For those of us who are constantly busy, oat bars can be a lifesaver.  This recipe from The Nourished Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, April 2014) tastes wonderfully decadent, though it’s sweetened only with honey. Bake a batch on Sunday evening, and enjoy these chewy, cake-like, just-sweet-enough snacks all week. Try it topped with Greek yogurt, more honey, and berries for a nourishing breakfast; or take it to-go to conquer that late-afternoon slump at the office. The combination of crunchy pistachios, sweet, sticky dried fruit, and chewy, hearty steel-cut oats is not only irresistible; it’s nutritious, too.

Baked Oats with Pistachios, Dried Figs, and Honey
Recipe from The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther
Serves 6 to 8

8 cups steel‑cut oats

1 cup pistachios

1/4 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon finely ground unrefined sea salt

6 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 cup honey

1 orange

1 cup chopped dried Mission figs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

Spoon the oats into a large mixing bowl, toss in the pistachios, and cover with warm water by 2 inches. Stir in the yogurt and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm spot in your kitchen and allow the oats and pistachios to soak for at least 8 and up to 12 hours.

Drain the oat mixture in a fine-mesh sieve, rinse well, and return it to the mixing bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with butter.

Stir the cinnamon, salt, eggs, milk, and honey into the oat mixture until well blended. Finely grate the zest of the orange, placing it in a bowl. Cut the orange in half crosswise and squeeze the juice into the bowl holding the zest. Stir both the orange zest and juice into the oat mixture, then fold in the figs. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter them over the surface.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and slightly wobbly at the center. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Baked oats will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (To reheat leftovers, cut a square of the baked oats. Drop a tablespoon of butter into a skillet and heat it over medium heat until frothy. Place the oat square in the skillet and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes.)

To read another recipe and get a copy of The Nourished Kitchen for yourself, check out our Scribd excerpt, below.

The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther- Recipes by The Recipe Club