“Pumpkin Pie” Oatmeal Perfect For Seniors

There aren’t many desserts that capture the essence of a holiday quite like pumpkin pie does for Thanksgiving. This hard winter squash is a great source of beta-carotene, potassium and fiber. Unfortunately, these health benefits are often overshadowed by all the fat and sugar that go into turning a can of pumpkin purée into the sweet, decadent treat that we recognize and love.


Pumpkin Oatmeal


Rather than utilizing the trio of eggs, sugar and cream as the binding agents for a special-occasion pumpkin pie, the following recipe combines steel-cut oats with pumpkin purée for a wholesome, everyday dish. When soaked overnight and gently simmered the next morning, the oats provide a creamy base for a filling, dessert-inspired breakfast of champions. 

Healthy and Delicious Oats

Pile of Oats

Like pumpkin, steel-cut oats are a great source of dietary fiber. Consuming foods that are rich in fiber helps eliminate cholesterol from the body and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Unlike more highly processed rolled oats, which are steamed, rolled and toasted, steel-cut oats are whole groats that are simply cut into small pieces—nothing more. In addition to providing a deliciously nutty flavor and slightly chewy texture, these whole grains take longer for the body to digest. This helps maintain the feeling of satiety for a greater period of time. Steel-cut oats are also lower on the glycemic index than rolled oats, causing smaller spikes in blood glucose levels when eaten.  

Easy Prep The Night Before

Pot on Stove

To give the oats a bit of a head start in rehydrating, they are soaked and refrigerated overnight in water along with most of the ingredients they will be cooked with the next morning. Included in the mixture is ground flaxseed, which provides heart-healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and more fiber. A combination of four classic warm spices adds the characteristic “pumpkin pie” flavor to the canned pumpkin purée. Of course, if you happen to have roasted or boiled fresh pumpkin flesh on hand—kabocha is especially delicious—blend or purée it and use that instead.

When morning time rolls around, simply pour the soaked mixture into a pot, add a cup of milk for extra creaminess, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring once in a while to prevent the bottom from sticking and burning. While the oats cook, it’s a great time to toast up the garnish: shelled pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas. These small crunchy seeds add some textural contrast, protein and visual appeal.

A drizzle of maple syrup (or a spoonful of brown sugar, if you prefer) is all that’s needed to complete this satisfying breakfast. Another plus? If you’re making the full senior friendly recipe for just yourself, the leftovers will keep quite nicely, refrigerated, for up to a week. When you’re ready to eat, reheat the oatmeal with a little more milk or water. Dessert for breakfast, anyone?

“Pumpkin Pie” Oatmeal

If you cannot find pepitas, feel free to substitute toasted pecans instead. For additional simplicity, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice can be used in lieu of the individual spices.


Close up of Pecans

1 cup steel-cut oats

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

3/4 cup canned pumpkin purée

3 cups water

1 cup milk

Maple syrup, for drizzling

1/4 cup raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

Cooking Instructions

Small Saucepan

1. In a bowl, mix the oats, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt together until combined. Stir in the pumpkin purée and water until smooth, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and stir in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer until oats are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. While the oats are cooking, warm a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pepitas and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Transfer the oatmeal to serving bowls, drizzle with maple syrup and top with pepitas.

Serves 4.