Cook breakfast at dinnertime

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  • photo by Tom ciriello

A healthy, delicious breakfast is possible, even on hectic weekday mornings. Abandon that bowl of soggy flakes or the toaster pastry snagged from the office snack machine and cook breakfast – the night before.

This ancient grain breakfast bake is a twist on oatmeal, a morning classic. I pair steel cut oats with teff, millet and chia, the tiniest of grains and seeds. These have been consumed for thousands of years, earning their place on the essential list of protein rich, nutrient-dense ancient grains. Unlike traditional mushy oatmeal, this mixture cooks up full-bodied, retaining its grainy and toothsome texture. Slow baking in almond milk sweetened with local maple syrup creates a flavor reminiscent of rice pudding. A trick to coaxing maximum flavor with the fewest ingredients is steeping a chai teabag in the simmering milk, adding a hint of cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper without emptying the spice cabinet. A mildly tart, firm apple adds moisture and a bit of extra sweetness. Raisins or chopped dried fruit can be added before baking.

Pop this ancient grain breakfast bake in the oven while you’re preparing the evening meal. Cover, refrigerate and reheat in the morning. If, that is, you can resist the temptation to eat breakfast for dinner.

Ancient Grain Breakfast Bake

Vegan 6 servings

½ cup steel cut oats

¼ cup teff

¼ cup millet

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 medium tart apple, unpeeled and grated

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

1½ cups almond milk or other non-dairy milk

½ cup water

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 chia tea bag

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly oil an 8 inch square pan. In a medium bowl, combine oats, teff, millet, chia, apple and cinnamon. Set aside.

Place almond milk, water and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Place the teabag in the sauce pan and steep for 2 minutes. Pour milk mixture over the grains and stir to combine. Pour into the baking dish. Cover and bake for 50 minutes, or until only a thin film of liquid remains at the top.

Cool slightly, cut into squares and serve with unsweetened coconut whipped cream, pumpkin seeds or your favorite toppings. This breakfast bake can be refrigerated for several days and reheated.

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