All the flavors of carrot cake—cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts—along with the sweet, vitamin-rich orange of carrots, make this a whole new way to dig into breakfast. It's the tastiest, sweetest way to get an entire serving of vegetables in at the beginning of the day. And while it may sound a little weird, it's really just a slight building on the traditional flavors of breakfast oatmeal porridge, so often sweetened with brown sugar. Grating the carrot and cooking it until tender softens its flavor and highlights its sweetness, making it a most welcome addition to sweet oatmeal, at least for those of us who love carrot cake.
Double, triple, or quadruple this recipe as needed for the number of breakfast-eaters at your table.
This recipe is ripe for variations—see a few ideas at the end of the recipe, including one idea for having frosting on your breakfast!
Peel the carrot and grate it into a small saucepan. Add 1 cup of water and the pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins (if using). Adjust the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the oats and carrot are tender, about 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the brown sugar. Transfer to a bowl. Dot the top with bits of the butter. Sprinkle with more brown sugar, if you like, and top with the walnuts. Serve hot.
Make it creamy: Stir in a tablespoon or two of cream, half-and-half, or whole milk along with the sugar.
Make it creamier: Use whole milk instead of water to cook the oatmeal. Be careful and don't let it quite come to a boil if you choose this option.
Bring on the coconut: Stir in a tablespoon or two of coconut milk along with the sugar for lots of creaminess and a lovely note of coconut flavor.
Bring on more coconut: Stir in or top with grated or shredded coconut.
Make it nuttier: Stir in a tablespoon of almond butter along with the sugar.
Swap the nuts: Try roasted chopped almonds, cashews, or pecans instead of walnuts.
Swap the fruit: Use dried cranberries, dried blueberries, currants, chopped dates or dried figs instead of raisins or currants.
Frost it: Sweeten a tablespoon or two of whipped cream cheese with brown sugar and dollop it on top of the finished carrot cake oatmeal as a sort of "frosting."