By: Alison Marras
October 19, 2015
(updated April 20, 2021)
As a kid, I have fond memories of my Grandmother, Mother, and Aunts making me breakfast called Avena or when I was little… “avenita” (slap a “-ita” or “-ito” at the end of any word to make it cute or ‘little’ = Spanish lesson for today). Avena means oats in Spanish by the way. This Avena can be eaten thicker in a bowl like porridge or thinner in a cup as a drink like I’ve made it here. But the taste and warm, comforting feeling you get after is the same. The cinnamon and clove mixed with the strained oats is next level, and while it might sound like you’ve had it before if you’ve had oatmeal – promise you, you have not. Try this method this fall and winter on a cold day when you’re hiding inside. There’s nothing better. If you ever grew up eating cream of wheat… it’s more similar to that I’d say.
While I always knew this recipe to be easy after countless mornings of watching it being made, there’s something to be said when you try making it yourself, alone. Ever feel that way for a recipe you might know like the back of your hand from seeing it so much and then translating it to you actually making it? Not sure how to describe it. But there is definitely a sense of nostalgia and pride that you did it. This particular chilly morning that I made it and took these photos, I was pretty giddy the whole time. And I wanted to share it with you all!
A bit of background: traditionally, the Puerto Rican style of this recipe includes butter… however I chose not to add it. I played with the idea of adding in some coconut oil and just making this thing bulletproof 😉 but I could hear my Grandmother yelling at me. She already made a face at me for making it dairy free and using coconut milk! But alas, I reminded her I am lactose-intolerant and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Plus, I absolutely love the taste the coconut milk adds. Butter does give it a nice salty finish though, know what else does too? A pinch of salt – so you can optionally add that if you also opt out of butter. If you’d like to eat this as more of a porridge, simply reduce the liquid or add more of the ground oats to make it thicker. You can also not strain it – but that will give it a lumpier texture and the true avena I know and love is SMOOOOOOTH. No lumps and bumps at all.
I hope this recipe warms you up on a cold day. XO.
serves 1 – vegan/dairy-free/gluten-free
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