Low Sugar Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

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With just 5.3 grams of added sugar per serving, this healthy, wholegrain breakfast relies on the natural sweetness of whole fruit to deliver great taste that we can feel good about. For added convenience, the recipe offers choices!

With just 5.3 grams of added sugar per serving, this healthy, wholegrain breakfast relies on the natural sweetness of whole fruit to deliver great taste that we can feel good about. For added convenience, the recipe offers ingredient options!

 

 

 

 

Baked oatmeals have long been a go-to breakfast in our house. Those who have been reading this blog since the early days may remember when one of my early baked oatmeal recipes won a national contest. That was exciting!

Since that early recipe, I’ve made countless variations. Each has its own personality and seasonal appeal, so I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favorite.

All of them share the benefit of wholesome ingredients and make-ahead convenience, which makes the morning routine run smoothly. My kids have long loved baked oatmeal-Christian once requested this strawberry baked oatmeal for his school birthday snack!

I usually serve baked oatmeal with a side of fruit, although some enjoy it drizzled with warm milk and traditional stovetop oatmeal toppings like nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, etc.

As I formulate recipes, I always strive to keep the added sugars as low as possible while maintaining a flavor profile that will have broad appeal.

The following recipe is an adaptation of a recipe that originally came to me through Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. I was asked to help the health system photograph a cookbook they are developing, and this was one of the entries. (Some of my recipes will be in that cookbook, which will be free of charge, so stay tuned!)

At press time, I can safely say that I’ve enjoyed this oatmeal on dozens of mornings. I love how easily it comes together and how I can simply cut a wedge in the morning for anyone who’d like it. I warm the pieces in the microwave for 30-35 seconds and serve with vanilla Greek yogurt and more fruit. It’s filling and flavorful and I feel like I started my day off on the right foot, so to speak.

As I tend to do, I’ve made several modifications to the original recipe over time, both to provide ingredient options and maximize flavor.

With just 5.3 grams of added sugar per serving, this healthy, wholegrain breakfast relies on the natural sweetness of whole fruit to deliver great taste that we can feel good about. For added convenience, the recipe offers choices!

For example, the original recipe called for a full tablespoon of baking powder, which I thought left an unpleasant flavor. I almost settled on 1½ teaspoons, but I still detected the subtlest hint of baking powder flavor, which is easier to taste in a low-sugar recipe. Taking the measurement down to a single teaspoon resulted in no trace of bitterness from the powder. Interestingly enough, throughout all these reductions, the rise was not affected. Baked oatmeals are somewhat dense by nature and will only rise so much. One teaspoon of baking powder was all it took!

Penn Medicine’s recipe also called for an additional teaspoon of vanilla in the batter. I reduced the vanilla by a teaspoon, because some extracts provide a bitter aftertaste when used heavily, and also because vanilla is expensive these days. And although I savor each and every plump, sweet berry in this oatmeal, I have used a half or a quarter cup less fruit to verify that the end result would still be good if someone is running low. Similarly, I’ve used frozen and fresh blueberries, and mention details like this in the recipe so you can feel confident if you need to make similar adjustments.

A few more words on blueberries: I almost always have a bag of them in my freezer (for these overnight oats), so if I’m a little low on fresh berries, I fill in with frozen. While seasonal, fresh berries often provide the most natural sweetness, frozen provide a worthy backup. When using frozen, stir the frozen berries in quickly and without thawing. This will prevent the purplish-blue juice from seeping into the batter, which would result in a grayish-blue finished product. Of course, if that should happen, the taste will still be great!

And what about those times when you open a new box of blueberries and they all feel disappointingly soft? Rather than throw them away, make this baked oatmeal!

For those who crave a sweeter breakfast, I recommend sticking with the ¼ cup of maple syrup called for in the recipe and then, when serving, sprinkle a quarter teaspoon of granulated or brown sugar-or even a touch more maple syrup-over the surface. You may find that a very small amount satisfies a sweet tooth when it touches your tongue first.

Don’t have real maple syrup? You could use honey or agave. I haven’t tried, but based on similar recipes, I’m confident that a quarter cup of packed brown sugar would work well, too-even granulated sugar in a pinch. In this case, I’d also add an additional 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk to account for the lesser amount of liquid.

With just 5.3 grams of added sugar per serving, this healthy, wholegrain breakfast relies on the natural sweetness of whole fruit to deliver great taste that we can feel good about. For added convenience, the recipe offers choices!

In order to better see what the actually oatmeal looks like, I used the lesser-mentioned ½ cup of blueberries to top this batch. For their natural sweetness and warm, juicy bursts of flavor, my personal preference is to use the full cup. Not sure how many you’d like on top? Start with a happy medium of ¾ cup.

With just 5.3 grams of added sugar per serving, this healthy, wholegrain breakfast relies on the natural sweetness of whole fruit to deliver great taste that we can feel good about. For added convenience, the recipe offers choices!

Pro tip for added visual appeal? Once the oatmeal mixture is transferred to the baking dish and topped with the remaining berries, evenly sprinkle a teaspoon or so of dry, whole oats over the spots that look wet. A very small amount of strategically placed oats gives the top a heartier, more defined “oaty” look!

Low Sugar Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
Yield: 9 servings
With just 5.3 grams of added sugar per serving, this healthy, wholegrain breakfast relies on the natural sweetness of whole fruit to deliver great taste that we can feel good about. Conveniently, the recipe comes together quickly, can be enjoyed over time, and allows for flexibility.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (120g) unsweetened applesauce or overripe, mashed banana*
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (80g) pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons (42g) melted butter or vegetable oil of choice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) unsweetened almond milk (may substitute milk of choice)
  • 3 cups (270g) old-fashioned oats (use certified GF if necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg (I’ve recently been increasing to ½ teaspoon)
  • 2 cups (300g) fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained (divided use)**
  • Optional for serving: vanilla yogurt, additional berries, a sprinkle of nuts of choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the applesauce or mashed banana, eggs, maple syrup, butter or oil, vanilla, and milk. Sir in the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Fold 1 cup of blueberries into the mixture, and pour into the prepared baking dish, taking a little care to evenly distribute the solids. Scatter the remaining blueberries over top, pressing down on them ever so lightly.
  4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, uncovered, until edges begin to brown and the center is cooked through. (This takes 34 minutes in my oven. Helpful hint: if you’re not sure it’s done, use a quick-read thermometer and look for a temperature of 200℉ in the center.) Remove from the oven and allow the oatmeal to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Or cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  5. Serve with yogurt, additional fruit, and/or nuts if desired. The refrigerated oatmeal will keep for at least 5 days. I like to reheat in the microwave, although the oatmeal may be served cold. The baked oatmeal freezes well, too.
Notes

*For added convenience, I like to keep a package of the 4-ounce, single-serve applesauce cups on hand. One cup is just the right size for many recipes and they will keep in the pantry for many months. Overripe, mashed banana will provide a touch more natural sweetness without an obvious banana flavor. One large banana is about the right size.

**Running low on blueberries? I do love the hefty inclusion of blueberries, but I’ve reduced the topping amount to ½ or ¾ cup when I was running low and the end result was still quite good. I’ve also mixed in some frozen blueberries. In this case, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Nutritional information per serving: 185 calories; 6.0g total fat; 30.5g carbohydrate; 4.5g protein; 275.2mg sodium; 11.1g sugars (5.3 added); 3.8g fiber

 

 

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Comments

    1. Ann Post author

      Such great news, Cindy! Thank you for the feedback…and I think you will agree that it tastes a little better each day!

      Reply
  1. Stacie Skelly

    This is SOOO good. The blueberries make the reduced sugar no issue at all in regards to sweetness. I have been picking at it for the last hour while I wait for my husband to come home for dinner. I can’t wait to eat it “for real” for breakfast tomorrow with some vanilla yogurt!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      I’m so glad, Stacie! I have been making this on repeat because I can’t get enough either!

      Reply
  2. Jen

    I love that you serve your oatmeal with yogurt and how low in sugar it is. I’m not a huge milk fan, but really like a thick Greek yogurt with my baked oatmeal. The oatmeal with the yogurt keeps me full till lunch and is a nice change from my eggs I usually eat.

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Jen, I’m so glad this has worked for you. I used to pour milk over my baked oatmeal, but I’ve leaned towards the yogurt for the reasons you mention over the years. Makes a well rounded breakfast with staying power!

      Reply
  3. Diane Luta

    I have a question about making these in muffin tins. I have a similar recipe that’s a bit denser that I make in muffin tins. I love popping those in the freezer and then thawing in the microwave for breakfast. Have you ever made these in muffin tins and how did that work out? Both my husband and I like this recipe better than the other one, so I’d like to try it but I thought I’d ask you first what you suggest for a baking time and temperature. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ann Post author

      Hi Diane, I have not yet made this recipe in muffin tins, but you could. When I make baked oatmeal as muffins, I like to let the batter sit long enough for the oats to absorb some of the liquid. That way, you don’t end up with more liquid or solids in some cups versus others. I have been freezing this, however, to keep on hand, and it freezes very well. I cut into pieces and freeze that way. I’m glad you and your husband enjoy this recipe, and I hope this helps!

      Reply
      1. Diane Luta

        Thanks! Great tip about letting the batter sit before making muffins. This recipe is also great with frozen cherries.

        Reply