Oatmeal is the chef salad of breakfast foods. It’s that thing people eat because it’s “healthy,” convenient, and widely available – not because it tastes remotely edible. It’s what every cafeteria, diner and fast food joint puts on their menu to please “the dieters,” who presumably have no tastebuds. It’s no wonder people pile on the brown sugar in a desperate attempt to choke it down.
What’s worse? I’d say 90% of the time oatmeal really isn’t that great for you. Restaurant oatmeal is usually loaded with sugar and I just looked up the Nutrition Facts for instant peaches and cream oatmeal – I am officially horrified. A tablespoon of added sugar in each measly packet, partially hydrogenated oils (In oatmeal?? Really??), and thirty-one ingredients, none of which are peach.
I do love my overnight oats, but come winter, I want something warm and cozy. I love the idea of oatmeal, but most recipes I’ve tried never live up to my expectations.
So, I set out on a mission to perfect oatmeal. I set 3 goals:
1. Tastes great, even without added sugar
2. Refrigerates well, because goodness knows I love the snooze button more than a warm bowl of oats. This recipe would have to be batch cooking friendly.
3. Filling enough to last till my mid-morning snack, and even until lunch for those hectic days I miss snacktime.
And what would you know, I found the perfect recipe on my first try! Toot toot (<—that’s me tooting my own horn).
The trick for perfect oatmeal is quite simple – toast the oats before cooking. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor. The oats get a chewy texture that holds up to refrigeration overnight and prevents it from becoming a solid mass of bleh. Plus, toasting oats makes your kitchen smell just short of Heaven.
Another crucial upgrade – I cooked the oats in coconut milk instead of my usual unsweetened almond milk. It adds a lovely flavor and the higher fat content coats the oats and helps keep creamy, even after refrigeration.
To sweeten my oats without added sugar, I used the natural sugars in fruit. I’ve used a mashed banana in my oats before, which tasted great, but it doesn’t refrigerate well. I often use all-fruit jam to sweeten my oats, so I decided to play on that and create my own chia seed jam. Last year, I fell in love with the concentrated flavor and super-dense nutrition of wild blueberries during our Recipe Redux contest, so I figured that would be a natural choice.
Four days in, I’m still gobbling this up and loving every bite! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Do you have any tricks for making oatmeal taste great? Leave your favorite oatmeal hacks in the comments below!
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 cans of coconut milk (low fat or full fat)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- Large pinch of salt
- 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- Chia jam:
- 3 cups frozen wild blueberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- Unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk for drizzling
- Honey or pure maple syrup (optional)
- First, make the jam. Place blueberries, lemon and water in a small pot on medium heat. After a few minutes, the liquids will release. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, mashing the berries with a potato masher as they cook. Turn off heat, stir in chia seeds and let sit 10 minutes until thickened.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add oats. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often, until they smell toasty. Add coconut milk and enough water to make a total of 6 cups of liquid along with the vanilla extract and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Stop cooking while the oats still have a bit of liquid, since it will soak in a bit in the fridge.
- While the oats are cooking, toast the almonds. I usually place them on a small baking sheet in the toaster oven.
- To serve, drizzle the oatmeal with a little almond milk or coconut milk and a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup if using. Swirl in chia jam and top with almonds.
Love this recipe? Make sure you check these out too:
|Baked Oatmeal with Raspberries and Bananas|
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|Hot Breakfast Cereals That Aren’t Boring Old Oatmeal|