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Family

A Savory Start
February 16, 2010 • Posted by Jennifer Perillo

We all know that saying about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, right? Well, it’s especially true for your little one. Toddlers burn lots of energy throughout the day, and oatmeal is one of those good for you stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. It’s high in fiber, and steel cut oats are a particularly good source of protein too. Add in some fresh fruit and it’s a well-balanced meal.

Want more good news? Oatmeal can be topped with more than just fruit. Savory oatmeal is a delicious way to introduce your baby to new flavors, and makes for a perfect grown-up treat too, as you’ll see in this recipe for steel cut oats with caramelized onions and fresh ricotta. Sauteed onions have a naturally sweet flavor and the ricotta compliments the already creamy texture of the oatmeal. Experienced eaters will lap this up—my 21 month old grabbed the last lick. And for younger babies, skip the onions and puree it in the food processor with the ricotta cheese.

Caramelized Onion & Ricotta Oatmeal
serves 2 adults and 1 baby

Sure, this sounds decadent and like a lot of work, but it comes together pretty quickly if you have leftover oats in the fridge and you can always make a big batch of caramelized onions to store in the fridge—they'll just need a brief reheat in the microwave.

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon molasses
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked steel cut oats
2 tablespoons fresh ricotta

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in molasses, and a touch more olive oil if necessary. Cover skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are very tender, about 10 more minutes.
  2. Divide the cooked oatmeal among three bowls, making baby’s portion appropriate for her age and appetite. Top with the caramelized onions and fresh ricotta.

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