Nutrient-Packed Steel-Cut Oats with Chia Seeds
This hearty recipe combines steel-cut oats, chia seeds, dried cherries, cinnamon, almond extract, chopped nuts, milk of choice, yogurt, and honey for a make-ahead breakfast that keeps you full until lunch. Oatmeal is a low-calorie and slowly absorbed carbohydrate that contains healthy fat, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
What Are Chia Seeds?
These nutrient-packed seeds are a superfood because they are an excellent source of vitamins, and minerals, omega-3, fiber, protein, healthy fat, and have antioxidant properties. Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family. It is best to soak chia seeds in a liquid before consuming them. Web MD outlines Things to Look Out For with chia seeds. If not soaked, they can cause choking. They also can cause digestive issues and medicinal interactions, so read up if this is your first time using them.
- Grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil provide fats to toast the oats and bloom the cinnamon. If you are following the Mediterranean Diet or eliminating saturated fats from your diet, use olive oil in step one.
- Steel-cut oats for fiber, whole grain carbs, protein, and healthy fats
- Cinnamon enhances the flavor and offers anti-inflammatory properties and other benefits, according to the Cleveland Clinic
- Milk – use plant or dairy milk; cow milk provides more protein, but I use lactose-free coconut or almond milk
- Chia seeds add fiber, omega-3, and protein; chia seeds add 4 grams of fiber to this recipe. Note: Adding chia seeds during the cooking allows them to absorb liquid which is more beneficial than using them as a dry topping.
- Cherries – Vitamin A, natural sweetness, fiber
- Walnuts – good source of healthy fats – omega-3 and magnesium
- Greek yogurt adds protein and calcium
Oatmeal is Perfect for Breakfast Meal Prep
Busy mornings need a quick, delicious, and nutritious start to the day. Ready-made oatmeal is a foolproof way to succeed. Make extra oatmeal and store in single-serve lidded containers to grab in the morning. The porridge is good hot or cold and stays fresh in the refrigerator for five days! If you are warming in the microwave, use safe containers. You can place topping on the oatmeal before storing it or add them in the morning.
Make Extra for Your Health
There is lots of information about oatmeal helping lower cholesterol, but this Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats with Chia Seeds and Cherries may help you maintain or lose weight. Healthline, an evidence-based nutrition journal, has an article on Food Combinations for Weight Loss. Having a meal with carbs, proteins, healthy fats, and fiber can help steady blood sugar levels and increase feelings of fullness. This recipe contains all those goodies.
Steel-Cut Oats Versus Rolled Oats - Is one Preferred?
Steel-cut oats (also called Irish Oats) are cuts from the groat after processing them by cleaning, dehulling, and kilning. Steel-cut oats have a firm texture and hold up well if making extras for leftovers/meal prep throughout the week. Rolled oats (also called Old Fashioned) are steamed and rolled flat from the groat, thus offering a quicker cooking time than steel-cut oats. The difference between steel-cut and rolled oats is the texture and cooking time. They are similar in nutrition. Rolled oats have more versatility because they can be used in baked goods, smoothies, breakfast porridge, and overnight oats. It’s a matter of preference, but I love the texture of the steel-cut, plus the fact that it is slightly less processed than rolled oats. It takes more time to make steel-cut which brings us to the benefits of the pressure cooker.
Instant Pot Makes Steel-Cut Oats Easy
Using a Pressure cooker does not save time, but once the ingredients are added to the pot, there is no stirring or babysitting of the pan compared to cooking on the stovetop. It’s also foolproof, but there can be watch-outs. Check out the tips.
Pressure Cooker Tips
• Do not quick-release, or you may clog the valve; only use natural release when making oatmeal.
• Making a large batch that goes past the ½ line may clog the steam release pipe because the oatmeal tends to sputter while cooking
• Making a smaller batch – less than four servings, can give a burn notice because there is not enough volume, and it overheats.
• It’s essential to keep the ratio of oats to liquid at 1:3. This recipe has slightly more fluid because the chia seeds and cherries absorb water. You can add liquid but do not reduce it. If you think the porridge is too liquid after cooking, use the sauté mode to continue cooking.
• Note: Don’t let these precautions scare you. If you get the burn notice, unplug the machine, and let It sit for 10 minutes. You should be able to salvage the porridge and soak the portion that sticks to the pan. I have never received a burn notice for steel-cut but have for rolled oats. I inadvertently used a recipe from another machine with a risotto/oatmeal function on the machine. It did not work because I cooked it on high pressure and the ratios of oat to liquid were not the same. Oopsie.