Aka, How to Amp Up Your Overnight Oats Game.
I kind of feel like I should be crowned the Overnight Oats Prophet because everywhere I go, I bring the wisdom of the O.O. with me (thus far, the oats frenzy has reached friends and family in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, California, Hawaii, Illinois and Colorado). I really can’t overstate how delicious and easy they are, so I won’t bother (if you’re curious, you can just re-live my poetic dissertation on the delicious union of oats and almond milk/original recipe here). The best part is that with so many converts, I’ve started getting some great feedback (for example, this morning my gym buddy R asked how to overcome her texture issues with the oats – this one’s for you, R!). So I’ll take a moment here, and try to enlighten the masses on how to work through your own overnight oat issues. 😛
Issue: Texture (i.e. they are too mushy)
1. Adjust your milk to oat ratio. Decrease the amount of milk you add, and play around with it until you get it right. I add a little less than a 1:1 ratio, and that works for me. You may need to change your container, because all of the oats should be at least partially submerged or they won’t uptake any of the milk and they won’t soften at all.
2. Add seeds/nuts/”hard stuff” for crunch. I add pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes (at least 1 T or more, each) frequently, but you can add a multitude of different things depending on your taste/personal preference: sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds (slices, slivers, pieces, whole!), crunchy peanut butter, any nuts (pecan, cashew, brazil), chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, roasted edamame, pieces of dark chocolate, dried fruit (apples, mangoes, banana chips, coconut, apricot – you name it!). What the hell, you can even throw some trail mix on there!
3. Use thick-cut oats. The thick ones absorb less milk and tend to stay firmer. In my experience, they don’t form that sticky, mushier texture oatmeal, each oat stays separate and definitely gives you a different texture. You can combine this with less milk for an even firmer texture oat. I use Bob’s Red Mill brand, and they are stellar.
Issue: You’re bored.
1. Don’t feel limited by my suggestions. Berries are going out of season in New England, so I’ve added things like roasted squash, roasted/steamed pumpkin, cranberry compote. Apples and bananas are usually always around in the grocery store, so they are a great staple. Add them fresh, or jazz them up. You can make a batch of sauteed apples on the stove and keep the leftovers in the fridge to add to your oats each day:
- 1-2 Tbsp soy butter (like Earth Balance)
- 4 large tart apples – peeled (if you feel like it, I leave them on sometimes), cored and diced
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup brown or coconut sugar (you can use less, like 1/4 cup, if you’d like)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a large skillet or saucepan, melt soy butter over medium heat; add diced apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Dissolve cornstarch in water; add to skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve warm.
- Leftovers can be placed into an airtight container and used all week.
Live on the wild side, try mixing it up. Add whatever is in your fridge (I added the roasted pumpkin from my Roasted Pumpkin and Beet un-salad recipe that had thyme, salt and pepper on it and it was AMAZING).
2. Try savory oats! Add steamed broccoli, zucchini, tomato, sauteed veggies, tofu – whatever sounds good to you. Don’t forget – you can always microwave it to warm it up if eating cold broccoli in the morning is not really your thing.
3. Do a mini-variation. I alternate using different nut butters and different combinations of fruit everyday, so that I get excited about my version of the day. There are like 3000 kinds of nut butters out there, and I have at least 10 different ones in my pantry (yes, I have issues too). Try a new one! If you don’t like it, who cares – there are plenty other ones out there you can try (You can get rid of unloved nut butters by incorporating into other recipes to mask the taste: adding it to a smoothie, or using it in baked goods. Or just give it to your bestie, maybe they will show it some love). You can also buy small sampler/squeeze packets of some brands of nut butter (like my fave Justin’s Almond Butter) if you want to give it a whirl.
Issue: You’re kind of over the oats part.
Fear not! Along with the 3000 varieties of nut butters, there are just as many grain variations. Besides oats, you can make overnight quinoa, brown rice, chia seeds, rolled rye, rolled barley, rolled spelt – you can combine them together, eat them separate – whatever. I’ve seen lots of great combos available for purchase like quinoa, hemp and buckwheat at crunchy places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. You can even do overnight granola with your favorite kind! Don’t be afraid to try new things, that’s what life is all about. 😀
Aaah, issues resolved! That feels better, doesn’t it? I hope you enjoy this new beginning, and the endless possibilities that lay on the horizon for your next Overnight Oats adventure. Let me know your fave combos in the comments! 😛
Let the Oats be with you,