As things calm after a full couple weeks of holiday festivities and traveling and routine takes back over, I have found simple, wholesome meals of the utmost comfort.
As the new year gives way, we think so often of the sweets and cookies that filled the end of the year and the need to implement fresher, healthier, greener things. I feel the hardest part of that swift new year shift is that the parties are over, the out of town guests have gone home, and life kind of gets back to normal. Coupled with the desire to eat healthier, get healthier, and downright be better this time around, that can be a difficult transition. An overwhelming one even.
So what feels like back to normal for me? Oatmeal. Day in and day out, always oatmeal.
Baked oatmeal provides the warm comfort these colder months leave us craving. This cinnamon roll baked oatmeal is sweetened only with dates and studded with pecans for a bit of protein and crunch. Full of warming cinnamon and vanilla, it will leave your kitchen smelling wonderful and your belly happy.
The recipe will make extra date paste, so you can serve extra with your baked oatmeal, or use it to sweeten other baked goods.
- Date paste:
- 2 cups dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (about 20 dates)
- ½ cup very hot water
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Baked Oatmeal:
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flaxseed meal +6 tablespoons warm water)
- 2 cups gluten-free oats
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup raw unsalted pecans, chopped
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used half almond, half coconut)
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil or vegan butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons date paste or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 7x11 or similar lipped casserole dish with coconut oil.
- First, make the date paste. Combine dates, water, and cinnamon in a high-powered blender or food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down sides when needed, and adding additional tablespoons of water if necessary. Set aside.*
- Prepare flax egg in a small bowl.
- In a medium bowl, add oats, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and pecans. Whisk to combine. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish in an even layer. Add the flax egg, non-dairy milk,coconut oil, vanilla extract, and 8 tablespoons date paste (or more to sweet preference) to the now empty medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour over the dry oat mixture and give the dish a gentle shake side to side to even out liquid. If desired, drizzle with some extra date paste by cutting a small hole in a plastic baggie.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Serve with extra date paste, additional almond milk, or coconut whipped cream.
- *Store extra date paste in an airtight container for up to a month in the refrigerator.