Orange and Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal

by Kelly on April 14, 2010

Don’t forget there is still time to enter to win my Calphalon omelette pan set giveaway from Check out my post here to enter through Friday, April 16 at 12 AM Eastern time.

spamWhen it comes to food, what does indulgence mean to you?  I would venture a guess that for a lot of people it is linked with something that is higher in calories and/or fat than one’s normal daily consumption.  For me, I will admit my gut associations with the word conjure up visions of fat greasy burgers, donuts, and ice cream.  The dictionary tells me it is about gratifying desire.  This for me begs a question.  In the food world, can something be of a reasonable fat and calorie count and still be indulgent?  I’m sure there could be a whole philosophical debate about this (I am also sure lots of people would find me frivolous for having debates about this topic when there are far more serious things to discuss), but for now, for me, the answer is yes.

I think sometimes indulgence is about having something that is a little out of the ordinary.  Perhaps making something more complex than your life would normally allow or using an ingredient that is hard to source or a little pricey.  In my particular case, my dish of the day was indulgent for me because it stemmed from the latter.  A slammed schedule at work had left me feeling a little ho hum and wanted something that would provide a much needed pick me up.  Because of that I decided it was time for a special breakfast – baked oatmeal.  I will admit that in and of itself baked oatmeal is not a special food for me.  I’m much more apathetic about oats than the average food blogger, so baked oatmeal especially tends to be a food I make out of convenience.  What made this batch a little more indulgent than normal was the use of vanilla bean.  Anyone who has purchased them before knows they are pricey, usually reserved for special occasion recipes and rare instances when the ingredient will absolutely shine.  However, sometimes it’s fun to celebrate an ordinary weekday as if it were a special occasion and there seemed no time better than now to put a vanilla bean to use.



And it’s worth it in this recipe because it really does shine.  When combined with the citrus it makes for a delicately flavored oatmeal that has a cleaness to it that I associate with spring.  I put more of my orange confit to use in this recipe, but you could easily opt for some orange marmalade instead.  However, I would potentially reduce the marmalade to 1/3 cup since it tends to be so concentrated in flavor. It’s also worth noting that on the spectrum of baked oatmeal textures this recipe is more on the cake-like side so it’s a perfect on-the-go breakfast.

Orange and Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal
Serves 4

-2 cups rolled oats
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-Pinch salt
-1 1/2 cups low fat milk
-1 large egg, beaten
-2 tablespoons melted butter
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
-1/2 cup chopped orange confit


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the oats, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the egg mixture reserving the bean for another use. Stir the oat and milk mixtures together and then fold in the chopped orange confit.

Pour mixture into a 9×9-inch square baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray or greased lightly with butter or oil.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a nice crust has developed and the oatmeal is lightly brown around the edges. Serve warm.

What about you? Is there something you make that you consider indulgent, but that doesn’t necessarily tip the scale when it comes to fat and calories?

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Blueberry, Orange and Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal
May 27, 2011 at 7:02 am

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Cara April 14, 2010 at 11:13 am

I have plenty of healthy treats that I consider an indulgence! For example, pancakes. I make a simple but healthy batch from eggbeaters, oats, and cottage cheese. The other day I added sliced strawberries and coconut. It was gorgeous and tasted amazing – and I truly felt like my breakfast, which I took the time to make, was a heck of a lot better than indulging in say, a big ol’ muffin from the coffee shop. And at least half the calories!


Jessica @ How Sweet April 14, 2010 at 11:15 am

I agree that something indulgent does come in the form of something I don’t have everyday – like cheesecake or a burger and fries! I have never had baked oatmeal but think that it sounds delish!


Lauren April 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Cake-y baked oatmeal with vanilla and orange?! Count me in.


ashlee April 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

That looks phenominal! My one indulgence is Caramel Oikos for dessert. It’s pretty pricey, but a tart green apple with a caramel oikos gives me my caramel-apple fix without all of the sugar and calories.


Elina April 14, 2010 at 1:44 pm

This looks incredible. I’ve never bought vanilla beans due to their reputation of being crazy expensive. What a great way to treat yourself without braking the calorie bank 😀


sophia April 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Oooh yes please. I shall indulge in those. A pan of those, right now.
I think “healthy” foods can be “indulgent” in the sense that it’s so satisfying, like roasted veggies. But to me, indulgent means having a bit of “guilt” in there, too. lol.


Kerstin April 14, 2010 at 11:37 pm

This makes me want to run out and get some vanilla beans! I love that it’s easily transportable too!


5 Star Foodie April 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

This sounds super yummy, love the vanilla and orange flavor!


CaSaundra April 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

I’ve never used a real vanilla bean–this baked oatmeal sounds so flavorful!


Hannah April 17, 2010 at 9:41 am

I have oatmeal every morning for breakfast, but nothing like this at all! What a great idea, a baked version might be a fun way to shake things up a bit.


Carolyn Jung April 18, 2010 at 11:46 pm

I once tried oatmeal that had been baked in a ramekin and served with a blueberry compote. Loved it! The texture from baking is really interesting. It’s creamy, yet the oats don’t break down so much that they lose their heartiness. Love the idea of doing this with vanilla bean and orange confit.


Mariel Broadus May 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I used a recipe calculator and at 4 servings – these are 411 calories each. Granted, 11 grams of fat is not extreme for a treat but that’s a pretty nutrient dense breakfast treat!


Bobbi May 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm

In what kind of pan (size) do you recommend to bake it?


Kelly May 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Great question Bobbi, I used a 9×9-inch square baking dish, but anything that holds around 2 quarts would work perfectly.


Clark Taylor May 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I echo Bobbi’s question: what size pan did you use? Also: metal or glass?buttered? Buttered + dusted w/ flour?
And can Quaker Instant replace rolled–I have to go searching for the rolled! Ny neighborhood is rather ethnic and the latter is not avail.
And thanks for the idea–can’t wait to try.


Kelly May 25, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Hi Clark – I added some clarifications above and will e-mail you as well. I used a ceramic baking dish that was lightly coated with cooking spray but have also made this in a glass dish as well as metal and have had similar results. The only thing I personally wouldn’t recommend is a dark metal baking pan as I find that it makes for a darker crust.

As far as instant goes, I imagine the texture would be slightly different but do not see why it otherwise would not work. I usually used rolled/old fashioned oats but have tried variations with quick cooking (though not instant which are rolled a little thinner and cut a little finer) and have also had great success.

All great questions!


Mary Norris May 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Kelly–fantastic concept right down to the hand-holdability for some commuter noshing. You are the pro; I am not–could I substitute agave for the white sugar, and, if so, how much? Any other adjustments to the liquid to solids ratio?

Thank you for your help.


Julie Stroeve May 26, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I love the variety of high-fiber recipes at this website, but I caution the editors that millions of Americans are carbohydrate-intolerant and can’t enjoy high carb recipes like others, even if they’re high in fiber and protein and have other wonderful attributes. So I’d suggest a low-carb alternative recipe for all the high-carb recipes posted on the website. thanks for all you do.


Kelly May 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Mary – I think the following link provides the best suggestion for using agave instead of sugar:

Even if you didn’t compensate with the liquids I think it would still taste great but the texture would probably be a bit more cakelike. I think this website provides the best suggestions for how to substitute while maintaining texture.

Julie – You make a great comment and I will admit to being a carboholic. This is a great suggestion though, In the future I’ll try to provide suggestions on how to bring down the carbs. 🙂


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