Creamy Oat & Amaranth One-Pot

More cold. More wind. Saturday sniffles. This is my response to all of those: a comforting one-pot meal that served as both breakfast and lunch for all members of the family here-present. Warming, creamy, soft. This dish has you covered like a warm blanket beside a roaring wood fire. It’s based off Holly Davis’ baked millet from her book Nourish, which is a great cookbook to own if you can find it. It may not be vegan, but with its macro sensibility it has lots of vegan fare within and some heavenly ingredient combinations to inspire. She suggests pairing her baked grain dish with steamed greens; I concur wether you make her version or mine!

Yield: 3 main course servings or 6 side servings

What you need:

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (or up to 2 tablespoons if you want a really rich dish)
  • 1 large onion, cut into thinnish dainty wedges
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup amaranth
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 medium sized daikon radish, peeled and cut into 3/4” thick quarter-moons, 2-1/2 cups
  • 2” wakame cut into thin strips (optional)
  • 1 stick astragalus root (optional)
  • 2 cups boiling water for a firmer dish, 2-1/2 cups boiling water for a creamier more porridge-like dish (as illustrated)
  • salt to desired level
  • 2 to 3 cups sweet winter squash such as kabocha, red kuri or hokkaido, sliced into wedges and each wedge halved if the squash is large
  • a pressure cooker or Instant Pot (sorry, it just won’t be a warm blanket of a meal without… it will still be good if you stove-top it or bake as in the variations though!)

What you do:

  1. Heat the pressure cooker over medium flame or use the sauté setting for the Instant Pot. When hot, add the oil and onion and sauté several minutes until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown.
  2. Add the rolled oats, amaranth and ginger to the pot. Stir and cook until the grains are fragrant and toasty. Turn down the heat as necessary so that you don’t burn them. You may also want to waith until the grains are about half-done to add the ginger if it’s a drier root so that it doesn’t stick and burn.
  3. Add the daikon radish to the pot as well as the strips of wakame and astragalus root if using. Stir to coat in the grains.
  4. Add the boiling water in the amount required for the finished texture you prefer. Salt to desired level. Mix to distribute the salt throughout.
  5. Place the squash wedges over the top of the mix in a pretty pinwheel.
  6. Pop the top onto the pressure cooker and bring to pressure. If using an Instant Pot use the multigrain cycle. Pressure cook 35 minutes at pressure. Let pressure release naturally to keep the squash in its place.
  7. Uncap and serve, being careful not to break up the squash wedges too much. Toasted pumpkin seeds, thinly sliced scallions or gomasio are all nice options as garnish.

Variations:

  • No pressure cooker? No worries! Make this on the stove-top in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring the mix to a boil at step 4, place the squash like requested in step 5, cover tightly, bring the heat down and simmer it low and slow for about an hour.
  • Stove-top occupied with other stuff? No worries! Make this in the oven by using that heavy-bottomed Dutch oven you have! Follow the recipe up to step 5 and then cover tightly. Bake in the oven at 350F for an hour or so.

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