Breakfast time! I don’t know about you but when the cooler weather hits there’s nothing like a creamy oat porridge in the morning. In today’s recipe, I am using a little coconut and cinnamon. No milk is needed!
But would you know it, original oat porridge is actually a bit of an ancient thing? Before the advent of some of the more modern baking techniques, it used to be a staple food in many places around the world.
And hey, it just goes on and on and on (like a magic porridge pot haha) remaining a popular breakfast food to this very day.
Different types of oats
Creamy oat porridge is typically made with dehulled and rolled or cut oats (also called oatmeal if you are from the USA) – these are the ones you normally buy in a packet in the supermarket or health food store (the only ‘oats’ most of us have ever known).
Before they reach the shelves oats are steamed and rolled into flat flakes. This means that they have been radically reduced in thickness and partially cooked before we buy them. This allows us to cook them much quicker than the whole oat groats that come straight from the plant.
Health benefits of oats
Nutritionally speaking the health benefits of oats are pretty noteworthy.
Oats rank up there with the superfoods! Nutritionally speaking, oats are a good source of protein, offering a higher source than most other grains of up to a whopping 17%.
They are also high in many vitamins and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, zinc, phosphorus and B vitamins. All of these carry individual and very good health benefits.
Oats are the only known plant source of the unique polyphenols, avenanthramides (big posh words ay!). They are unique antioxidants thoughts to help against heart disease. According to research “the polyphenols of oats have also recently been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and anti-itching activity, which may provide additional protection against coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and skin irritation.”
Are oats gluten-free?
That’s the big question! When I looked into this, I found that farmers normally rotate their crops (i.e. grow different crops in each field every year). This means that oats will typically share fields where gluten grains such as wheat and barley have previously grown. Anyone who knows anything about growing plants in their own gardens will be aware that is that it is almost impossible not to have ‘unwanted’ seeds from previous years’ crops popping back up randomly. So, this year’s oat crop will inevitably have some of last year’s wheat popping back up through the soil (for example).
Farmers often also grow these different grains in fields next to each other too, leading to wind-blown contamination. Unfortunately for gluten sensitives, this means a small (but significant) amount of contamination. It has been shown that whilst oats themselves are gluten-free, they are more often than not contaminated with gluten.
Oats have also been shown to be contaminated in the factories (those which also process wheat, rye & barley) or in transportation containers etc.
The good thing is that now you can buy gluten-free oats. These are oats grown separately from gluten grains. They are then produced in facilities where there is no sign of anything containing gluten. Read more about gluten-free oats here: Are Oats Gluten-free or Not and Does It Matter?
I am gluten-sensitive and get super sleepy and a big swollen belly if I eat gluten. This used to happen when I ate oats at times too.
Since moving onto GF oats however, I never have any trouble with them at all. As long as I purchase certified ones that is (which may be called ‘uncontaminated oats’ in Australia).
Creamy oat porridge is a wonderful way to enjoy oats
Porridge is an excellent way to use oats. Cooking oats makes their nutrients readily available and let’s face it, porridge is really hearty and feel-good.
It’s pretty simple to make it creamy. In my oat porridge version, I am using a little bit of creamed coconut (which comes in a solid block) or coconut butter. This solidifies at room temperature and melts upon heating. It also happens to add a delightful creaminess to the porridge as well as some extra healthy fats.
I am simply using water as the liquid in this recipe. This makes your oat porridge surprisingly creamy just by releasing the starches from the oats. The creamed coconut acts in place of milk taking the creaminess to a whole new level. Then I am adding coconut sugar to sweeten and cinnamon to taste.
You can print the recipe below. Please watch short my video first to join me in my kitchen to see how I make the porridge. At the time of writing, I was living in a tiny cabin in the mountains of La Palma island…