Sweetened only with dates and maple syrup, these nutty, fruit-topped oatmeal cakes do double duty as both a decadent breakfast and a healthy dessert.
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. My family has endured multiple dentist and doctor appointments, a teen sleepover/surprise birthday party (not for our teen but at our house), and a Homecoming dance (complete with an emergency run back to the store at the last minute to have the security tag removed from the dress). And that’s just the fun stuff!
Yesterday, a team of plumbers arrived and began tunneling under our house in order to fix the rusted-out drain pipe leading from the kitchen sink. It’s a three-day process, so the sink will be out of commission at least two more days.
Since I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking (who wants to drain pasta in the bathroom?) I thought I’d share a recipe that I made a couple of years ago for VegNews magazine.
Several bloggers were asked to create recipes containing pumpkin. Normally, I would try to use fresh pumpkin, but it was July and even canned pumpkin was almost impossible to find. I knew that the other bloggers would be concocting luscious desserts, but instead of trying to compete, I decided to go the refined sugar-free route and make a breakfast that could also double as a healthy dessert.
This is a much fancier breakfast than I would ever cook on a weekday (and definitely not without a working kitchen sink to clean up all the dishes!) I save it for weekends, for visitors, or for when I have some time to make the components in advance. The oatmeal cakes can be made ahead and frozen, so all you have to do is reheat them for a breakfast that’s about as quick as frozen waffles–without all the white flour and preservatives.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cakes
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup chopped dates about 3 ounces
- 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
- 1 1/4 cup plain coconut milk (the drinking kind, not canned) or other non-dairy milk
- Place the water and dates in a blender and blend until dates are finely chopped. Add the pumpkin, spices, salt, and flaxseed and blend until well-combined.
- Heat a large saucepan and toast the oats, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Carefully add the pumpkin mixture, standing back in case it spatters, and then the coconut milk. Stir well, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until thick and chewy.
- Line a 11×7-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Spread the oats in the dish, smoothing the top. Cool on the counter for an hour and then refrigerate until completely chilled, at least an hour. Turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 16 triangles or rectangles.
- Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the oatmeal cakes and cook on each side until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a warm oven and repeat with remaining cakes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
- Place two cakes on each dessert plate. Top with warm Apple-Pecan Compote, below.
Nutritional info is approximate.
- 4 apples
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Peel, core, and dice the apples and toss with the lemon juice.
- Heat a large saucepan. Add the pecans and toast them, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on medium-high heat until apples are tender and much of the water has cooked off, about 15 minutes.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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Janae @ bring joyOctober 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm
Beautifully simple, I love it. That teen sleepover must have been something! I can’t wait for those days :). Hope you get your kitchen sink fixed soon.
Also, about canned pumpkin, I’m really not convinced that buying a fresh pie pumpkin & making my own puree is any better or cheaper than buying canned. I can get a sugar pumpkin for $3 (& it’s about 3 pounds), or buy a can that’s nearly a pound for $1. Would love to hear your thoughts..
Susan VoisinOctober 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm
Thanks, Janae! About the pumpkin, for something like this where it’s combined with lots of other ingredients, I don’t think it matters much if it’s canned. But I really like fresh pumpkin in recipes where it’s the main ingredient, such as my Impossible Pumpkin Pie. I also like working with fresh pumpkin as a vegetable in savory dishes, where I can chop it up or slice it. You can’t do that with canned pumpkin. 😉
moonwatcherOctober 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm
What a neat idea! These look great. I love how you spread out the batter and let it cool, then cut it into shapes. And that they can be frozen. Awesome! I love the juxtaposition of textures between the compote and the cakes! Beautiful photo. 🙂 I have a GIANT pumpkin someone gave me so once I get that cooked, I just might try this out. Glad you went the healthy route Susan! This is uniquely pretty and delicious looking. 🙂
moonwatcherOctober 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm
ps: Good luck with that plumbing!! (This, too, shall pass, and then you will have wonderful new working sink pipe!)
PaigeOctober 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm
Love following your posts….question,
Is it ok to use Bob’s Red Mill Regular Rolled Oats or does it have to be steel cut?
Susan VoisinOctober 1, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Hi Paige, this recipe needs steel-cut oats for it to work out right. I have a recipe for baked oatmeal bars that uses rolled oats, and you might prefer it: https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/08/peach-oatmeal-bars.html
SunnyjoyOctober 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm
Hi. Thanks for this. It might be just the thing for a family member I’m trying to inspire to broaden his breakfast choices into fruits and fiber.
I’m seriously needing to cut back on sugars, so as an inexperienced cook, I have to ask … can I decrease the amount of maple syrup at all without ruining some role it has in creating a texture or holding things together? I enjoy the flavor of apples enough that I don’t need a lot of sweetener, so I’m wondering if I could even lessen the maple syrup if not eliminate it altogether. I could always add some stevia if needed for sweetness. (I ask this very naively, truly, from lack of experience.)
Thanks. I appreciate your website and recipes and positivity!
Susan VoisinOctober 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm
The syrup is there for moisture as well as sweetness, so you can’t leave it out completely or there won’t be enough moisture to cook the apples. But you could replace it with apple juice and a little stevia, if you like. Cook until it’s thickened slightly.
CaseyOctober 1, 2013 at 8:37 pm
You certainly have been busy. Thank you for finding the time to share this recipe. It looks amazing yet sounds simple. Looking forward to trying. Hope you are back to draining pasta in the kitchen soon.
Samantha TerriOctober 2, 2013 at 11:39 am
Oh thank you so much for your pumpkin oatmeal cakes! I’ve been eating apples for breakfast for at least the last 3 years. In winter I have apple compote mixed with oatmeal and in summer I eat raw apples and almonds..your pumpkin oatmeal cakes are that perfect…”something” for when I need a bit more early morning TLC! Thanks!
NoraOctober 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Susan, can I substitute butternut squash for pumpkin? I have some cooked now that needs to be eaten.
Susan VoisinOctober 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm
I’m sure butternut will be fine. Just purée it and drain it until it’s the consistency of canned pumpkin,
MishellOctober 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm
Does the nutrition value listed under the pumpkin oatmeal cakes INCLUDE the compote? Or is it for the cakes alone?
Susan VoisinOctober 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm
It’s for the cakes alone. The nutrition info for the compote is under its recipe.
Deena KakayaOctober 3, 2013 at 10:57 am
Oh my goodness this looks gorgeous! And a surprising mix of indigents. I hope I can pull it off 🙂 lovely recipe. I hope you will also take a look at some of my recipes x
shanOctober 3, 2013 at 11:04 am
These look fabulous. I’m always looking for a use for leftover canned pumpkin.
Can these be frozen (after panfrying and cooled) and then reheated in a toaster oven? It would be a great snack for morning or afternoon break at work.
Thanks for another great recipe!
Susan VoisinOctober 3, 2013 at 11:08 am
Yes! They freeze perfectly and reheat well. Hope you enjoy them!
SmoOctober 4, 2013 at 8:22 am
I made this last night… the flavors are absolutely amazing!! I couldn’t get the triangles to cook without losing their shape! And the insides were still gooey even if I was getting the side on the pan to almost burning… advice?
Susan VoisinOctober 4, 2013 at 8:32 am
Sorry about that! You could start off with less liquid next time, or cook them longer during the 1st stage to thicken and boil off some of the liquid. I’m glad you liked the flavors, though.
SmoOctober 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm
Thanks! I may also try baking them…
Chomp Chomp VeganOctober 4, 2013 at 9:00 am
So healthy. Seems tasty! Lovely as always, cheers
veg.galOctober 6, 2013 at 7:58 am
I love your website! I am a fat-free vegan thanks to Dr. McDougall’s Starch Solution. Thank you so much for the wonderful recipes!
Riya@Sprout'dOctober 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm
I think I will serve this to my family when they come visit during the holiday season. Yum!!
Andrea ColeOctober 9, 2013 at 7:16 pm
Ok that looks absolutely delicious can the pumpkin be substituted for something else when it is not in season, that dish looks great for the holidays too.
Susan VoisinOctober 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm
You could probably use apple sauce instead of the pumpkin, but I’ve never tried it.
VeronicaNovember 18, 2013 at 10:09 am
This looks so delicious! Perfect timing too, as I’ve been trying to find some new ideas to use pumpkin for this Thanksgiving. Our 8-year old LOVES pumpkin, but pumpkin pie isn’t the healthiest and I’m kind of burnt out on everything else.
Cindy McRoyApril 8, 2015 at 12:39 pm
For the Pumpkin/oatmeal recipe, is there a version that has less carbs?
MarciaJune 18, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Susan, I only just saw this yet have followed you for years. Do you think this would work cooking it in the IP? Or baking it? Thanks.