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Pumpkin oatmeal is a hot breakfast cereal comprised of cooked oats and pumpkin puree or chunks stirred in or used as a topping. The base of the cereal is the oat, a common grain available in several varieties and offering numerous nutrients. The second main ingredient, the pumpkin, is a vine vegetable, though only certain types are used for cooking. They must be cleaned and cooked before using and may be pureed and stirred into the oats for a baked oatmeal, or added to cream or milk for a thick stove-top cereal. Other classic oatmeal ingredients are common in this dish, and preparation methods vary.
Oats are a common cereal grain most commonly used in meal form. They're also used for adding texture and density to various savory dishes and baked goods. Oats may be flattened and rolled after being husked, par-boiled, or cut into tiny pieces. Pumpkin oatmeal can be made from any one of these varieties. The grain offers plenty of fiber and micro-nutrients like manganese, selenium, and vitamin B1.
The pumpkin is a member of the vine crop family Cucurbitaceae. Varieties used for cooking are "sugar" or "Dickinson" pumpkins, among others. Its seeds and fibrous pulp is scooped out before cooking the edible flesh. The squash offers plenty of beta carotene, potassium, and vitamin A, among other nutrients, and has only 49 calories per cup of boiled, drained flesh.
In many cases, pumpkin is pureed with oats and other ingredients when used in oatmeal. It may be stirred in with oats and other dry ingredients as a topping in baked oatmeal, for instance. It may also be whipped in with heavy cream, milk, or other wet ingredients for stove-top oatmeal. Semi-firm pumpkin pieces can also be cut into small cubes and used as a topping, though the vegetable's soft texture makes this less typical.
A variety of other traditional ingredients can be found in pumpkin oatmeal. Different nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts may be chopped and mixed in or sprinkled on top, and sweeteners like maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey accent the pumpkin's natural flavors. Occasionally, heavy cream and various animal or plant milks may be added for a rich, decadent cereal. Other fruits like banana or dried cranberry may also be added to contrast or complement the mellow, nutty flavor in the pumpkin oatmeal.
Pumpkin oatmeal is prepared with the vegetable usually being cooked ahead of time, unless canned puree is used. The puree and other ingredients are stirred into the oats after they're boiled per normal instructions for a stove-top dish. Oats, dry ingredients, and pumpkin along with seasonings and nuts are layered in a casserole dish and baked for 25 to 40 minutes for a crisp, nutty breakfast treat.