Oats are a phenomenal food; let’s face it. Truly, what other food out there is so affordable, versatile, and filling that doesn’t include a can of beans or a batch or rice? Oats are packed with nutrition like protein, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and antioxidants. They provide heart and digestive health, satiety, and even act as a natural protein booster in smoothies. They’re perfect for athletes, can be bought in several forms, mixed with different flavors and are a common food enjoyed by both vegans and omnivores. Not many foods can accomplish all of that folks, especially for pennies per serving.
Whether you’re on a budget or just like using your creativity, you can use oats to make foods all the way from breakfast, to lunch, and even down to dinner.
Try out these fun oat-based ideas and you’ll want to pinch yourself at how delicious this simple, everyday grain can be!
1. Four Hour Power Oatmeal
Don’t just make any oatmeal, make yours a long-lasting bowl! When prepared with the right ingredients, oatmeal can keep you full all morning long, all the way up to lunch time. Use steel-cut or rolled oats (about 1/2 cup), and cook with non-dairy milk, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, a teaspoon or two of nut butter, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries, and some ground flax sprinkled on for extra omega 3’s. Feeling fancy? Add some cinnamon and stevia for extra sweetness or even some cacao nibs for a superfood, filling punch. Skip those boring bowls of plain oat bran- make your oats a filling, hearty breakfast that feels like dessert! If you prefer to make yours ahead, try soaking your oats with some coconut yogurt for extra health benefits. Or, if you’re really just tired of oatmeal, use oats to make indulgent (yet healthy) filling granola bites.
2. Hearty Whole Grain Muffins
You can also use whole oats to make oat flour and prepare yourself and family a batch of hearty vegan (and even gluten-free) muffins. Use oat flour, oats and chia seeds, or try whole oats with coconut shreds or coconut flour to replace your all-purpose flour. You don’t even need eggs! Add fruit to make them more filling, moist, and hearty, and try some healthy fats like chia, flax, almond butter, or cashew butter. A couple of these will serve as a nice afternoon snack or replace that bowl of oatmeal if you woke up late. Make a batch ahead so you always have some on hand.
3. Fiber-Filled Soups
Oats can be used in soups just like any other grain. Who says rice and quinoa are the only options? Make a nice veggie soup and use oats in your recipe to make the soup more filling, nutritious, and tasty. They create a nice, creamy, calming soup that is seriously underrated. Try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats in any of these recipes (about 1 cup per batch).
4. Afternoon Munchies
Whether you’re hankering for some granola over coconut yogurt, some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, healthy granola bars, chocolate walnut oatmeal brownies, or “everything” cookies, oats are there to help you out! Oats are great to include in mid-day munchies since they add satisfaction, fiber, protein, B vitamins, and magnesium to power you through the rest of your day and steady your blood sugar. Skip the chips (unless they’re kale chips!) and go for oats instead.
5. Savory Dinners
Short on dough but craving comfort food? Cry not, my friends, because oats are there to save your wallet and your grumbling tummy. Oats make great savory dishes; try these five options to get your creative juices flowing. Try a mushroom risotto made from oats, or some hearty oat bread to dip into veggie soup. Turn them into a pizza crust and top your crust with a can of fire roasted tomatoes, some mushrooms, nutritional yeast (if you have any), hummus, and some fresh kale or spinach. You can also use oats to thicken up a vegan casserole.
Don’t leave oats to the breakfast table alone. They’re a complex, nutritious grain that deserves a spot in any meal or snack of the day. If you’re gluten-free, there are gluten-free and even organic gluten-free oats on the market you can eat to ensure you don’t have an allergic reaction. If you’re not a fan of oatmeal, try using it in some of the suggested ways above that perhaps you might not have tried yet.
Lead Image Source: Banana Peanut Butter Breakfast Muffins