How to Blend In

Recipe and photos by Brandon Matzek

This Spiced Oatmeal Smoothie Bowl elevates the humble breakfast smoothie with the addition of healthful toppings, a motley mix of crunchy seeds, shaved coconut, fresh fruit and sweet maple syrup. Out of the glass and into the bowl, the thick smoothie base, flavored with apples, oats and spices, is consumed using a spoon rather than a straw. Toppings are scattered over the surface of the bowl, providing contrasting flavors and textures. Packed with various nutrients, this smoothie bowl can fuel an entire morning.

The recipe starts with a smoothie base made of old-fashioned oats, almond milk, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. A pinch of kosher salt and a squeeze of lemon juice lift flavors. Optional ingredients include turmeric, for its myriad health benefits, and a date, for depth of sweetness. Apple is the main fruit flavor. Apple, oats and cinnamon combine harmoniously. However, this smoothie base will gladly receive many other types of fruit. Here are some ideas:

Apricot and Cardamom: Switch out the apple for 2 ripe, pitted apricots and blend in a pinch of ground cardamom. Add a spoonful of apricot preserves with the toppings.

Mixed Berry: Switch out the apple and ice cubes for 2 cups frozen mixed berries and sweeten with honey instead of maple syrup. Add chopped, toasted almonds with the toppings.

Banana Walnut: Switch out the apple for 1 ripe banana and blend in a small pinch of grated nutmeg. Add chopped, toasted walnuts with the toppings.

Peach and Pecan: Switch out the apple for 1 ripe, pitted peach. Add chopped, toasted pecans and a dollop of peach preserves with the toppings.

Pumpkin Spice: Switch out the apple for 1/2 cup pumpkin puree. Add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and additional maple syrup to taste.

Now, let’s talk toppings. In this recipe, the spiced-oatmeal smoothie base is topped with handfuls of roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted sunflower seeds, coconut flakes and chopped apple, and a drizzle of golden maple syrup. These toppings are just suggestions. Use whatever you have available in your pantry. Fruit (fresh or dried), nuts (toasted or raw), seeds, preserves, chocolate and peanut butter are wonderful additions.

Spiced Oatmeal Smoothie Bowl

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1/4 cup sweetened almond milk (any milk will work here, really)
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. maple syrup, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of ground turmeric (optional)
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 date, pitted (optional)
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Small pinch of kosher salt
6 - 8 ice cubes
Toppings: roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted sunflower seeds, coconut, chopped apple and additional maple syrup drizzled over.

Blend and season. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. The texture should be thick enough to eat with a spoon. Adjust flavors by adding more maple syrup or lemon juice.
Top and enjoy. Pour smoothie into a bowl, and add toppings to taste. Enjoy immediately!