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Steel-cut oatmeal with almonds and jam for an easy breakfast on Meatless Monday

No one's saying you

have

to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.

You may think that you hate oatmeal, but if you've only eaten that instant abomination, then you should really give steel-cut oats a try. Nutty instead of bland, chewy instead of gummy, they're much more nutritious (and filling) and, although not instant, very easy to make.

You will need:

4 cups water 2 cups steel-cut oats 1 cup raw almonds 2 tablespoons jam (four-fruit is my favorite) A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Place the water and the oats in a large pot along with the pinch of salt. Bring to a boil -- but you want to catch it before it really gets going, so keep an eye on the pot. When the water's just started to boil, lower the heat as much as you possibly can. Unlike rolled oats, steel-cut oats don't take to frequent stirring, so for best consistency it's better to cook them longer, over a very low heat so that they don't scorch. Cover and let simmer for thirty minutes or so. If the heat is low enough, you should be able to cook the oats without the pot boiling over. 2. By now, your oven should be warm. Spread the cup of almonds on a baking sheet and toast for ten to fifteen minutes. Your oatmeal should still be slowly, gently bubbling. 3. Place the almonds in a small food processor or blender. Chop into pieces. 4. After about half an hour, your oats should have absorbed most of the water and be ready to go. Add the two tablespoons of jam to the oatmeal. Throw the chopped almonds on top. Stir the jam and almonds in with the oatmeal and cook for another five minutes or so. Serve immediately (the jam gives a hint of sweetness, so you might want to skip the traditional brown sugar), or store and reheat throughout the week. hese keep well and retain their texture and taste, so I like to make a big pot and then have breakfast ready to nuke every morning.

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