Recipe Repertoire: Sleepover Oats

SleepoverOatsOften the first question people ask me when I say I eat a mostly plant-based, whole foods diet is “what do you eat for breakfast?” As if there are no good options when you take eggs and yogurt off the table!  Well, I am a big fan of this fiber full breakfast—it’s easy to put together the night before, and doesn’t even need cooking.  It packs protein, fiber and the goodness of oats, plus healthy fats from seeds and fresh fruit to top it all off.  In these hot summer days, I eat it right out of the fridge, while in cold winter days, I just reheat briefly with a splash of non-dairy milk.

2 cups rolled oats (make sure they are not instant or quick cooking ones)
5 Tablespoons of chia seed or ground flaxseed
1/4 cup of raisins or currants, no added sugar
The zest of 1 lemon or an orange, finely chopped
Fresh fruit for serving. I usually have a diced banana and some blueberries, but a fresh peach and an apricot in the summer, or an apple and a pear diced work great as well.

To prepare the oatmeal, combine oats, seeds, dried fruit, zest and add enough cold water so as to cover the oats mixture.  Use a spoon to mix well all the ingredients and allow the water to get all ingredients wet.  Add more water if needed just so that the oat mixture is covered by about half an inch of water.  Cover and place in the refrigerator and leave overnight to soak or at least for 6 hours.

In the morning, or when ready to serve, divide into bowls and add fresh fruit and enough non-dairy milk to reach the consistency that you like for your cereal (I add about half a cup or so) and stir.  Heat if you like or enjoy cold.

Variations: add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and sprinkle with about 3 teaspoons of ground cinammon to the oat mixture instead of the zest.  You may also replace raisins or currants with about 5 pieces of dried apricots, finely chopped.