zucchini chocolate oatmeal
That one time I put carrots in my oats, it was like eating carrot cake for breakfast. Total bliss. Could the same be achieved with the honest courgette (AKA zucchini or babaaay marrow)? I wasn't entirely sure there was such a thing as zucchini cake - it sounds very vegan (and not in a good way) - but after a quick search on Google, I realised zucchini cake is indeed a thing! So much of thing in fact that I felt super silly for assuming it wasn't a thing. Now I've made this into a thing when I really didn't want to make it a thing and I feel awkward amongst other things. Damn you zucchini cake thing.
Nonetheless, whether you've had zucchini cake or not, adding zucchini into oats is actually a fabulous idea. It's an easy way to get 'em extra veggies in and you can't taste them much either. WINNING! I'm not the biggest fan of raw zucchini but adding them to my oatmeal is probably my favourite way to eat them. Although this zucchini cake thing is now really calling my name...
So while this recipe is not a cake, it's a great interpretation of one. And in any case, who can have cake for breakfast everyday? Actually, let's pretend I never asked that question. Everyone can have cake for breakfast!
I love this recipe because it packs extra nutrients in without much hassle, is high in protein and super versatile. You can have this as overnight oats or cooked or baked oatmeal; you can add some sneaky grated carrot or more cacao powder; or you can add in spices like ginger or nutmeg. The world is your oyster.
Zucchini: As the cousin of cucumber, zucchinis are 95% water, but this doesn't mean they are devoid of nutrients! Zucchinis are great for the heart. They contain potassium that helps reduce blood pressure and magnesium that helps keep blood pressure at a normal rate and the heart beat at a steady rhythm. Zucs are also high in fibre which help lower cholesterol, low in calories and help keep the body hydrated.
Steel Cut Oatmeal: In this recipe I used steel cut oats instead of rolled or quick oats. Steel cut oats are whole grain oatmeal that have been cut into bite-size bits. Steel cut oats are considered healthier than instant oats due to the different processes used to make them. All forms of oatmeal are made from oat groats, the grains that are harvested from oats. After being roasted at a low temperature, the groats are chopped with a steel blade into several pieces, yielding steel cut oats. In contrast, instant oats are pre-cooked, dried, rolled and pressed very thinly. This allows them to cook quickly but robs you of the great flavour and nutritional value. While steel cut oats take longer to cook, the taste and texture is much more robust and well-worth the effort!
1/2 cup steel cut oats, soaked for a few hours if desired (or use normal rolled oats)
1 cup grated zucchini
1 mashed banana
1 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp carob powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp pecan nut butter (almond or peanut butter works too)
Handful of coconut flakes
Other great topping options that you could use (which I didn't have at the time) include: raisins, chopped pecan nuts and coconut yoghurt (YUM!)
1. In a medium sized pot, add the water, cinnamon and oats. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
2. Now stir in the grated zucchini, banana, protein powder, carob powder and almond milk. Cook over medium heat, adding more liquid when necessary, for another 5-6 minutes. Reduce heat to low if required. When cooked (after about 20 minutes), remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
3. Top with pecan nut butter, coconut flakes and maple syrup, or your toppings of choice!
* Feel free to use your own protein powder (unflavoured, chocolate, vanilla or green flavours work well. Alternatively, use 1 tbsp hemp seeds).