Blog | Rachel Begun, MS, RD | Page 2

National Oatmeal Day


I love oatmeal!

It is, without a doubt, my favorite, go-to comfort food.  My mother and grandmother made it for me regularly growing up, and I have been eating it every since.  I love the creamy, grainy goodness and it’s mild flavor makes it perfect for doctoring up with an endless variety of flavors and toppings.

So, while I don’t “celebrate” all the food holidays , National Oatmeal Day is one that I am more than happy to support.

In addition to being a comfort food, there are many health benefits to eating WHOLE oats.  I emphasize WHOLE, because many of the instant oatmeals out there are highly-refined and loaded with added sugars and other unwanted ingredients.

Trust me: The real thing is so much more satisfying than the highly-processed instant varieties.  You can’t even compare the texture between the two.

It’s easy enough to make your own oatmeal from whole oats, and flavoring it with other wholesome ingredients. 

To get you started, I’ve provided both a sweet and savory oatmeal recipe from me, followed by a round-up of other seasonal oatmeal recipes you’ll love.  If you’re short on time in the morning, I highly recommend making your oatmeal via a slow cooker overnight.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to choose certified gluten-free oats, as not all of the attached recipes call for them.

Sweet Overnight Oatmeal


6 1/2 cups water
2 cups steel-cut oats (for those with celiac disease, choose certified gluten free)
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup apples, diced
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
Honey (optional)


  1. Combine the water, oats, salt and raisins in a slow cooker.  Cover with the lid and cook until the oats are tender and creamy and the raisins hydrated–about 7-8 hours on LOW or 4 hours in HIGH–adding the diced apples either 5 hours (HIGH) or 3 hours (LOW) the way through.
  2. When fully cooked, stir the oatmeal mixture well and drain out any excess water.
  3. Add in the chopped walnuts.  Mix until distributed.
  4. If desired, drizzle with honey to sweeten.

Makes 8 servings. 

Italian Savory Oatmeal


2 cups cooked oatmeal (certified gluten free)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup asparagus, chopped
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Cook oatmeal according to package directions.
  2. Add olive oil to a large pan on high heat.  Once hot, add onions, garlic, mushrooms and asparagus and sauté until onions are translucent. Fold in the cooked oatmeal and cook until it is warmed, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Gradually stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano until it melts into the oatmeal mixture.
  4. Add the thyme.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings for side dish; 2 servings for entree.


Slow Cooker Apple Pie Oatmeal – from

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats – from

Carrot Cake Oatmeal – from

Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal – from

Cranberry and Fig Overnight Oatmeal – from Alton Brown via

Meatless Monday Recipe: Mushroom and Cauliflower “Bolognese” Sauce


A couple of weeks ago, I had an assignment for culinary school to adapt a sauce recipe to a healthier version.

I chose Bolognese sauce…that meaty, satisfying sauce that we go to when we want a stick-to-your ribs dish.  That’s not to say bolognese can’t be healthy when good quality meat and other ingredients are used.  However, replacing the meat with vegetables lowers the calories and saturated fat while upping the fiber and phytonutrients.

So, I decided to adapt the following Bon Appetit Classic Ragu Bolognese recipe to the below. While many ingredients differ, the primary difference is replacing the meat with roasted mushrooms and cauliflower.  The mushrooms add that umami/savory flavor reminiscent of meat.  Together, the cauliflower and mushrooms provide a nice “meaty” texture.

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.  It’s great on the pasta of your choice or zucchini “noodles,” but can also serve as the filling for stuffed peppers, a sloppy joe sandwich, or an omelet.  It’s also delicious as a side dish.

Mushroom Cauliflower “Bolognese” Sauce


1 lb. assorted mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
3 Tbsp. high heat oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
2 carrots, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups mushroom stock (homemade preferred to store-bought)
4 oz. tomato paste
Salt, to taste
Fresh-ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place chopped mushrooms and cauliflower in a bowl and toss to coat with the high heat oil. Place mushrooms and cauliflower on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Place roasted mushrooms and cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until ground to a chunky consistency.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery, carrots and sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes.  Add ground mushrooms and cauliflower and sauté, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar, simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the mushroom stock and tomato paste.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until liquid has evaporated, about 45 minutes.
  6. With about 5 minutes of cooking left, season with salt and pepper to taste, and paprika.
  7. Portion sauce over 4 plates of gluten-free pasta or zucchini spirals.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, and thyme, if desired.

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