Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal

I do love my overnight oats, but come winter, I want something warm and cozy. I love the idea of oatmeal, but most recipes I've tried never live up to my expectations.

So, I set out on a mission to perfect oatmeal. I set 3 goals:

1. Tastes great, even without tons of added sugar 2. Refrigerates well, because goodness knows I love the snooze button more than a warm bowl of oats. This recipe would have to be batch cooking friendly. 3. Filling enough to last till my mid-morning snack, and even until lunch for those hectic days I miss snacktime.

And what would you know, I found the perfect recipe on my first try! Toot toot (<---that's me tooting my own horn).

The trick for perfect oatmeal is quite simple - toast the oats before cooking. It adds a wonderful nutty flavor. The oats get a chewy texture that holds up to refrigeration overnight and prevents it from becoming a solid mass of bleh. Plus, toasting oats makes your kitchen smell just short of Heaven.

Another crucial upgrade - I cooked the oats in coconut milk instead of my usual unsweetened almond milk. It adds a lovely flavor and the higher fat content coats the oats and helps keep creamy, even after refrigeration.

To sweeten my oats without added sugar, I used the natural sugars in fruit. I've used a mashed banana in my oats before, which tasted great, but it doesn't refrigerate well. I often use all-fruit jam to sweeten my oats, so I decided to play on that and create my own chia seed jam. Last year, I fell in love with the concentrated flavor and super-dense nutrition of wild blueberries during our Recipe Redux contest, so I figured that would be a natural choice.

Four days in, I'm still gobbling this up and loving every bite! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Do you have any tricks for making oatmeal taste great? Leave your favorite oatmeal hacks in the comments below!

Healthy Fruit and Cream Oatmeal

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (low fat or full fat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped

Chia jam:

  • 3 cups frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk for drizzling
  • Honey or pure maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. First, make the jam. Place blueberries, lemon and water in a small pot on medium heat. After a few minutes, the liquids will release. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, mashing the berries with a potato masher as they cook. Turn off heat, stir in chia seeds and let sit 10 minutes until thickened.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add oats. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring every so often, until they smell toasty. Add coconut milk and enough water to make a total of 6 cups of liquid along with the vanilla extract and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Stop cooking while the oats still have a bit of liquid, since it will soak in a bit in the fridge.
  3. While the oats are cooking, toast the almonds. I usually place them on a small baking sheet in the toaster oven.
  4. To serve, drizzle the oatmeal with a little almond milk or coconut milk and a teaspoon of honey or pure maple syrup if using. Swirl in chia jam and top with almonds.