Banana Walnut … Oatmeal?

We like bananas … a lot. But nobody who lives here really cares for them once they start to go brown. This is a problem, because sometimes it feels like they go from green to spotty in the matter of hours. And yet, I still buy them in bunches of six or eight at a time.

Banana recipes all tend to fall into the same few categories: the kind that require firm, not overly ripe bananas, like Smitten Kitchen‘s banana cake in her cookbook, or Bananas Foster. Another type of banana recipe calls for bananas masquerading as something else, like in paleo pancakes. (Google “pinterest fail nailed it banana” to see what I mean. But be warned, you’re never going to get that ten minutes back.) Our favorite kind of banana recipe takes over-ripe bananas and turns them into something wonderful, like bread or muffins, which are really just cake masquerading as breakfast. Yes, please. I make a LOT of this last kind of banana recipe, but then I end up eating most of it. So, I was looking for a healthier version of upcycled bananas, and I came up with this:

IMG_8624

Banana Walnut Oatmeal

8 cups water

2 cups steel cut oatmeal

3-4 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (You could use more, especially if you like a really banana-heavy flavor)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon each: cloves, ginger, nutmeg, allspice

1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Cook the whole mess in a slow cooker on low heat overnight (8-10 hours, but more won’t hurt it)

If you’re feeling a little too virtuous, add 1/2 cup of browned butter. Make it the fancy kind of butter.

This makes a huge batch, but you can keep it in the refrigerator and microwave individual portions all week. It is not pretty enough to photograph – it looks somewhat like cement. But it is delicious. You can definitely play with the sweetness factor, depending on how much you want it to taste like cake for breakfast.

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