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As is often the case, I’m a day (10 days?) late and a dollar (more than a dollar, but who’s counting?) short. It was my intention to post this recipe on St. Patrick’s Day, but my good intentions got blasted by real life. And snow. And spring skiing.

These tasty treats should actually be called gluten-free, Scotch-Irish, wild-west, Montana oat cakes. I know that’s a mouthful, but so are these hearty little cakes. I’m always on the lookout for bread substitutes and this recipe hit the spot.

First, let’s deal with the controversial “oats” question. Should people with gluten intolerance eat oats? Maybe, maybe not. Here’s my take on it, but remember I’m a celiac-specializing nutritionist, not a celiac-specializing lab researcher/doctor. I do have celiac, so that makes me a bit of an expert in my own little bio-world, but everyone is different. What works for me, may not work for you.

Current research shows that pure, uncontaminated oats in moderate amounts are safe for most people with celiac disease. The key word here is “most.” Some people don’t tolerate oats at all and others, not used to the high fiber load, experience digestive problems while getting used to them. Check with your health care professional first and then start with a small dose (1/4 cup before cooking). Try a bowl of gluten-free, hot oatmeal once or twice the first week and see how you do.

Oats are a high-fiber, nutrient-dense, hearty cereal grain. They contain a specific fiber called beta-glucan, which studies show helps lower cholesterol and enhance immune function. Most Americans don’t get nearly the fiber they need and oats are a great way to boost intake. They’re also high in vitamins, minerals, are packed with bioavailable antioxidants (Journal of Nutrition) and they also help maintain blood sugar levels. They’re perfect for people with diabetes or metabolic disorders and are rich in manganese, selenium, tryptophan, phosphorus, thiamin and protein. Plus, they taste good. I love oats, absolutely love them.

Blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to bog you down with geek talk, but trust me, oats can be a healthy addition to anyone’s diet (almost anyone). As I said above, proceed with caution if you’re gluten intolerant.

I found several recipes for oat cakes and most were very similar. I tested three and found this one, taken from Vegetarian Times Magazine, worked the best. I “tweaked” it just a touch.

gluten-free Scotch-Irish wild west Montana oat cakes
what you need

1 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour (more for shaping the cakes) *
2 cups gluten-free, old-fashioned oats *
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Earth Balance “butter” or “shortening”

what you do
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil a baking sheet. You can also use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat (which I used).
2. Mix together oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Place oat flour in a large mixing bowl. Cut in Earth Balance and mix with fingers until crumbly.*
4. Add oat mixture and then buttermilk to the oat flour/Earth Balance combination and combine until well blended.
5. Using an ice-cream scoop (or about that amount), work the mixture into a flat patty about 1/4 inch thick. You may need to dust your work surface or your hands to shape and flatten out the “cake.” Work with them and add a tiny touch more flour if you think they’re too wet to shape properly. Be careful though, you want them moist. My pre-baked patties ended up about the size of a rice cake, but a lot thinner.
6. Place them on the prepared baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Bake on center rack for 15 minutes and then rotate the pan for even baking. Continue baking for another 5 to 15 minutes. I baked mine for almost 30 minutes, but the original recipe called for 15 to 20 minutes. They should be a nice, light golden brown.
7. Cool on a wire rack.
8. Serve with peanut butter and honey or jelly, just like you would a rice cake. YUM! They make a perfect “holder” for all kinds of good things (almond butter, cheese, etc.). Be creative!

* I use Montana Gluten-Free Processors pure and uncontaminated oat products. They’re tested and certified GF and kosher. Check here for details.

* One of the best ways to mix butter or shortening into flour is to freeze it first and shred it into the flour mix with a cheese grater. I always have butter and shortening on hand in the freezer and ready to shred. It also works great in pie crusts and crumble toppings.

Cheers and happy late St. Patrick’s Day!

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21 Responses to “gluten-free scotch irish oat cakes”

  1. Alta says:

    I LOVE oats. I didn’t realize just how much I loved them until I went gluten-free, and didn’t have them for months. I now enjoy Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats every once in a while – and LOVE them so much. I’ve made my own granola, oatmeal cookies, and of course, a hearty oatmeal breakfast. No oat cakes though. I should change that!

  2. lo says:

    I’ll take that late St. Patrick’s Day greeting — especially since I meant to write a bit more about our feasting, but never got around to it. *sad*

    Great info on oats, especially for those of us who don’t have particular personal experience with celiac. I’m always amazed at how much conflicting information is available out there about GF foods. Helps to be well informed so that I can cook for my GF friends!!

  3. Beautiful oat cakes, Melissa! Who wouldn’t want one to smear with some wonderful topping? Honey, oh yeah, for sure. Almond butter, Nutella (oops, went over to the less nutritious side there), honey butter … the list goes on. I love that you shared all that info on oats. My only question/comment would be in regard to how much should be in those test bowls once or twice a week? I’d read that folks should only start out with 1/4 cup of oats/oatmeal … As you know I’m one who can only tolerate small amounts of oats and I can’t eat any small amounts alone (have to be in baked goods), but Stephanie (Gluten Free by Nature) commented the other day that she has the same issue, but not with gf steel-cut oats. Now I’m on a quest to get and try some of those!


  4. Kim says:

    These look amazing! I was just devising a recipe for oatcakes, you read my mind! Looks great, thanks for sharing. And on that note…

    I gave you a Happy 101 Award! It was given to me, and now I am passing on the joy. Follow the link to my blog for all the details!

    Have a wonderful day 🙂 – Kim |

  5. These sound great! I love me some gf oats as many ways as possible…

  6. I can’t say these “look good”, but thanks for the information on oats.

  7. Miles says:

    I love oats too, is it right that they provide a slow release of energy when eaten?


  8. Cid says:

    Shirley and Melissa,

    I recently bought some steel cut oatmeal and found it quite different to rolled oats. They take more cooking and mine suggest soaking overnight first. Very nice though and a little goes a long way.

    The oat cakes look very tasty Melissa and so much nicer than many mass produced brands.


  9. Melissa says:


    I agree with your oat sentiments. I’ve been down that same road and am thrilled that I can tolerate them. Like I said, these little oat cakes are great peanut butter holders. Healthy and hearty!

  10. Melissa says:


    So many of your recipes are already GF, that’s why I like your blog (plus, your wonderful writing). And it’s so nice when people like you really care about how to safely prepare GF foods for those of us who are intolerant. Contamination is a huge issue and just a touch of gluten-cooties can send us into a tailspin of icky symptoms. Thanks for caring!


  11. Melissa says:


    As always, thanks for the great comments. Yes, I agree that you need to start small when it comes to oats (and only guaranteed GF oats). I had advised 1/3rd cup to start with (see above), but after reading your comment, I changed it to 1/4th. I go back and forth between how much people should try, but small is better as many people aren’t used to the fiber either. Oats are a nutritious addition to the GF diet if you tolerate them. Many people don’t, my daughter included.


  12. Melissa says:


    Yes, oats are very versatile. I’m thrilled that I do so well with them. Makes for one more wonderful ingredient to play with!

  13. Melissa says:


    Welcome and thanks for stopping by. I thought these little oat cakes looked good, but not everyone is as excited about this stuff as I am!


    I do appreciate your comment, though.

    Take care and happy GF baking!

  14. Melissa says:


    Oats have a high concentration of nutrients and fiber, especially beta-glucan (a specific type of fiber in the oats), which does slow the rise in blood sugar. They’re great for keeping energy balanced, especially for people with Type 2 Diabetes or metabolic disorders.

    Good stuff! We have to thank you all for the idea of oat cakes!

  15. Melissa says:


    Good point about the difference between rolled oats and the steel-cut version. Thanks for adding that (I should have included the information in my blog post).

    Steel-cut oats are sometimes called groats, like buckwheat groats. They do take longer to cook and are a bit chewier. I like them though, but have never soaked them overnight. I have made a wonderful “oatmeal” type breakfast by slow cooking them all night in a crockpot using more water than normal. They’re also good made with pure apple juice instead of water. I add everything to hot breakfast cereals including cinnamon, chopped fruit, nuts, seeds, raisins, dates, even chopped prunes!

    Thanks, Cid. I appreciate it!

  16. Cid says:


    The slow cooked steel cut oats in apple juice sounds really delicious….. and since I already love your toasted brown rice porridge from last year, I know this is going to be a winner.


  17. Kelly says:

    These are wonderful! I changed it just a bit…I put the gf flour and oats together and soaked it overnight in a cup of kefir (I didn’t have any buttermilk). Then I added the rest of the ingredients this morning. I had to add a tablespoon or 2 more kefir and mixed it to a stiff pie dough like consistency. They turned out great. I just had one with hummus and now I want one with cashew butter. My husband will love these in his lunch. Thanks for a great recipe!

  18. Melissa says:


    Oh good! So glad you like them and good idea with the kefir! Wow, I’m going to steal that one. Thanks!


  19. susan says:

    According to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, oats are very high in phytates and are best consumed after soaking overnight in an acidified liquid. Whey or lemon juice activates the enzyme and makes the oats more digestable and reduces the binding of the phytates to trace minerals like zinc. This may help if one has a problem with digestability.

  20. Carolyn Cobb says:

    Will try your recipe. But due to milk allergies I am going to try coconut oil or some other oil. Will have to use the lemon juice. Having to cook free of wheat, soy, milk, peanut and some seafood, it can be quite interesting.

  21. Ruby says:

    These are the MOST delicious oatcakes I have ever tasted. I searched the internet for a good oatcake recipe – because supermarket oatcakes are so bland and I wanted to try making them myself, and this was by far the best recipe that I tried. I left out the sugar and substituted soya milk for buttermilk, and they were still divine.

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