Oatmeal is one of the most warm and comforting breakfast meals I make. My son loves it too which makes it a perfect meal for us, but he has zero time or patience to let me actually make it.
Enter baked oats. I started making these after seeing countless recipes from Emma Petersen (aka @thefitlondoner). It seemed like such a lovely blank slate for flavour combinations and it's great for meal prep, meaning I can make breakfast when he's asleep.
Always trying to add colour, I decided carrots would work well and provide moisture as well. Grated veggies are a great way to add vegetables and colour into the mix because they cook up quickly. Like most recipes, I looked at a few options before deciding how I wanted to do this myself. What's great about baked oatmeal is that it's fairly fool proof as long as you use whole rolled oats (instant oats won't work!).
I saw this oatmeal cup recipe by Ambitious Kitchen and jumped from there. I upped the spices as I typically do, used more carrots and changed up the add ins. I would normally love chopped nuts in something like this but that texture is still a little difficult for the baby so I would recommend adding them if you have a full set of teeth!
2 cups whole rolled oats, GF if necessary (I use Bob's Red Mill GF)
2 cups grated carrots
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I just grate it for a few seconds, I don't measure it)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped (you can use more or less, or swap with another dried fruit if you prefer)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, optional
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp hemp seeds, can use up to 1/2 cup any chopped nuts or seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk of choice, I like to use a dairy milk to add protein
2-4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
Combine oats, shredded carrots, baking powder, salt, spices, dates, coconut, flax and nuts or seeds, if using. Make sure the dates are well coated with the other ingredients so they don't all clump together (they're sticky!).
Add the beaten eggs, milk, maple syrup and vanilla.
Mix well so all the dry bits are well coated.
Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the oats are set.
Allow to cool before slicing into squares of your size preference. I like to cut some larger for breakfast and some smaller for snacks. Keep a few in an air tight container and wrap the remaining squares individually with plastic wrap. Freeze the individually wrapped oatmeal squares and transfer them to the fridge the night before you want to eat them.
At breakfast time, top baked oats with maple syrup, tahini and a dollop of yogurt. Of course you can use any sweetener and nut butter you like, but these flavours worked so well together.
Now you're set for the day!