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#CookClub bonus recipe: Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Belgian Waffles

Kathy Hester is on a mission to make the world love oats as much as she does.

The Durham, N.C., food blogger and cookbook author extols its virtues in her new book OATrageous Oats: Delicious & Surprising Plant-Based Dishes from this Humble, Heart-Healthy Grain (Page Street Publishing, 2014).

She has fond memories of childhood breakfast bowls of apple-cinnamon instant oats. But like her, oats have grown up.

They can be "so much more if you just explore and experiment," Hester writes. Indeed, her book is full of surprising ways to use oats, including in drinks, soups, stews and other savory dishes. Steel-Cut Oat Bean Chili? There's a recipe for that.

This week's #CookClub bonus recipe is Gluten-free Lemon Blueberry Belgian Waffles, a recipe that certainly speaks to the way a lot of Americans eat today. It's loaded with fiber and void of wheat, something many people are trimming from their diets.

The waffle batter is a combination of both ground and whole rolled oats. It's bolstered by almond and rice flour. The wet ingredients include nondairy milk, flax and vanilla and lemon extracts.

The cook can use fresh or frozen blueberries, which makes this a good year-round recipe. (Of course you could also substitute raspberries or blackberries.) Also, Hester notes that if you don't have a waffle iron, add ¼ to ½ cup of extra nondairy milk to loosen the batter for pancakes.

Hester's specialty is vegan cooking and among her other cookbooks are Vegan Slow Cooking and The Great Vegan Bean Book (both from Fair Winds Press, 2013). You can find more recipes and vegan cooking tips at her website, healthyslowcooking.com.

Hester will join the #CookClub live Twitter chat from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 9 and will be giving away a couple cookbooks. Follow @geekypoet.

Gluten-Free Lemon Blueberry Belgian Waffles

I can't help but add some lemon wherever I have blueberries! If you aren't fond of the combination, use vanilla or almond extract instead. It's very important to cook these waffles at least 5 minutes, if not more. If the waffle is not ready, it will make a mess.

Dry ingredients:

3/4 cup finely ground rolled oats or oat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup rice flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

3/4 cup nondairy milk

1/2 cup applesauce

2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 4 tablespoons warm water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil)

For serving:

Maple syrup

Nondairy butter, optional

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined. In a different bowl, combine the wet ingredients and mix well. Then pour the wet into the dry and mix thoroughly.

Set the batter aside for 10 minutes to let the rolled oats soften. Please note that this batter is very thick. Preheat your waffle iron at medium-high temperature if you have that option. The waffle iron should be hot once the batter is ready.

Spray the top and bottom plates with some spray oil, but you can make it oil-free* by just relying on the nonstick coating. If you choose to use no additional oil, make sure the waffle is completely cooked. If any of the outside is not crispy, the waffle will tear, stick and generally make a mess.

Place about 1/3 cup of batter in the middle of the waffle iron and spread into a circle with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. When you place the top down, the batter will spread. If your mixture gets too thick to spread, add a little nondairy milk to loosen it up.

Cook according to your waffle iron instructions, about 5 to 8 minutes. The first waffle will like take 8 minutes to cook. As you make additional waffles, the process gets a little faster until each subsequent ones is cooked in 5 minutes.

Makes 4 waffles.

Source: OATrageous Oats: Delicious & Surprising Plate-Based Dishes from this Humble, Heart-Healthy Grain by Kathy Hester (Page Street Publishing, 2014)

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