Steel cut oat breakfast bowls are one of the most popular trends for foodies and Instagramers right now, and it’s clear why. Flavorful combinations of seasonal ingredients are also packed with nutrients from the colorful topping down to the base: oats.
Steel cut oats (often called Irish or Scottish oats) differ from rolled oats and instant oatmeal in terms of nutrition, cooking time and texture. The differences are due to how much the whole oat berry (called a groat) is processed.
Steel cut oats are similar to rice in texture and some say in appearance too. They are made when oat berries are chopped into pieces and retain the most fiber and other whole grain nutrients.
Next, rolled oats are made when an oat berries are steamed and then pressed into flat discs. They have more surface area than their Irish cousins, so they cook faster than steel cut oats.
Lastly, we have instant oats, the most processed of the three. Instant oats are precooked and then pressed even thinner than rolled oats. Since they are so much thinner, the oats can’t retain their texture, and the resulting oatmeal is often mushy.
Mill City Farmers Market vendor Therese Moore hit the scene last winter with her sweet and savory steel cut oat business: 3 Bear Oats. After being inspired by savory steel cut oatmeal restaurant on a trip to New York City, Therese decided she needed to bring the trend home to the cereal capital of the country.
Based on the classic story of Goldilocks, 3 Bear Oat’s breakfast bowls come in three sizes, baby, mama and papa, and are available to eat at the market or to take home. They feature traditional flavors like apple and cinnamon, unique combinations like ginger and curry and, my personal favorite, the “Petite Canadien” with bacon, cheddar cheese and maple syrup. Therese sources all her toppings from fellow vendors at the Mill City Farmers Markets or from local food co-ops.
You can find 3 Bear Oats at the Mill City Farmers Market’s upcoming indoor winter markets on Jan. 13 and Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The indoor winter market host about 40 local farmers, food makers and artists inside the Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., on select Saturdays November through April.
Learn more at millcityfarmersmarket.org.
Squash and oatmeal ‘porridge’
Recipe by market chef Nettie Colón
Give your breakfast an extra boost of flavor and nutrients by adding a sweet squash puree to your oats. Makes 2 Servings.
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil or butter
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 2 cups water
- 1/3 cup of squash puree (use any squash that you would like, but be wary of the drier squashes)
- 1– 2 tablespoons coconut milk (or any nondairy or dairy milk you prefer)
- 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- A pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tablespoon shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (can use less to make it less sweet)
- A pinch of cardamom
In a small pot, heat coconut oil or butter over medium heat. Add oats and toast until fragrant, around 5 minutes. Add water and cook until done. Stir in squash puree, coconut milk, ginger, chia seeds and salt.
Add the cinnamon, coconut flakes, honey or maple syrup and cardamom. Check for seasoning and adjust to your desired flavor.
Turn off the heat and portion into bowls. Top with toppings of your liking and enjoy.
Pick and choose from these or anything else you have in the pantry! Nettie’s favorite combination is apples or pears, bacon and pumpkin seeds.
- Sliced apples or pears
- Pomegranate seeds
- Chopped almonds
- Pumpkin Seeds