I have never been a big fan of traditional oatmeal. Something about the combination of hot, soggy, and sweet doesn’t sit well with me. A bowl of oatmeal always looks appetizing to me, but once it reaches my mouth, all of its appeal is lost. My roommate Emily is a serious oatmeal enthusiast. She would eat it almost every morning for breakfast and prepared it in such ways that made me want to like it. As a kid, I wanted nothing to do with it, but over the past year I’ve learned how healthy it is and decided I would give it another try.
A few months ago I discovered overnight oats. Overnight oats are a version of oatmeal that’s prepared at night and ready to eat in morning. The oats are soaked in milk and yogurt, often topped with fruit or nuts, and typically eaten cold (but can easily be popped in the microwave if desired). I realized I actually enjoyed eating this oatmeal cold, and I loved the addition of yogurt. However, it still took me some effort to get to the bottom of the bowl without getting sick of it halfway through.
My cousin Eric is a runner and is really good about eating healthy, balanced meals. He recently bought steel cut oats and let me try some, and to my surprise, I truly enjoyed them. Finally, an oatmeal I don’t have to force myself to like!
If you don’t like the mushy, gummy consistency of regular oatmeal, you might like steel cut oatmeal. Steel cut oats contain the whole oat kernel, which is cut into pieces, and are less processed than rolled oats. They are thicker, chewier, and somewhat “nutty” in flavor. The only downside is that they take longer to cook, but it’s easy enough to prepare a large batch and heat up portions of it during the week, or eat it cold. Box directions tell you to cook the oats for 20-30 minutes but I find that they only take 10-15 minutes to reach the consistency I like.
Blueberry Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal
makes 1 large or 2 small servings. to make a larger batch, simply double or quadruple the ingredients.
- 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups water*
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sliced bananas
- 1/4 cup chopped strawberries
- to top: a sprinkle of cinnamon, brown sugar, and/or a drizzle of honey
*I prefer my oatmeal chewier, so I use less water than the box directions say to use. If you know you like softer oatmeal, then feel free to follow the box directions.
In a small saucepan, bring water, oats, and brown sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often, or until oats have thickened and almost all water has absorbed. If oats aren’t soft enough for your liking, add a little bit more water and continue to cook until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat and top with blueberries, sliced banana, and optional toppings.
Oatmeal can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Vanilla Berry Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal
makes 1 serving
- 3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1/2 prepared steel cut oatmeal, using directions above (you can use raw steel cut oats but they will still be pretty tough and chewy in the morning)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp honey, agave nectar, or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup berries (I like frozen raspberries, which melt as they sit in the fridge overnight and add the best flavor)
- optional toppings: granola, peanut or almond butter, shredded coconut, chopped nuts
In a bowl or jar (I use a pint-sized mason jar), combine first 5 ingredients. Stir well, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Add optional toppings if desired and serve cold.
*If you plan to heat the oatmeal in the morning, I would advise against using yogurt because it curdles when heated.
What’s your favorite way to prepare oatmeal?