I eat oats for breakfast, in some shape or form, nearly every day. Lately, I have been enjoying steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are less refined than old-fashioned rolled oats, which means they retain more nutrients, but it also takes 40 minutes to cook (unless you snag some quick-cook steel cut oats from Trader Joe’s which have been partially steamed beforehand). I make a big batch of steel cut oats on the weekend and reheat portions in the microwave for 60 seconds each morning. Fast and simple.
While I typically make my oats quite plain, I can add different toppings each day to the blank canvas. I went through a phase where I added pomegranate molasses. Then, I tried soy sauce and/or toasted sesame oil for something savoury. My current favourite oatmeal topping is ponzu sauce, a citrus-flavoured soy sauce. The saltiness really enhances the oatmeal.
However, this weekend, I wanted to try something completely different, to highlight blueberries. I figured a lemony oatmeal with a touch of vanilla would complement the blueberries well, and after I topped the oatmeal with the blueberries, I thought of my recent Blueberry Salmon Teriyaki Spinach Salad, so I drizzled some balsamic vinegar overtop as well. It was divine. A cheery, gourmet way to start the day.
I haven’t tried yet, but I think dried blueberries could work as well when you can’t find fresh blueberries – just add them at the beginning to plump up nicely.
Balsamic Lemon-Blueberry Steel Cut Oats
1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp agave nectar, or other sweetener, or to taste
1.5 cups fresh blueberries
6 tsp balsamic vinegar (or balsamic vinegar glaze, homemade or storebought if you have it)
1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast steel cut oats until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Do not let it burn!
2. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil with the salt. I find the oats to be done toasting when my water begins to boil.
3. Add oats to boiling water. Cover and turn heat down to low; allow the oats to cook for 30 minutes.
4. Remove lid and stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and agave nectar. Continue cooking, uncovered for 10 minutes, or until oats reach your desired texture.
5. Serve in a bowl and garnish with blueberries and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.