Meet your new quick breakfast: sugar-free overnight oats! This whole foods plant-based recipe is easy, delicious, and versatile.
Meet your new quick breakfast: sugar-free overnight oats!
I know, I know, you’ve already met them. Overnight oats became very popular in the past decade, even though the original idea (muesli) has been enjoyed since early 1900’s.
Muesli vs Overnight Oats
My recipe for sugar-free overnight oats, which has no added sweetener, is somewhat similar to traditional muesli. Although muesli includes more dried fruit and nuts/seeds in proportion to the oats. Nevertheless, muesli is generally not sweetened, apart from the addition of dried fruit.
When I created my sugar-free overnight oats, I didn’t know this about muesli. I remember trying muesli when my husband and I were on a whirlwind tour of Europe back in ’93. Yes, 1993! Wow. that’s wild to even type. Anyhow, I recall thinking it was very bland. But I wasn’t fully vegan at the time (we were vegetarian), and I didn’t have the same appreciation for whole foods as I do now.
10 Reasons to Love Overnight Oats
Here are just a few reasons why overnight oats are a beneficial recipe to add to your diet!
- Not Just for Breakfast
Even if you don’t love eating overnight oats for breakfast (raising hand), you can enjoy these oats as a snack. I sometimes enjoy them in the evening. Kids might enjoy them as an afternoon snack as well, layered with yogurt or seasonal fruits.
- Very Versatile
You customize your overnight oats with different spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom), dried fruits (raisins, dates, apricots, prunes, pineapple, mango, berries), nuts, seeds, and plant-based milks. You can also add cocoa powder and make varieties of chocolate overnight oats.
- Batch-Cooking & Time Saver
If you love to prepare food in advance, overnight oats will be welcome in your vegan recipe repertoire. You can portion several batches for up to 3-4 days, and have breakfasts or snacks at the ready.
Rolled oats are pretty darn affordable compared to many other whole grains or nuts and seeds. Overnight oats are inexpensive and exceptionally nutritious.
Great segue, huh? 😬 Oats offer a very good source of fiber, and are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Easy To Make
Overnight oats (and even these sugar-free overnight oats) are one of the easiest recipes you can make. Before long, you won’t need a recipe. Rather, you will just ‘wing it’, combining proportions of oats together with your favorite vegan milk, and then customizing with other ingredients and flavors that you really love.
- Ideal for Hot Summer Days
I write this during heat wave in the Pacific Northwest. On hot days, most of us would prefer this version of oatmeal to cranking the stove to cook oats. Having said that, overnight oats truly can be enjoyed anytime of the year, and during cooler months more ‘heating’ spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves can be added.
Is that a word? I think it passes in the urban dictionary so let’s run with it. Batch prep a few jars or thermos containers of overnight oats, and you can pack them for work, hikes, or camping. Our eldest just packed several for a camping trip with her friends and said they were a hit!
Even when you have a mix of food preferences with children, overnight oats just take a couple of tweaks to customize for family members. And, if you want to add a touch of extra sweetness for kids, just add more dried fruit – or a drizzle of date syrup.
I mean look at these photos. They are just gorgeous with fresh fruit and rustic jars. Cute overnight oats pics for the win!
Shall we get to the recipe? Let’s do it!
By the way, this recipe is also in Plant-Powered Families. Enjoy! x Dreena
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Sugar-Free Overnight Oats
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dates or 1/4 cup chopped apricots or raisins (see note)
- 1 –2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1/4 rounded teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 –1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of sea salt
- 11/4 cups nondairy milk
In a bowl, combine the rolled oats, dates, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and milk. Stir through. Cover and refrigerate overnight (see note). The oats will absorb a lot of the milk overnight. In the morning, you may want to leave it as is so it remains thick, or add a little extra milk to thin. If desired, you can also add extra toppings/fruit, as suggested below. If you’d like it sweeter, add a drizzle of date syrup, coconut nectar, or pure maple syrup.
- mashed ripe banana (best to add in the morning before eating, so it doesn’t oxidize)
- other fresh fruit (ex: berries, chopped apples or pears, sliced peaches or plums, sliced bananas)
- hemp, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds
- chopped nuts (ex: almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios)
- dollop of nut butter to stir through
Dried Fruit Note: The dried fruit will plump and rehydrate with the soaking. If you aren’t a fan of dried fruit, simply omit it. It adds natural sweetness, but you can add some of your favorite natural sweeteners instead if you prefer.
Kitchen Tip: Instead of soaking overnight, you can also soak this mixture for 1–2 hours at room temperature and it will soften nicely (it softens more after a few hours, but if soaking overnight be sure to refrigerate).
Photos credit: Nicole Axworthy