Overnight oats have a lot going for them.
The no-cook, prep-ahead recipe makes the morning routine a breeze with its winning combination of protein, calcium, fiber, and Omega-3s. And it tastes great!
In fact, I enjoy this easy breakfast-in-a jar so much that I’ve created many seasonal versions. The following recipe is my original, however, and I find myself returning to it every fall.
Fresh berries and juicy peaches are a mainstay of our summer breakfasts, and I’m always a little sad when their season comes to an end. But frozen fruit can ease the transition, and it works surprisingly well in these grab-and-go cups.
Because they maintain their plump sweetness, frozen blueberries are my favorite. Unlike their perishable counterparts, the quality of frozen blueberries is consistently good, as they’re frozen at the peak of ripeness. You can keep a stash of them on hand and transfer the berries directly to the oat cups. No thawing, washing, or chopping is needed.
Now, I know what some of you may be thinking. Uncooked oats? Eat them cold? And you’re right. It sounds strange—until you try.
Think of this as a cold, fruity porridge–refreshing and filling at the same time. After an overnight soak, the oats become creamy. I like the texture to be fairly thick with the slightest bit of soupiness. The first time around, I suggest following the recipe. Then, if you prefer your oatmeal cup a bit thicker or thinner, simply add or subtract a tablespoon of milk or a teaspoon or two of oats until you have the perfect consistency for you.
The recipe is quite flexible, so feel free to experiment further. For example, almond extract is a nice option to the vanilla. It delivers a bigger flavor punch, so when using, you may wish to start with just 1/4 teaspoon. With regard to sweetness, I like two teaspoons of pure maple syrup, but feel free to adjust to your taste buds. If you like a little crunch, toss in some toasted nuts or granola before digging in. Chopped banana is another welcome addition. Reheating is an option but not necessary (I never do).
However you mix your personal-size oatmeal cup, I am willing to bet that if you eat one for a few days in a row and find the combination that suits you best, you will find yourself looking forward to these–maybe even craving them. I’m always happy to quickly mix a few jars in the evening and have breakfast ready and waiting!
Yields 1 serving.
- 1/3 cup (1 ounce) old-fashioned oats (the kind that cook in 5 minutes, gluten-free in necessary) plus an extra teaspoonful for topping
- 1/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) Greek yogurt (I often use plain, nonfat; you may use 2%, whole, or flavored, as desired)
- 1/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) milk (I use almond milk but, again, use what you prefer)
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds (may omit if you don't have them)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or sweetener of choice, to taste)
- 1/2 cup fruit, frozen or fresh (see notes)
- Add oats, yogurt, milk, chia seeds, vanilla or almond extract, and maple syrup to the jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake well.
- Stir in the fruit and mix to distribute throughout the jar. Sprinkle an extra teaspoon of oats (I like a slightly rounded teaspoon) over the top and do not stir.
- Replace the lid and store in the refrigerator for up to three days. In the morning, stir and enjoy straight from the jar.
- While I do vary the fruit, my personal favorite when using frozen fruit is blueberries, and I often add half of a chopped banana in the morning. Strawberries, mango, raspberries, and peaches are also delicious. I keep bags of frozen, organic fruit on hand and add while still frozen. For the larger pieces of fruit, chop before adding. The fruit can be cut fairly easily while still frozen.
- In the morning, feel free to also add other traditional oatmeal toppings, from toasted almonds to shredded coconut.
When fresh berries or peaches aren’t in season, frozen blueberries work especially well.
I made this version in 2013 as a part of a strawberry feature in the June issue of Susquehanna Style. A big appeal of these healthy cups (beyond the convenience and great taste, of course!), is the versatility.