Steel Cut Oats Make the Best Brain and Body Food

Rolled vs. steel cut oats. Photo by little blue hen from Flickr.com

Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, Arginine, Histidine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Methionine.

When I say this list, I somehow become a palpably nerdy and decidedly feminine version of Jay-Z in my wee brain and then I mutter, “Hit me!” as if asking the nutrition gods to drop that dope list on me again. Why begin this
entry with this list and let you in on what my husband calls an, “(sigh) embarrassingly private moment?”

Well, dear eater, this list is the complete list of the 10 essential amino acids (proteins) your body must get from outside sources. These 10 essential amino acids are also, wait for it, found in STEEL CUT OATS. That’s right, I’ve pulled up my hoodie and murmured, “Hit me,” again.

What else should you know about your oats? Don’t get them rolled or boxed as “quick cook” versions. That squishes the goodness right out of them. You want them to be steel-cut, pinhead, Irish, or Scottish. These labels mean that your dope oats have undergone minimal processing and that mighty fine list of essential amino acids is present to increase brain and body function.

Oats also contain beta-glucan, a fiber that has the ability to lower cholesterol and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Beta-glucan has also been linked to enhanced immune system responses. Oats also have antioxidant compounds called avenanthramides that further reduce cardiovascular disease. High fiber diets including steel-cut oats are also well known to reduce blood pressure risks, aid in diabetes prevention and treatment and reduce asthmatic symptoms. Also, if packaged in a gluten-free facility they can provide a great grain alternative for those with celiac disease/gluten tolerance issues. Que my hoodie and a, “Hit me!”

Packages of steel-cut oats always have a recipe for my favorite breakfast food. So, rather than repeat the easily found, I’ve included my recipe for vegan haggis that I fondly call “Vegas.” It is a different yet yummy use of oats and is a riff off a recipe found at allfoods.com online and with a bit of hotsauce is also mighty fine with tortilla chips in front of a good basketball game on the telly.

Jenna’s Vegas, A.K.A. Vegan Haggis

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
5 fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup dry red lentils
2 tablespoons canned black beans – drained, rinsed, and mashed
3 tablespoons ground peanuts
2 tablespoons ground hazelnuts
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 1/3 cups steel cut oats

Directions

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and saute the onion 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in carrot and mushrooms, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Stir in broth, lentils, mashed black beans, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Season with thyme, sage, cayenne pepper, and mixed spice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in oats, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 5×9 inch baking pan. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Bake 30 minutes, until firm and the moisture is completely absorbed and the oats and lentils are al dente. You may need to add more broth if the mixture dries out before the oats and lentils are done.

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