I love the memories food can evoke. Just one bite can take you back to your childhood, that special vacation or your wedding day, and all good sensations come flooding back. Oatmeal is one of my feel-good foods. Whenever I have it I’m transported back to 1987, sitting on the couch with my bed-headed hair watching Mary Tyler Moore reruns with my grandma. It doesn’t matter that the oatmeal was instant and loaded with sugar, these are comforting, cozy memories.
Since the days have been freezing here, warm cereal has been the perfect start to my mornings. There are no limits to the toppings, like fruits and nuts or even savory (yes, it’s delicious, and we’ll talk about that later). Banana walnut is one of my favorite combinations and it definitely didn’t disappoint today. When I have too many bananas, I let them over-ripen on the counter and then store them in the freezer. They thaw in no time and are great to have on hand for baking, smoothies, or for adding to cereal like this. They provide a really concentrated banana flavor and add a nice sweetness so you don’t have to add much maple. For this recipe I would use one over-ripened and two just-ripe.
I always start my grain cereals by soaking them in water overnight with a little yogurt (or apple cider vinegar). Soaking steel-cut oats and other grains helps remove their naturally occurring phytic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of important nutrients like calcium. Another perk of soaking the oats is a reduced cooking time.
- 1 cup of steel cut oats, soaked overnight in 3-4 cups water and one tablespoon of yogurt or raw apple cider vinegar
- 2½ cups water
- sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 bananas*, thinly sliced (reserve a few slices for topping)
- ½ cup walnut pieces, plus extra for sprinkling
- After soaking overnight, drain and rinse the oats.
- Over medium heat, bring oats, water and a couple pinches of salt to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until desired consistency is reached, about 10-20 minutes. Add the butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and half of the banana slices; stir until butter is melted. Add the remaining bananas and walnuts and serve.
- Top each bowl with extra banana slices and walnuts.