It’s the time of year for things like carrot cake — for things baked with a fair amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, laced with raisins and nuts, and eaten with the most reckless of reckless abandon.
And yet, while the very notion of cinnamon sends me clicking my heels down an imagined titian-leaved forest path, there is still something about carrot cake that is a touch summery to me. I suppose it’s because the only time we ever really ate carrot cake growing up was for my father’s birthday. Carrot cake was his favorite, and so we had it every August 16th, without fail.
This dish isn’t carrot cake, but it is carrot cake adjacent. It’s also oatmeal adjacent — that is, it’s obviously not oatmeal, but it reaches the same happy place in my heart that oatmeal also reaches — that place that is otherwise unreachable. It’s an every-season-of-the-year kind of happiness.
To make this Whole30 compliant, simply omit the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and then top your bowl with whatever Whole30-safe nuts you happen to have on hand — or toast the walnuts in the oven and skip the sugary coating. The carrots and the raisins actually offer more than enough sweetness here – the maple syrup is just an extra, extravagant extravagance.
Paleo Carrot Cake Porridge with Maple-Roasted Walnuts — Gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30-adaptable.
- 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon + 1/4 cup maple syrup (*omit for Whole30)
- Sea salt
- 3 pounds carrots, peeled
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (*omit for Whole30)
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
First, prepare the walnuts. Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brushed with oil or cooking spray. Put them in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 6-8 minutes and then remove. Allow them to cool slightly before drizzling them with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. With your hands, toss to coat and then sprinkle generously with sea salt. Return the nuts to the oven for another 6-8 minutes, until they are fragrant and crisp, but not burnt. Immediately remove the nuts from the parchment paper and set them aside on a plate.
Prep the carrots by chopping them into small pieces and then grating them in a food processor. Process until the pieces are about the size of rice grains. You may need to do this in batches.
Over a medium flame, heat the coconut oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan/pot. Once it has melted, add the carrots, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla, and stir to incorporate. Pour in the coconut milk and raisins and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until the carrots are softened, but not mushy. Turn off the heat, stir in the chia seeds and the 1/4 cup maple syrup, and let the porridge sit for about 15 minutes, while the chia seeds soak up some of the excess coconut milk. Scoop the porridge into bowls, top with Maple-Roasted Walnuts and additional raisins.
Good news! This recipe is Whole30 adaptable!
- Read more about the Whole30 guidelines and my goals for the program here and here.
- Get my tips for prepping and planning for the Whole30 here.
- Follow my Whole30 board on Pinterest here.
- For more pictures, check out my Instagram page here.