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Zoats, or zucchini oats, have become a new favorite breakfast around our house.

Not only are they quick and satisfying, they’re a delicious way to sneak in a serving of veggies at the start of the day. I can honestly say that, when cooked into a pot of old-fashioned oats and topped with warm fruit and a drizzle of maple syrup, the finely shredded zucchini becomes almost undetectable — even to an already picky one year old.

This month, start your morning with more fruit, veggies, whole grains, quality protein and healthy fats with these super simple Caramelized Banana Walnut Zoats. Doing so will keep your mind on what’s important, and give you the energy you need to tackle your to-do list and those bigger ambitions you desire.

oats-recipe2

SERVES: 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini (about 1 large)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces

DIRECTIONS

In a small saucepan, combine oats, milk, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and salt over medium-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add shredded zucchini and cook until liquid has been absorbed and oats are tender, about 4 to 5 more minutes.

While the oats cook, caramelize the bananas and walnuts. Melt coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add maple syrup, cardamom and remaining cinnamon. Carefully swirl the bubbling mixture around the pan a few times to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add walnuts, stir to coat and make room for the banana slices by pushing walnuts to the perimeter of the pan with a spoon. Add banana slices and cook for a few minutes on each side until soft and plump, occasionally spooning some of the syrup over the bananas. Gently fold the walnuts into the bananas and cook for another minute or so.

Divide the zoats into two bowls, top each with half of the caramelized bananas and walnuts and serve warm.

Recipe and photos by Elle Penner, MPH RD for 24Life.