Friends, I have two important hacks to show you today.
The first involves my never-ending search for apple perfection.
I have written before on the perfect way to cook apples in oatmeal to get a creamy porridge and not a chunky and disjointed one. Now, I have a new method.
At the end of the day, you can add your apple however you damn well please. However, here’s my new favorite: cut the apple into halves or quarters. GRATE at least half the apple (I grate three quarters), and dice the rest.* The grated apple works on two levels: 1) It is easier to digest for poor souls like me with incompetent intestines, and 2) It creates a smooth and consistently flavorful porridge. You could technically grate the entire fruit, but reserving some of the apple for dicing provides a bit of texture for extra pops of apple now and then.
*I use small apples, so I use the entire thing, but if you’re using a large apple, you may want to only use a portion of the apple and save the rest for later. Use your judgment.
The second hack is for tahini.
Friends, tahini may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re hooked on nut butters, you may eagerly jump to tahini and expect to love it. Could any ground up nut paste every dissatisfy you?! What’s not to love about a salty, toasty, fatty spread?
Reality check: tahini does not taste like other nut butters. You may cringe upon your first taste. Tahini is far more bitter than other nut butters. This is often why it is so easily incorporated into savory dishes. You put it on falafel! Could you imagine putting peanut butter on falafel? That should tell you right away that tahini is a different experience.
Now, I’m not badmouthing tahini. I assure you, I have a spot in my heart for it—now. It hasn’t always been the case. Thus, I speak from experience when I say that it may take some adapting of your taste buds before you truly learn to appreciate this versatile spread. This recipe gives you the perfect solution: chocolate.
Truthfully, whenever you try a new nut butter and you hate it, just add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and a little sweetener. By the time you finish that jar, you will not only be in love with the chocolate version, but will have acquired a taste for the nut underneath all that chocolate. At least that’s how I learned to like PB2, sunflower butter, Happy Herbivore’s Nutty Spread, and cashew butter. I still don’t like macadamia butter, but at least it helped me finish it all so I didn’t waste those pricy nuts. Good enough!
I think so many nuts would work well on this oatmeal, so I didn’t list one particular nut for the recipe. However, I like this with toasted almonds or cashews or walnuts. Or all of them. ? Since you’re using tahini, you could technically top it with sesame seeds as well, but I prefer the crunch of larger nuts.
- [eats] This Thai Red Curry recipe is life-changing. You can make it as directed, but I essentially just used whatever vegetables (and tofu) that I had in the fridge and it turned out perfectly. Oh, and lots of cayenne because spicy is better, always.
- [reads] BARBIE COMES IN NEW BODY SIZES NOW. (Although…hasn’t the original Barbie always been “tall?”)
- [reads] Lookie, lookie. Ben & Jerry’s are definitely coming out with vegan flavors.
What you'll need:
- 3/4 cup milk of choice*
- 1/4 cup quick-cook steel cut oats*
- 1 small apple, OR 1/2 a large one**
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp Chocolate Tahini
- handful of shaved or shredded coconut, unsweetened (I toasted mine)
- handful of nuts, such as almonds or walnuts (optional; I toasted mine)
- 2 tbsp plain tahini
- 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- sweetener (I used maple syrup), to taste
How to make it:
- Bring milk (I use 1/2 c almond milk and 1/4 c water) to a boil, add oats, and reduce heat to medium. (If you’d like to add a teaspoon of flax or chia seeds, do so now.)
- Dice or grate the apple into the oatmeal. Recommended method: cut apple into quarters and grate at least half of them into the oatmeal. Dice the remaining half and add to oatmeal. Stir occasionally.
- While the oatmeal cooks, prepare the Chocolate Tahini by mixing together ingredients in a small bowl. Taste; add more sweetener and/or cocoa powder if desired.
- Back to the oatmeal. Once more of the liquid has absorbed, add vanilla extract and salt. If desired, add sweetener (or even other spices now, such as cinnamon or cardamom!). Stir.
- When you’re pleased with the consistency of the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl. Top with another splash of milk, Chocolate Tahini, coconut, and nuts, if using.
Just an FYI:
*You can make this with rolled or quick oats by increasing the liquid to 1 cup and the oats to 1/2 cup.
**1/3 cup applesauce can be used in place of the apple.