Monday, March 5, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Casserole (gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free)

So we have oatmeal a LOT at our house. I primarily eat either oatmeal or a smoothie for breakfast every single day. The kids eat a lot of homemade granola (made with - you guessed it - oats) and oatmeal with various fruits added in. It was surprisingly easy to ween them off of brown sugar in their oatmeal, which is how they had always eaten it before. Kids are really pretty adaptable...more than we give them credit for, I think!

But every once in a while, we need an oatmeal dish that seems "special". For instance, I made this ahead of time on Christmas Eve and then baked it on Christmas morning. It was quick, easy, and healthier than the cinnamon-rolls-from-a-can of our past. But still delicious!

This oatmeal casserole is technically is sweetened with agave. Agave does still raise a person's blood sugar, but it is a slow-release sweetener that only enters that bloodstream a little at a time, therefore making it ideal for diabetics or those who have a low tolerance for sugar. Since pears are quite sweet and raisins have an extremely high sugar content, this usually turns out almost too sweet for me (even though it's only sweetened with agave). For a diabetic, or someone who can't tolerate high sugar levels even in fruit, I would try substituting strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries for the pears...then try substituting dried blueberries or cranberries for the raisins. It would still be equally as delicious, I'm sure!

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Casserole
gluten free, dairy free, egg free, wheat free, yeast free, nut free, sugar free

3 1/2 cups coconut milk (or milk of choice)
2 tablespoons Spectrum shortening (or butter/margarine substitute)
2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
2-3 small pears or apples, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup raisins (or dried fruit of choice)
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, brink the coconut milk and shortening to a boil. Slowly stir in the oats. Stir in the pears/apples, raisins, agave, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Cook mixture, stirring constantly for one minute. Pour the mixture into your dish (I used one a bit smaller than a 9x13). Bake uncovered for fifteen minutes. Serve warm with extra milk on the side.

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