting lid for that pot, you’ll need it later).  When hot, add the old-fashioned rolled oats and the pinch of salt.  Toast the oats, stirring pretty constantly, until they’re a couple of shades darker and smelling nutty and fragrant; 5-10 minutes depending on the kind of pot you use – cast iron will go quickest.
  2. Add the hot water slowly as it will bubble up and want to spill over otherwise.
  3. Reduce heat to low, scatter the roasted vegetables on top (DON’T mix them in, you just want to heat them up, not have them competing for the rolled oats’ floor space!)  Cover and let cook until all the water is absorbed, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Uncover, toss gently to combine the oats and vegetables.  Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with the tamari-coated nuts.
  5. Serve.

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