It’s strawberry season! Are you as excited as I am to see these vibrant little things everywhere you look?
According to The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, strawberries are:
- High in vitamin C and K
- A good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B5, manganese and iodine
- Protective against heart disease
- Strong cancer fighters
You can read a whole lot more about the health benefits of strawberries, including a comprehensive list of phytonutrient content, on World’s Healthiest Foods. Because they’re so amazing that there’s way more about them than I could ever fit here!
Before you rush off and do that, though, let me share this with you:
As you can see, this Vanilla Strawberry Chia Breakfast Bowl makes use of a whole bunch of strawberries. I put “1 cup, sliced” in the recipe, but frankly you can use as many as you want. There’s no reason not to when strawberries are as readily available as they are now. I recently scored a whole flat at the farmer’s market and have been eating absolute tons of them ever since.
Everything in this breakfast mix is good for you, and yet it tastes as decadent as a dessert. I chose oats and barley flakes as the base and encourage you to try making your own combination! Kamut and spelt flakes are both hearty choices, and of course there are tons of multi-grain hot cereal mixes out there. Using almond milk as part of the liquid gives the grains a silky texture and vanilla extract adds just enough flavor. Try vanilla almond milk (Pacific makes an unsweetened one) for an even deeper vanilla taste. If you choose a grainy hot cereal instead of a flaked one, check the package for the right liquid-to-grain ratio.
I don’t usually use sweeteners when I make oatmeal, but I have gotten into the habit of chopping up dried fruit and letting it cook along with the grains until it gets kind of melted and sticky. Here the fruit of choice is apricots because of their mild flavor, which adds a sweetness that doesn’t overwhelm the strawberries.
I always like to put some nuts or seeds in my breakfast bowls, and here I used chia. No particular reason other than I like chia seeds and they seem to go well with strawberries, although they do count as a “superfood” and therefore elevate you to a whole new level of breakfast awesomeness. Or something like that.
And then there’s cinnamon, which makes everything better and offers the added bonus of being good for blood sugar control. This particular breakfast bowl has both a cinnamon stick and a little bit of ground cinnamon for double deliciousness.
Of course, just because I stopped there doesn’t mean you have to. If you like vanilla protein powder and you’ve just had a crazy leg day workout, dump some of that in your bowl instead of the almond milk. Use ground flax instead of chia or go all out and toss on other seasonal berries. Recipes are, after all, just guidelines!
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup barley, kamut or spelt flakes
- 2 large dried apricots (about 18g), chopped
- ¼ cup unsweetened plain or vanilla almond milk
- 1½ cup water, plus more as needed
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- ground cinnamon for sprinkling
- Combine the oats, barley/kamut/spelt flakes, chopped apricots, almond milk and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered for a minute or so. Take off the lid and check the texture. If it's too gummy, add a little more water. Add two-thirds of the sliced strawberries and put the pan back on the burner over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the berries are just warm.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chia seeds. Top with the remaining strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Grab a spoon and dig in!