My boyfriend usually makes me breakfast on the weekend, but Sunday I decided to surprise him with this strawberry banana baked oatmeal.
It wasn’t really a surprise because I showed up at his house Saturday with all the ingredients and said, “I’m going to make you breakfast tomorrow.” But it was a surprise that I got out of bed early Sunday morning to make it, AND that it was as good as it was. I knew it would be delicious, but I didn’t know how delicious.
I was originally going to make another baked oatmeal recipe with dark chocolate, almonds, and banana. But then I found a bunch of good looking California strawberries at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market on Saturday. I ate half of them while I was sitting at the park reading Saturday afternoon, and I saved the other half for breakfast Sunday. I decided to put them in the baked oatmeal with semi-sweet chocolate chips, banana, and walnuts.
My favorite part of this recipe is the mix of flavors. You have the sweet, juicy, tart strawberries, the fragrant, warm banana, spicy cinnamon, melted chocolate, and citrus from orange zest. My boyfriend said he couldn’t taste the orange zest but he also said that I have a more refined palate, which is true. I could *definitely* taste it, especially once I came back to his house after the botanical garden and had a second helping for lunch. Sometimes flavors need a second to marinate.
Even though this is baked oatmeal, it looks and feels more like a cake. The oats give it an oatmeal-like texture but it’s light, fluffy, and melts in your mouth, kind of like a piece of cake would.
The other crazy thing about this baked oatmeal is that as I’m writing about it, I can smell it. It makes me think there’s a slice of it being warmed up down the hall in the office microwave, but I know it’s not because we ate it all. The fruity, cinnamon-y, banana smell will stay with you for at a least a day afterward, or maybe every time you conjure an image of it in your head.
I was going to serve the baked oatmeal with maple syrup but it was sweet enough on its own. If you’re a fan of extra sweet things, though, you might want to drizzle a little on top.
Another thing to note about this recipe is the nuts. I really liked the walnuts in the oatmeal because they’re buttery and retain their shape well, even when you bake them. But if you’re not a fan of walnuts you could sub in almonds. I bet they would also be delicious.
Here’s a song to start you on your baked oatmeal journey. It’s also good for Monday mornings when you don’t want to get out of bed but you force yourself to, anyway.
Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
6 oz strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups milk, dairy or non-dairy (I used skim milk)
1 large egg
3 Tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 2 quart baking dish liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
Mix the rolled oats, sugar, powder, grated orange zest, cinnamon, salt, half the walnuts, half the strawberries, and half the chocolate chips in a large bowl. Spread it out in the prepared baking sheet. Place the banana and the rest of the walnuts, strawberries, and chocolate chips on top, making sure to spread them evenly.
Whisk the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract in another bowl. Pour it carefully over the oats in the pan. Gently shimmy the pan side to side and back and forth on the counter to make sure the milk mixture is evenly distributed.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top of the oatmeal is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Enjoy!