I’ve never understood the concept of being a morning person. I can barely form words for the first hour I’m awake, much less make plans or (God forbid) exercise. My husband knows by now not to ask me any questions in the early morning hours. And this is the improved, adult version of me. As a cranky teenager I would build a wall out of cereal boxes so I didn’t have to talk to anyone. So, obviously, weekday breakfasts are not a thing I get fancy for. Baked oatmeal swoops in to save the day.
The convenience of having delicious baked oatmeal in the fridge to quickly heat up in the morning is not to be underestimated. This version – with banana, berries, and chocolate chips all baked into golden goodness – is healthy and delicious, easy to mix together, and reheats incredibly well. It tastes almost like bread pudding or soft oatmeal cookies. Perfect for those people that like sweet breakfasts (pancakes, waffles) but are searching for a healthier option to fuel through the morning.
Other weekday mornings my husband and I simply have yogurt or cereal. (No, we don’t have crepes all the time, despite what you may think.) Baked oatmeal, though, is a ready-made option that offers a lot of flavor and nutrition for the morning. It keeps you full too, thanks to all the fiber.
I didn’t grow up eating oatmeal, but thanks to my husband’s grandma, I’ve realized how delicious it can be. Every time we visit her, we start the day with oatmeal. She always mixes in berries, and sometimes adds almond butter and/or brown sugar. I also suspect her daily oatmeal is part of the reason she is the healthiest 93 year-old I’ve ever known. Regular doses of oatmeal and berries are excellent for your body and mind. If you can’t get enough of oatmeal, you should definitely try these as well.
Oats are very plain on their own, so that’s why we dress them up with berries and bananas. I might even throw in mini chocolate chips. You can use frozen fruit or change things up as the seasons change. Peaches, apples, pecans, almonds, coconut flakes – use your favorite combos for a breakfast you’ll love. I recommend at least one fruit and one nut ingredient, to develop good texture. The oatmeal bake can also be made dairy-free by using almond or coconut milk.
Making baked oatmeal takes a little more effort than cereal, but once it’s made (I make mine on Sunday night) it is ready to go for the week. As a bonus it can be brought to work in the morning and reheated there, if you are in a particular rush to keep up with the ever-changing bus schedule, for example. It’s easy for your morning sleepy brain to handle, and the taste is worth the effort.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups milk (or almond milk)
- ½ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 ½ cups mixed berries
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish or pie plate with cooking spray.
- Combine the dry ingredients: mix together the rolled oats, half of the walnuts, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients: mix together the milk, applesauce, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla.
- Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle half of the berries and chocolate chips over the banana. Cover with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently shake the baking dish to help the milk mixture sink into the oats. Sprinkle the remaining berries, walnuts, and chocolate chips over the top.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden and firm in the middle. Serve warm, or let it cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container.
- If you do not have applesauce, you may substitute another ½ cup of milk.
- To reheat: add a dash of milk or water on top of the oatmeal and microwave.
- For the freezer: let the oatmeal cool completely, then cut into portions and freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag.