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Golden Oatmeal Zucchini Variation

The beauty of preparing your own food is that you get to tap into your creativity every single time as you tune in to your body's current craving as well as adjust your recipes according what's currently in season or in your fridge/pantry.

Oats, for instance, are super nutritious (you can read all about their benefits in my post here) and can be used in a huge variety of ways, one of them is the good old oatmeal. But having oatmeal every day doesn't have to mean having the boring, plane oats with water on a daily basis, (although it can, if you're into that). You can really customize this simple meal in whatever way you like. I, myself, have been a huge fan of Golden Milk oats and over the years I've prepared them a lot of different ways. A while ago I posted a simple recipe for Golden Milk Oatmeal, and I've also recently shared the pumpkin spice golden oatmeal recipe here. Today I would like to share a similar one that includes zucchini. Yes, zucchini aka courgette. You might be surprised to see it in oatmeal, but trust me, you can make sure you barely feel it (in case you aren't so keen on seeing green in your oats or you have picky kids and you need to resort to hiding vegetables in the food). You can also make it stand out more, if you are a big zucchini fan by simply using more of it than I suggest in the recipe or grating it on a grater with larger holes.

Whatever way you choose to do it, adding in some zucchini to your oatmeal will increase its nutritional content and add in additional antioxidants as well as some more fiber and that's always a good thing (unless of course you don't drink enough water throughout the day! So if you don't, I highly recommend you make it a priority).


You will notice that, like with any golden spice mix recipe, I add some freshly ground pepper and a source of fat (seeds, coconut oil/milk and/or seed/nut butters). That's because we know that they help our body absorb turmeric better. Heat does that as well, so for maximum benefits make sure you don't wait until your golden oatmeal gets completely cooled down. You can read more about turmeric and its benefits here.


Zucchini Golden Oatmeal Recipe

yields: 1 serving

prep time: 10-15 minutes


Ingredients

  • 1/3-1/2 cup of oats (I use gluten-free oats)

  • 3/4c-1 cup of unsweetened plant-based milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

  • small pinch of salt

  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of the Golden Milk Spice Mix (recipe here) or you can just add the following spices: about 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric, about 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground ginger, a pinch of ground cardamom, and a pinch of ground nutmeg

  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper (for better turmeric absorption)

  • about 1/2 cup of grated zucchini

  • 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds

  • 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp of sunflower seeds

  • 1/2 tsp of chia seeds

  • 1/2 tsp of ground flax seeds (brown, golden or mixed)

  • 1/2 tsp of sesame seeds

  • Optional: about 1/2-1 Tbsp of raw buckwheat groats (the light ones, NOT the dark brown, roasted ones)

  • Optional: 1-3 pitted dates or a about 1-2 tsp of raisins

  • Optional sweetener: maple syrup, to taste

  • Optional healthy fat-source: up to 1 Tbsp of any pure 100% seed or nut butter, or about 1/3 tsp of unrefined coconut oil)

  • Optional: half a ripe banana

  • Optional: a handful of fresh or frozen berries

  • Optional: about 1/4 tsp of green Spirulina powder

  • Optional: 1-4 Tbsp of unsweetened plant-based yogurt of choice

Method

1) Pour the plant milk into a saucepan on medium heat

2) Add all of the spices, salt and pepper; mix well. You can use a whisk or a hand-held milk frother to get the spices to mix well.

3) If you'd like to sweeten your oatmeal with dates, chop the desired amount of pitted dates, I recommend 1-3 small ones, into small chunks and add them into the saucepan so they sweeten the warm milk. Alternatively, you can use raisins or other dried fruit.*

4) Add in all the seeds (and/or nuts if using) as well as the raw buckwheat groats if using.*

5) Add the oats into your golden-colored milk, mix well, and let it all simmer until the oats soften, steering occasionally. You might need to add some more milk or water if you find that the oats have already soaked up all the milk, but need more time cooking.

6) Grate the desired amount of zucchini into your saucepan. I usually add about 1/2 a cup.

7) Simmer your oatmeal on a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the oats reach your desired consistency (some like them very mushy, some prefer a bit undercooked).

8) At some point here you may add in the banana slices to release some of its sweetness while everything is very warm. (If the thought of a cooked banana grosses you out, add it later to your bowl or skip it altogether).

9) Once your oatmeal is done, transfer it into a bowl.

10) You can now add the Spirulina, your seed/nut butters and/or your maple syrup if you find that you still need to make it sweeter, as well as any other toppings including for instance the plant-based yogurt.


When it comes to the toppoing you can add whatever you feel will make it taste and/or look better: anything from some coconut flakes to grated chocolate, a little bit of unsweetened vegan yogurt or a few berries.

If you're using fresh fruit just make sure that in this case it's just a mere topping. We don't want to make it too fruity otherwise you might experience some mild digestive problems, like bolating, later on, and this meal should feel like a total belly hug from the beginning to the very end, if you know what I mean. If you really want to add more fruit perhaps try something like a sugar-free homemade jam, where the fruits have been cooked first.. or simply add some berries to your oatmeal once it's still in the saucepan so they could cook together for a while. This way we'll lose some vitamins, but all in all it will actually be easier to digest and therefore more of the nutrients will actually be absorbed.


Enjoy!


*a note on using dry fruit, nuts and seeds- if possible it's best to soak them all in room temperature water overnight, but if you can't do that just make sure you add them in to your pot as early as possible so they have as much time to absorb soak up the milk while you're cooking the oatmeal. I'm not going to get into much detail here of why it's good to soak them, (I'll write about this in a separate post), but in short let me just say that it increases their nutrient availability and allows for their better absorption. They also become less drying to the body and in the case of the dried fruit such as raisins and prunes for instance their healthy laxative properties are then better able to help with our last stages of digestion and elimination.



Note: Even if you are not plant-based, please make sure that you use plant-based milk or yogurts whenever you mix your milk products with fruit, otherwise I highly recommend skipping any kind of fruit in your oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or whatever you're having that contains animal milk.



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