If you’re a fan of overnight oats like I am, chances are good you’re going to fall in love with this clever spin on the traditional method of preparation. I cannot take credit for this gem, which is slightly gooey, naturally sweet, and packed with filling protein and wholesome oats, but I can certainly spread the love.
Last week, I saw a link to this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie in a daily, food-related email I receive. After a moment of skepticism, it made sense: provide just enough liquid to hydrate and plump the oats but not so much to make them soupy. Then allow the “cookie” to rest overnight in the fridge, uncovered. You end up with a thick version of overnight oats that have dried out a bit. The end result, of course, is not like a Tollhouse cookie. You’ll need a spoon to eat it, but it’s a treat in its own rite. I’ve been enjoying these as a ready-to-go breakfast that’s tasty and filling.
As an added bonus, this recipe is versatile and customizable. Katie mentions several options in her original recipe, and I thought of a few more. I’m pretty sure you might have your own great idea (in which case, please comment below!).
Just remember, the key is to not cover the batter.
A really ripe banana provides the most natural sweetness, but any fruit puree will work. (In the photo above, I used–from right to left–applesauce, pumpkin, and banana. Banana with peanut butter is my personal favorite.😋) If using unsweetened applesauce or pumpkin, you may wish to err on the higher amount of protein powder for the sweetness it provides. As noted below, however, I would make 2 tablespoons the upper limit.
On that note, I often use Bob’s Red Mill’s or The Healthy Skoop’s flavored powders as they are naturally sweetened. Vanilla is a trusty standby, as it complements a wide variety of flavors. I also enjoy chai-flavored powder with pumpkin and applesauce variations.
Apple and pumpkin butter work well, too, and will add more sweetness and spice. I look for no-sugar versions; honey-sweetened options are also available.
Katie mentions using a flour of choice (she’s used oat flour and others have use almond flour) or powdered peanut butter in place of the protein powder. In this case, you may wish to add a sweetener of choice to taste.
Finally, if you choose options that have little natural sweetness (i.e., canned pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce instead of banana and almond flour or powdered peanut butter in place of protein powder) and wish to forego added sweeteners, I find that the healthy fats from a drizzle of melted peanut butter or nut butter of choice makes adds a richness that compensates.
Flavor combos (feel free to mix and match):
- Overripe banana, peanut butter, vanilla or chocolate protein powder, and a few chocolate chips dotted overtop
- Unsweetened pumpkin, almond butter, vanilla or pumpkin spice protein powder, a tablespoon or two of dried cranberries, a drizzle of chocolate hazelnut spread
- Applesauce, peanut butter, chai or vanilla protein powder, a tablespoon or two of raisins, a drizzle of peanut butter
- Other options: pumpkin or apple butter, nuts, chia seeds, flax meal, shredded coconut, etc.
Pro tips for drizzling peanut butter or Nutella:
Place a spoonful or two in a small, microwaveable bowl and cook on high for 20 seconds. Stir and microwave for 20 more seconds. If after stirring again it isn’t really runny, add another 10 second burst. Then use a small spoon and slowly drizzle over the oats while jiggling your hand back and forth. If using a thick, natural nut butter that doesn’t seem to get liquidy enough, stir in a tiny bit of coconut oil. (I don’t measure but probably have used about 1/4 teaspoon per tablespoon of nut butter. Just add in little bits until the mixture drizzles easily.
Yield: 1 serving
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (may substitute another fruit puree like applesauce, pumpkin, or even apple or pumpkin butter*)
- 2 tablespoons milk of choice
- 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons protein powder (may substitute almond or oat flour*)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or nut or seed butter of choice)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Optional extras: raisins, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, chia seeds, cocoa powder, chopped nuts, and/or melted peanut butter or Nutella for a drizzle topping
Stir all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. (I find it helpful to mash the nut butter into the fruit first to fully incorporate it.) Spread the mixture over a plate or shallow bowl (a 5-1/2 to 6-inch diameter or ridge on a plate works well). Add a drizzle of melted nut butter, if desired. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered, or with a paper towel placed gently over top.
I have refrigerated for up to three days, uncovered the whole time, with good success. After two days, however, I would recommend covering with plastic wrap to prevent the oats from drying out further. The banana version will darken over time but still tastes great.
- *Some options (like unsweetened applesauce in place of overripe banana or swapping out flavored protein powder for almond or oat flour) will provide less sweetness. Feel free to adjust to suit personal preference. Add-ins like raisins or a few chocolate chips dotted overtop are good options for added sweetness. Also, the healthy fat in a drizzle of your favorite nut butter enhances the natural sweetness.