A dollop of yogurt and drizzle of maple syrup make this healthy baked carrot cake oatmeal crazy good. Make ahead for a 1-minute warm-up breakfast on the go.
My friend Judi makes this carrot cake oatmeal all the time and passed it on to me. The recipe is from Oh She Glows and it’s a great one. Tastes just like carrot cake but guilt free – packed with whole grain oats, carrots, nuts and dates (or raisins) and only 150 calories per square (ok, not including the drizzle of syrup).
The recipe is easy to make and I love that I can portion it, refrigerate or freeze the squares and pop them into the microwave whenever I want. To be honest, I eat them more for snacks or dessert than I do for breakfast. Judi serves them often for brunch.
The carrot cake oatmeal squares hold together well, but are nice and moist with an oatmeal-y texture. I’ve listed several variations and shortcuts below, including some of Judi’s tips that she’s learned with experience over the years. The recipe can easily be made gluten free with certified gluten free oats and dairy free with almond milk or another non-dairy milk. You can also leave out the nuts for a nut free option as well.
Tailor To Your Taste (and dietary needs)
- Use any chopped nuts you like.
- Use chopped dates, raisins or dried cranberries.
- Substitute milk with a dairy free substitute.
- If you prefer less sweet, use 1/4 cup maple syrup instead of 1/3 cup.
- Add a grated or finely chopped apple.
- Use any yogurt you like for a topping or none at all. I use zero fat vanilla yogurt.
- For a bit of decadence, try topping the squares with coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
- To add extra protein, beat 2-3 eggs in a measuring cup then add enough milk to measure 2 1/2 cups in total. This results in a more cake-like texture.
- Instead of shredding the carrots with a grater, use the grater on your processor or simply grind the carrots finely in the processor (that’s what I did).
- Ditch the carrot grating altogether and buy matchstick carrots.
Make Ahead Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- The whole recipe can be made ahead, cut into squares and refrigerated or frozen. You can freeze all the squares, then pop them into a ziploc. Or just wrap individually or two per bag, then freeze.
- You can also prepare the ‘batter’, pour it into your casserole dish, then place covered overnight in the fridge. Bake the next morning.
Carrot Cake Oatmeal
- 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup lightly packed shredded carrots (about 3 carrots) or finely grind them in processor
- 2 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates or raisins
- (optional): vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and/or extra shredded carrots
- Preheat oven to 375F. Grease (or spray with oil) a 2 .5 quart/10-cup casserole dish e.g. 8" x 11", 7" x 11" or 9"x 9".
- COMBINE DRY INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl, combine, oats, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger poweder
- MIX WET INGREDIENTS: In a medium bowl, mix together shredded carrot, milk, syrup, vanilla. Then add this to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl and stir to combine well.
- ADD TOPPINGS AND BAKE: Pour mixture into casserole dish. Press down with hands to ensure oatmeal sinks into milk. Sprinkle on walnuts and dates (or raisins) and press down slightly again. Bake for 32-37 minutes until edges are lightly golden (I bake for 35 minutes). Inside texture will be moist. It firms up a bit when cooled. Cool for 10 minutes,
- SERVE: Serve in bowls or cut into squares when cooled. Top with vanilla or plain yogurt, a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon and/or extra shredded carrots if desired.
Other make ahead breakfast treats you might enjoy: