Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberry Compote is a healthy, nutritious, and delicious breakfast made with whole grain steel cut oats. I grew up eating regular oatmeal. I’m not even sure if we could buy steel cut oats back then. When I first tried steel cut oatmeal, I was intrigued by the chewy texture, and the shape of the oats.
Steel cut oatmeal with blueberry compote is one of my favorite breakfasts. I love the chewy, hearty texture of steel cut oats. Although rolled oats and quick-cooking oats are further processed than steel cut oats, nutritionally, there’s not a huge difference between these three types of oats; however, I stay away from instant oatmeal which has had most of the bran removed in processing, and often contains a lot of sugar, artificial colors and flavors, and salt. Instead, I make my own oats and sweeten with either honey or maple syrup, and add warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or cardamon.
Why Eat Whole Grains?
My mom and grandmother were ahead of their times. They ate whole grains and baked with whole wheat flour during the Wonder Bread days. Whole grain foods were a rarity. Today, there are whole grain breads, crackers, pastas, cereals and more in supermarkets. What are whole grains and why are whole grains good for you?
Studies have consistently suggested that whole grains reduce the risk of heart disease. Some research also suggests that whole grains lower the risk of diabetes and cancer.
Whole grains are high in fiber, which: (1) helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease, and (2) slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which can help improve blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. In addition to fiber, whole grains also contain potent phytochemicals which have health benefits that are only recently being recognized.
- A study that analyzed the diets of more than half a million men and women found that the people who ate the most whole grains had a 20% lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who ate the least.
- A different study showed that people who consumed at least 3 servings a day of whole grains (half a cup of cooked oatmeal or other grain counts as one serving) had a 20-30% lower risk of diabetes over the next decade than people who ate roughly one serving a week.
Whole grains are made up of three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm. When grains are refined, most of the bran and germ are removed, leaving just the endosperm. The bran contains most of the grain’s fiber along with B vitamins, while the germ contains antioxidants, vitamins E and B. Although vitamins and minerals are added back to refined grains, the phytochemicals are lost and so is much of the fiber.
Varieties of Whole Grains
Here is a list of whole grains to get you started:
- Oatmeal (steel cut oats, old fashioned oats, quick-cooking oats)
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
- Buckwheat (kasha)
- Bulgur (cracked wheat)
When buying products made from whole grains, such as breads, crackers and pastas, be sure to read the label and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list (look for “whole wheat flour”, not just “wheat flour”; wheat flour is refined and often bleached) . There are now some good quality pastas made from whole grain flours, which are a great way to introduce whole grains into your diet.
Whole grains make a hearty and healthy breakfast cereal. Oats, millet, quinoa and buckwheat can be enjoyed as hot breakfast cereals. When cooked with dried fruit, little additional sweetener is needed.
Instant Pot Steel Cut Oatmeal
Traditionally, steel cut oatmeal is cooked on the stovetop. This usually involves soaking the oats in water overnight before cooking. If you don’t have time to presoak steel cut oats, the Instant Pot or a pressure cooker comes in handy.
- Spray the inside of the pot with cooking spray for easy cleanup.
- Place 1 cup steel cut oats + 2 1/2 cups water, spices, dried fruit and maple syrup in pot.
- Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Hit “Cancel” and let pressure naturally release 12 minutes. Release remaining pressure.
- Stir oats to absorb any excess liquid.
Blueberry Compote for Steel Cut Oatmeal
I made a blueberry compote as a fruit topping for this steel cut oatmeal. Frozen blueberries work great for this recipe. The compote is scented with orange zest, cinnamon, and ginger.
You end up with a syrupy blueberry compote.
This recipe for Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberry Compote is absolutely delicious. Make a batch and reheat the rest during the week for a healthy breakfast.
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberry Compote
Cooking the oats with dried fruit adds natural sweetness. Topping the oatmeal with Blueberry Compote adds flavor and sweetness. Extra cooked oats and compote can be refrigerated or frozen.
Steel Cut Oatmeal with Dried Fruit
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup dried fruit cranberries, blueberries, or raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 10 ounces frozen blueberries
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange juice or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- dash cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds toasted
- 1/4 cup almond milk
Stovetop Steel Cut Oatmeal
Soak oats overnight in water to cover.
Combine oats, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, lower the heat and add the dried fruit, cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until creamy. Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency.
Stir in maple syrup and serve with almond milk, toasted almonds and Blueberry Compote.
Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker Steel Cut Oatmeal
Spray inside of pot with cooking spray. Put oats, 2 1/2 cups water and salt in pot. Add dried fruit, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg and maple syrup.
Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Select "Cancel" and let pressure naturally release for 12 minutes. Release remaining pressure.
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium eat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until mixture is syrupy.
Divide steel cut oatmeal into four bowls. Top with Blueberry Compote and toasted nuts. Serve with almond milk.
Adapted from Rebecca Katz’s Cancer-Fighting Kitchen cookbook.
Note: Quick-cooking steel-cut oats are now available that do not require pre-soaking; they take about 5-7 minutes to cook.
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