Overnight oats for breakfast have been all the rage in the blogosphere lately, and it’s no wonder: they make for a delicious, filling vegan breakfast that takes very little effort to make. Just soak the oats overnight in your favorite non-dairy milk, add a few ingredients in the morning, and voilà! I’ll tell you a secret, however: I’ve been eating this stuff for literally half of my life, since middle school, long before overnight oats became trendy. To this day this is my default breakfast for the mornings I don’t feel like making anything complicated. Today I’ll share with you four delicious ways I love making overnight oats, and a few tips on getting them just right.
When I first started making overnight oats for breakfast before school, I used the same combination of ingredients: rolled oats soaked in water, walnuts, raisins, and a spoonful of honey (that was before I went vegan). Sometimes I ‘splurged’ by adding a splash of milk to my bowl in the morning. Sounds boring? Not for me – I ate this version of overnight oats literally every morning for at least six or seven years! I guess I’m just immune to flavor boredom…
Those days have passed, and even though I still make overnight oats for breakfast at least 2-3 times a week, I’ve changed the recipe to make it even healthier, and found a few additional ingredients that jazz up the flavor and let me have a different version of this oatmeal every time!
A Few Tips to Keep in Mind:
Like any genius recipe that you make on a whim, my overnight oats don’t have set-in-stone amounts of each ingredient. In the recipe below you’ll see the approximate amounts I usually put into my oats, but you can use more (or less) to your taste.
You can use any non-dairy milk you have on hand. I use almond milk almost exclusively, but I’ve also tried using coconut milk (from the carton, not can), and it was equally tasty. It’s best to dilute the milk with some water, or your oats might end up being overly filling. No milk on hand? Use filtered water! Oatmeal made with water might be not as filling, but it still counts as a healthy breakfast!
Using a sweetener is optional, especially if you’re adding a lot of dried fruit. I used to add a teaspoon of agave or maple syrup until recently, but it seems like my taste buds are changing towards liking less sweet stuff, so I don’t add syrup anymore.
Miso paste is also optional. In fact, I can see that most people are not going to like it at all: it’s salty and hard to dissolve, so you end up with little chunks of saltiness in your otherwise sweet oatmeal. Call me weird, but I like it in my oats, plus it adds gut-friendly probiotics and enzymes to my breakfast. The saltiness also brings out some of the sweetness, at least in my opinion. (You can also add some non-dairy yogurt to your oatmeal in place of milk to get the probiotics, but I haven’t tried that.)
Rolled oats work best for overnight oats, but you can also use the instant variety, or even steel-cut oats! That’s right, those hard oat grains get softer during overnight soaking, but you’ll need to play around with proportions to get a decent-sized bowl of oatmeal (add too much, and it’s too filling; use too little, and your bowl of oats will look like a ramekin of oats).
The biggest secret of all: overnight oats don’t have to be soaked overnight! Lately I’ve been forgetting to soak them the night before, so I had great results with soaking them in the morning, then going for a 30-40 min run, and when I came back, they were soaked perfectly! The only exception is steel-cut oats: these guys have to be soaked overnight, the longer, the better.
And now – the recipe! Use these guidelines to make the basic plain version of overnight oats, or add pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, or even spirulina/wheatgrass for a Swamp Monster Oatmeal! (Never heard of Swamp Monster-style breakfast? Check out my Swamp Monster Smoothie recipe!)
An easy and filling breakfast that brings lots of nutrition to your mornings! Make the basic plain version, or add pumpkin puree, cocoa, or spirulina/wheatgrass to have a flavored no-cook oatmeal!
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup non-dairy milk of choice (see tips above), or enough to cover the oats
- 1/2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground flaxseed
- 1 Tbsp unsalted nuts/seeds of choice (walnuts, pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
- 2 Tbsp dried fruit of choice (raisins, cranberries, cherries, apricots, prunes, etc.)
- 1/2 tsp coconut flakes (optional)
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp light miso paste (optional, adds probiotics and enzymes)
- 1 tsp maple or agave syrup (optional)
- Pinch cinnamon
- For Chocolate Oats:
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp small vegan chocolate chips
- For Pumpkin Oats:
- 1-2 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
- Pinch nutmeg
- For Swamp Monster Oats:
- 1/2 tsp wheatgrass and/or spirulina powder (spirulina adds bright green color to your bowl, FYI)
- Add oats to a bowl, stir in chia seeds. Pour milk over the oats, enough to make the contents of the bowl soupy (you may need more than 1 cup of milk). A lot of the liquid will be absorbed by the oats overnight. Cover the bowl, put it in the fridge for the night. Note: You can use equal parts of milk and water to cut on calories, or use just water if you're out of milk.
- Take the oats out of the fridge. If the look too dry, add a splash of milk or water. Then add the rest of the ingredients, including the additional ones if you're making a flavored version. Plain version (without the add'l ingredients) is just as good. Stir to mix. Enjoy!
Do you have a default breakfast recipe that helps you out when you don’t feel like making an elaborate morning meal? Have you tried other versions or flavors of vegan overnight oats? Please let me know in the comments!