Baked Coconut Oatmeal with Pepper Nut Topping

by Marla on February 7, 2011 · 58 comments

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Healthy whole grain oatmeal breakfast with coconut milk and walnuts. Pepper, coconut and oatmeal. Almost like an exotic rice pudding – for breakfast. Peppercorns are usually thought of paired with savories. With sweet and creamy oatmeal pepper takes on a whole new taste profile. Just a dash and a bowl of oats transforms into something a little more. Not to mention in this recipe it combines with dreamy coconut milk. So enjoy some baked oats for breakfast or snack, with a flavor twist.

Healthy steel cut oats breakfast with coconut milk and chopped walnuts.

Aren’t these heart shaped bowls cute? Love that I can take them from oven to table. I found them a few years ago at Williams Sonoma. They get used all year round, not just for Valentine’s Day.

Pouring coconut milk onto oatmeal with cow porcelain creamer pitcher.

Oatmeal combined with coconut milk are go-to ingredients for me. Last year I posted these delicious Cocoa Coconut Oat Parfaits using some of my favorite oats, Coach’s Oats.

Baked steel cut oats in heart shaped bowls for Valentine's Day Breakfast

Traditionally peppercorns have infused many sweets. I have been seeing them used more and more the past few years. It is an ingredient in chai tea and chocolate manufacturers often include it. David Lebovitz uses it in ice cream in his recipe for Milk Chocolate and Black Pepper Ice Cream. Martha even has it here in her Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies.

Freshly picked mandarins with green leafy stems.

When at the market, keep an eye out for all different kinds of pepper. I keep our pantry stocked with white, pink and black. They have subtle taste variations and are fun to use alone or together. Using coarse or fine ground will change things up too. Top your baked oatmeal with any dried or fresh fruit. I love raisins and dates in mine. Mandarins were also very tasty. They paired really well with the pepper and coconut. Come to think of it raspberries and strawberries would too.

Healthy, whole grain, organic steel cut oats breakfast. This is a one of my go-to breakfasts for big ski days in Telluride. Oats give you lots of energy and are a great slow burning, high energy carb. A warm bowl of oats is both satisfying & pleasurable on so many levels. How do you like your oatmeal?

Baked Coconut Oatmeal with Pepper Nut Topping

Makes four servings


  • Use your favorite pepper, I like cracked black pepper. You can also use pink or white pepper or a combination of all three. The white will infuse a more mild taste.
  • Stir in a handful of diced dried or fresh fruit to your oatmeal before you bake it if desired.
  • I use toasted Walnuts in this recipe. Pecans, hazelnuts and many others would be great too. To toast nuts pre heat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the center. Place nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until slightly browned and fragrant about 10 minutes. Let cool in baking sheet. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • You can also use oat bran or old fashioned rolled oats, you will not need to soak these the night before. Prepare them in the microwave or over the stove according to package directions and then bake with the recipe ingredients.


  • 1 cup dry Steel Cut Oats
  • 1 cup light Coconut Milk
  • 1 large Egg, whisked
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
  • Cooking Spray
  • a few pinches Cracked Black Pepper
  • Stevia or favorite natural sweetener to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted Walnuts or Pecans


  • extra chopped, toasted Nuts
  • Coconut Milk, Cream or Fat Free Yogurt
  • toasted, unsweetened Coconut
  • more spices such as Nutmeg, Cardamom, Ginger, Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • any fresh or dried fruit
  • Maple Syrup or any sweetener you like


Soak steel cut oats overnight in 1 cup water. Pre-heat oven to 350˚F with the rack in the middle. Toast the nuts if you have not all ready. Spray a 8 X 8 baking dish or individual bake safe bowls with cooking spray. If using smaller bowls put onto a baking sheet so they are easy to transfer to the oven. In a medium bowl, combine soaked oats with coconut milk, egg, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and vanilla extract. Sweeten to taste. Divide mixture evenly into bowls or spread into baking dish. Divide nuts evenly over the top of the oatmeal, sprinkle on the pepper. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Garnish with fruit, nuts, cream, etc.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jenny Flake February 7, 2011 at 6:34 am

Your posts always make me so happy, so colorful and such exquisite photography! I foresee your work in magazines girl!! xoxo Let’s do lunch this week, miss you!


2 Estela @ Weekly Bite February 7, 2011 at 6:42 am

Wow Marla! This looks incredible! Your pictures are mouthwatering!


3 Jessica @ How Sweet February 7, 2011 at 6:55 am

I love coconut! This just sounds so delicious. And as usual, your photos are stunning!


4 Rosa February 7, 2011 at 7:02 am

That must be delicious! A healthy treat that doesn’t lack flavor.




5 Cookin' Canuck February 7, 2011 at 7:22 am

Wow! This sounds as though it is absolutely packed with
flavor. This might even override my weekly craving for bacon


6 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather February 7, 2011 at 7:24 am

Those bowls are adorable! Your baked oats look so
comforting. I’ve been using so much coconut milk lately and
actually used some just this morning in my oats. I love the subtle
sweetness it gives off.


7 Maria February 7, 2011 at 7:53 am

What a fabulous breakfast treat. love the new header


8 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 7, 2011 at 8:19 am

Wow, I love the flavors you used in this oatmeal, Marla,
and your photos are more stunning than ever. You really are a total
inspiration for always bettering my photography and creativity.
Thanks for sharing this! Have a great week ahead.


9 Faith February 7, 2011 at 8:26 am

Your little heart-shaped bowls are too cute, Marla! Love
the idea of adding peppercorns to oats…what an exciting way to
wake up the palate!


10 Amanda February 7, 2011 at 8:42 am

You KNOW I am in love with this… you just blow me away
with your creativity!!! The pictures and the recipe and the
ingredients… and just perfection!!


11 Megan February 7, 2011 at 8:55 am

Wow I never thought of adding peppercorns to a sweet dish,
shows how much I know! I’ll have to give it a try.


12 Angie's Recipes February 7, 2011 at 10:06 am

Peppercorns in baked oatmeal….mmm…I must try it


13 Angie February 7, 2011 at 10:46 am

New header looks so awesome! Love coconut. All your photos
are so bright and happy! Where do you find those sweet heart bowls?
So yummy. Great comfort food.


14 Kristen February 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

What a comforting and warming recipe! Love the pepper addition… so creative!


15 Mac February 7, 2011 at 11:24 am

You go Girl! The composition in those photos is wonderful! I especially like the white on white to add some texture. Very nice.

Oh! and the recipe…WOW! Sounds like a great way to start out the day, and with a whole heck of a lot of flavor. Delish!

Love the new header, too.
I’ve been meaning to thank you for introducing me to Stevia, especially the drops. Just wonderful. I’m enjoying them very much. Glad I have your shop to find them in, too. :-)


16 Shaina February 7, 2011 at 11:36 am

Love coconut milk, and baking it in oatmeal sounds like the perfect warm breakfast food.


17 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm

First, the recipe is wonderful! The food photography is out
of this world!!! ( i am buying that lens…very soon!) And your new
header, your new “look” here, less pink, more white/crisp…LOVE
IT! You look beyond beautiful in that header pic, btw. Amazing!


18 Marla February 8, 2011 at 7:11 am

Averie: I am so happy we switched to a white header. It shows off the colors of the photos better. I agree with you-way cleaner. Was time to ditch the heavy pink 😉


19 Xiaolu February 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm

What great timing! I just discovered the joys of baked
oatmeal from my college friend. Hers was filled with berries, but
your coconut pepper nut version sounds even more intriguing and
just as tasty!


20 Marla February 8, 2011 at 7:13 am

Xialou: I love baked oatmeal with berries too! Really any combo of flavors works for me when it comes to oats. The coconut milk adds so much, subtle sweetness and tons of flavor.


21 Andrea DiGeronimo February 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

This looks so yummy. Love your new profile and pictures,
you are so beautiful in them. Your new look on the blog is so
professional and brings your site to the next level. xoxo,


22 Joanne February 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

The pepper infusion definitely elevates these from being an every day breakfast to a truly gourmet one! Only you could make oats look this good, Marla!


23 Kat @ Cupcake Kat February 7, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Those bowls are so cute. I love Williams Sonoma
What an interesting oatmeal I love pepper on pretty much anything (and I love chai) so I’ll definately have to try these out


24 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 8, 2011 at 4:04 am

I love the idea of adding pepper to give the oatmeal a bit of heat, and baking it makes it a special treat for the morning. I’ve been having my oatmeal with cinnamon and almond milk recently.


25 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. February 8, 2011 at 5:21 am

Fabulous Marla! I am printing this out and making these this weekend! So creative and awesome photos


26 Angie February 8, 2011 at 6:42 am

Loving your dishes! Too cute!


27 Nancy@acommunaltable February 8, 2011 at 8:45 am

I think you just dispelled the notion that oatmeal is
boring with this post Marla! Gorgeous photos and a very delicious
recipe – I love the new look of the blog!!


28 Mimi February 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I’ve been toying with the idea of adding coconut milk to
oatmeal for a while now, but I haven’t had the guts to fully commit
by opening a can!


29 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food February 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

As always, you have such a great way of combining healthy
ingredients in a very innovative, delicious way, Marla. Although I
often use coarse grained pepper and coconut milk to perk up my
fresh fruit sorbets, it never occurred to me to try them with
fruity breakfast oatmeal, as you’ve done here. A great combo, which
I will try with the carambola, oranges, and tangerines I have in
the garden now. LOVE this recipe!


30 CookiePie February 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Gorgeous!!! Sounds so delicious and satisfying, and I just
love those adorable bowls.


31 grace February 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm

i could live for a million years and never consider combining
these ingredients. thank goodness i read your blog, marla, because
i think they’d be magical together!


32 Amanda February 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Just the dishes alone have me drooling, let alone what’s
inside them! :)


33 Anna Johnston February 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Beautiful images.., beautifully presented breakfast too, now that’s something nice to wake up to :)


34 Runeatrepeat February 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Those heart bowls are too cute <3


35 SMITH BITES!! February 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm

just discovered coconut milk & steel cut oats this week Marla! am going Vegan for a week trying to figure out some tummy stuff – so eliminating all dairy & meat. i have to say that i was quite surprised at how much i like the combo – i add just a teaspoon of raisins and a splash of cinnamon & the coconut milk – yum! your recipe looks great too!


36 Heather at Multiply Delicious February 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

Wow! Beautiful Marla! You continue to amaze me with your photo’s and recipes. What a wonderful healthy breakfast recipe. And I adore the heart bowls…too cute!


37 Marla February 9, 2011 at 5:15 am

Heather: Thanks so much. I love your mini cheesecakes for Valentine’s Day! Those hearts on the top are darling.


38 Georgia Pellegrini February 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I can just begin to imagine the wonderful aromas these toppings must give off when steamed atop hot oatmeal.


39 Cakewhiz February 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Wonderful recipe and gorgeous pictures. I am loving those heart shaped bowls!


40 MyMansBelly February 9, 2011 at 4:38 am

I love making oatmeal with different kinds of milks. I’m currently on a hazelnut milk craze.

These look so cute, what a great way to wake up in the morning.


41 Marla February 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Pamela: Loving the idea of hazelnut milk. Do you make it yourself or buy it at the market?


42 Katrina February 9, 2011 at 4:47 am

I love the little heart bowls you have! They are the cutest for this perfect little dish!


43 Gina @ Skinnytaste February 9, 2011 at 7:36 am

Looks fabulous! And I “heart” those ramekins!!


44 Mary February 9, 2011 at 7:49 am

I never would have thought of this combination but it
obviously works. Your recipe sounds delicious and you have done a
wonderful job with its presentation. I hope you have a wonderful
Day. Blessings…Mary


45 Gaby February 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

obsessed with those little ramekins! How cute!! And pepper
always steps things up a notch – yummy!


46 Tracy February 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Wow, I love the flavors in this! Yum!


47 A Canadian Foodie February 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Love your new header, Marla! Beautiful. As are these lovely
little heart shaped dishes with heart healthy food! That’s the
Marla I know! Now, your kiddies are getting old enough to assist in
the kitchen and it would be WONDERFUL to see them cooking with you!
:) Valerie


48 Jeanette February 10, 2011 at 2:07 pm

This looks like a hearty healthy breakfast treat! I love coconut milk, it adds sweetness and for non-dairy users, it’s a perfect substitute in moderation.


49 Winnie February 12, 2011 at 8:27 am

I absolutely adore the sound of this oatmeal and your photos are stunning. Love the heart shaped dishes, as well :)


50 Bren February 13, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I love this bfast option! Great little bowls! Where did you
ever find them! So cute! :) nice to find your pretty blog!


51 Marla February 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Bren: Those cute heart shaped bowls I got a few years ago at Williams Sonoma. Not sure if they still make them. You might want to check. Thanks for stopping by!


52 kittykat March 3, 2011 at 12:05 am

I made this today and I am a steel cut oats convert! I can’t wait to try more recipes on your site, especially the sugar free recipes! Thanks for posting!!


53 Marla March 3, 2011 at 5:20 am

KittyKat: I am so happy you have converted to steel cut oats. Once you start making them there is no turning back. They really are very simple to prepare and full of flavor. I am thinking of posting some more recipes using them some time again soon. I hope you enjoy my other sugar free recipes too!


54 Charissa April 27, 2012 at 9:06 am

I’m such a fan of baked oatmeal…this looks really divine!


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