10 April 2013

Maggie's Vegan Overnight Refrigerator Oats

The recorded high here yesterday was 82 degrees. As it is April, I'm happy for there to be warmer weather, but 82 on April 9th is just silly; that's June 9th weather. However, since the past few days have been warm, I've been switching my brain over to warm weather food. Assuming that the weather stays like this, I'll be using the "summer" tag more often.

One of the hardest meals for me in the summer used to be breakfast. I didn't want to eat something hot, but just grabbing a banana wasn't enough and I rarely made time for cereal. Thus, when I stumbled on a mention of "refrigerator oats" late last summer, I was intrigued. Although the recipe I found wasn't vegan, it didn't seem like it would be too hard to adjust. After trying it one time, I was hooked! Plus, it's infinitely variable to personal tastes.

Although it might sound odd, refrigerator oats (especially when made in a jar/container for easy on-the-fly morning fueling) are a perfect summer breakfast. Below, I'll give you the general recipe and then some of my favorites. But really, experiment!

Maple-blueberry = one of my favorites

Maggie's Overnight Refrigerator Oats
Ingredients
1/4 c. uncooked rolled oats
1/4 c. non-dairy yogurt
1/4 c. non-dairy milk
1/2 T. chia seeds (optional)
flavor additions
fresh fruit

Directions
1. In a half-pint mason jar, add the oats, yogurt, milk, seeds, flavorings, and fruit.
2. Shake to combine (see notes in specific flavors).
3. Refrigerate overnight, then grab and go in the morning.

Possible Flavor Combinations
  • Maple blueberry: blueberry yogurt, chug of maple syrup (maybe 1 T?), fresh blueberries
  • Chocolate peanut-butter banana: vanilla or plain yogurt, 1 T. cocoa powder, 1 T. PB2 (powdered peanut butter, can also use real peanut butter but you'll need to stir), 1 T. agave nectar, banana 
    • Put the dry ingredients in before the wet ingredients
  • Strawberry vanilla: strawberry or vanilla yogurt, 1 T. strawberry jam, fresh strawberries (good with raspberry flavored items, too)
I've also done some where I've added a dollop of applesauce and some cinnamon, done maple-cinnamon, and will be trying a peach/mango flavor when my mango ripens. See what I mean about this being infinitely variable?!

Helpful Hints
  • You can also use quick-cooking oats, but I don't like their texture as much. 
  • Speaking of texture, the oats end up with a texture that I think is halfway between "oatmeal in cookies" and "cooked oatmeal." In other words, nice and chewy without being too dry or too squishy.
  • As for non-dairy yogurt & milk, I use soy. I used to use only Silk yogurt, but they've changed their yogurt recently so all the flavors they used to have are no longer available. I still use some of their yogurt, but also use Whole Soy. I opt not to use coconut-based yogurt/milk because I don't like coconut that much. But if you do, use that instead. Almond-based products might also be delicious in some flavors. 
  • Although chia seeds may seem odd, they are packed with nutrients (omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, and more) and absorb water to help keep you hydrated. If you don't want to use them, they certainly aren't necessary, though you may want to use a scant 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk.
  • These will keep in the fridge for at least a couple of days, but may stay up to 4 days if they don't include banana. This is good because many containers of yogurt have enough to make two separate breakfasts. 

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