Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I’ve been holding out on you: I’ve been eating this awesome oatmeal three or four times a week for the past month and I’m only now getting around to mentioning it. And when you try this and it changes your life (or at least, the tiny breakfast-adjacent portion of it), you might be a little peeved that I didn’t mention it sooner.
Remember last summer, when a broken oven left me granola-less and baked-oatmeal-bereft, and I got on a museli kick? Little did I know then that I was just one small step away from oatmeal nirvana. I even mentioned it in my post: soaking the oats overnight. But I never tried it, until somehow I was reintroduced to the concept by the random idea generator that is the Internet. Overnight oats are pretty trendy on the food blogs, and really, the concept is laughably simple—soaking the oats in milk breaks them down in a similar way that cooking does. Except that it’s way easier, far less gloppy and gluey, extremely portable, not oppressively hot on a sweltering summer morning, and, if you use the further genius idea of adding Greek yogurt to the soaking liquid, packed with protein.
I used this basic recipe, but of course there are very few rules that have to be followed. This is a good ratio of oats to liquid, but I’ll admit I use ½ cup of each instead of the original ⅓ cup—I’m a hungry girl in the morning, and ½ cup is, after all, the recommended oatmeal serving size, so it’s not like I’m gorging. So far I’ve stuck pretty close to the blueberries-and-almonds formula, adding only some occasional strawberries or raspberries (and, once, a diced peach) and ground flaxseed. But you could go crazy with your toppings; some example variations shown here use nut butters, jam, and granola and other cereals, and I imagine frozen or dried fruit would be fine when fresh isn’t available.
I still adore my granola and, in colder weather, my baked oatmeal, but when I don’t have time to make those, this will be my go-to. I love the tender-chewy texture, the cool and refreshing temperature, and the way it keeps me full until lunchtime: I’ve been a cereal eater all my life, but with all these cheaper and healthier homemade options, I find myself bringing home the storebought stuff less and less. Who knew oats could be so versatile?
⅓–½ cup rolled oats
⅓–½ cup milk (equal to the quantity of oats)
⅓–½ cup plain Greek yogurt (equal to the quantity of oats and milk)
Fresh blueberries, sliced strawberries, raspberries, or other fruit to taste, about ¼–⅓ cup
1 generous dash of cinnamon
Brown sugar or honey to taste, about 1 teaspoon (optional)
Sliced almonds or other nuts to taste, about 2–3 tablespoons
Ground flaxseed to taste, about 1 tablespoon (optional)
1. Stir oats, milk, yogurt, fruit, cinnamon, and sugar or honey (if desired) together in a jar or bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
2. In the morning, remove from refrigerator and top with nuts and flaxseed (if desired).
Time: 5 minutes, plus about 8 hours in the fridge
Leftover potential: n/a