January is National Oatmeal Month. Take a peek in your pantry and go with the grain. If you’ve got oats, you can make all sorts of things that are delicious, hearty, and inexpensive.
Among their touted health benefits, oats are a rich source of soluble fibre which health experts say helps to fill you up and balance blood sugar levels. Use them to stir up some oatmeal, make granola, flip some pancakes, or plan ahead with easy overnight oats. Bake muffins or oat bread, or use oats to healthy-up your banana bread and pop something cozy into your oven to chase the chills this weekend. Celebrate surviving the polar plunge we’ve endured and bake an oat-topped crumble or crisp, or make some healthy snacks with ready-to-go energy bites or homemade granola bars. You can add hot oatmeal to your yogurt and fruit, or enjoy some warm porridge – with oat milk, of course.
But don’t just use oats for breakfast. Besides being your favorite warm and fuzzy way to start the winter day, you can add healthy oats to meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs instead of using breadcrumbs. Try them as a side dish in place of rice or potatoes, or make a savory meal with oats using sautéed greens, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger seasoned with vegetable broth and toasted sesame oil.
Be a breakfast hero and bake up a big dish of this Blueberry Banana Oatmeal Bake. If you have kids on hand, let them help make this easy recipe that mixes and bakes all in one dish. They can peel and mash the banana and help measure all of the ingredients. After a little mixing, you’ll have a healthy breakfast option that you can just heat and eat for several days.
To bring your eggs to room temperature safely, fill a bowl with warm-to-the-touch water. Gently place your eggs in the bowl and let them sit for 5-10 minutes. When the eggs no longer feel cool, they’re ready to use. Although you do all of your mixing right in the casserole dish, I recommend cracking the eggs one at a time into a small separate bowl. This makes it easier to fish out a broken piece of shell, or discard the egg entirely if you find something wrong with it. I skipped adding the honey or the maple syrup because I felt like the bananas would give it enough sweetness.
For a treat, try these Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that are vegan and gluten-free. Made with 10 wholesome ingredients, they are tender inside, crunchy outside and just what you need when you’re looking for something sweet but still want to eat mindfully. If you don’t care for raisins, feel free to swap in your chocolate chip of choice. You can also add chopped nuts to this recipe, if you like. Cover your raisins with hot water and let them soak for about 30 minutes to plump them before you add them to your cookie dough. Using flax eggs as an egg replacement adds protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Oats are a great grain. Embrace the power of trusty oats and before you know it, you’ll be feeling your oats, too.
Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Bake
- 2 ripe bananas
- 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups almond milk (or any milk of choice)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- Optional toppings: Greek yogurt, aerated whipped topping, toasted nuts, ground cinnamon, and/or additional fresh blueberries.
Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly coat a 9×13 casserole dish with oil. Add the bananas and mash them with a fork inside the casserole dish. Add Greek yogurt, milk of choice, vanilla, honey or maple syrup, and eggs. Whip eggs with fork, then mix all of the wet ingredients together until they are as smooth as possible (some lumps are okay).
Add oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and fresh or frozen blueberries; mix together until ingredients are evenly distributed. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let slightly cool. Cut into large squares, serving with optional Greek yogurt, additional fresh blueberries, whipped topping, ground cinnamon, and/or toasted nuts.
Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2 flax eggs (2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 Tablespoons warm water)
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)
- 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (or oat flour, almond flour, or finely shredded unsweetened coconut flakes)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons almond butter (or other seed or nut butter)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, avocado oil, or melted coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, cover raisins with hot water and set aside. Let soak about 30 minutes.
In another small bowl, mix flaxseed meal with warm water. Let sit at least 5 minutes to thicken.
In a small mixing bowl, combine almond flour, oats, gluten-free flour, baking powder, salt, coconut sugar, and cinnamon; whisk together.
In a medium microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine almond butter and oil. Warm using 50 percent power in microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until combined. Stir in vanilla extract and flax eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Drain raisins and fold into dough. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Scoop chilled dough into 2 tablespoon amounts and form into small discs. Place on baking sheet, spacing 1-inch apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
Store loosely covered at room temperature, 3 to 4 days, or freeze up to 1 month.