20 ways to eat more oats (even if you don’t like porridge)

by sophie on June 21, 2009 · 19 comments

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Oats have a lot going for them. The soluble fibre in oats can help your body to get rid of excess cholesterol, something pretty much everyone can benefit from. I’m spending a lot of time working with people who have irritable bowel syndrome at the moment and it seems that oats are also one of the few starchy foods that can exert a calming influence across the full spectrum of uncomfortable symptoms that can come with IBS.  And did I mention that they’re also tasty, filling, cheap and versatile?

So far so good, but what if you don’t like to porridge (oatmeal)?  A bit of trawling through my bookmarks and cookbooks and it turns out that there are loads of different ways to include more oats in your diet:

Start at breakfast

  • Mix together oats, natural yogurt and  a grated apple with a pinch of cinnamon and leave to meld overnight in the fridge. The oats will soften perfectly and breakfast is ready in an instant in the morning (just remove from the fridge and drizzle with honey).
  • Choose an oat-based cereal. There’s a much wider choice on the market these days than just muesli; compare labels to find one that isn’t loaded with fat or sugar.
  • Thicken your smoothie with a spoonful of oats
  • Whistle up a batch of oatmeal pancakes topped with fresh fruit and maple syrup (or veggies if you prefer).
  • Bake your own oaty Wholemeal porridge bread and serve with poached eggs or baked beans
  • Another non oatmeal fan, Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini, has a recipe for an Oatmeal Breakfast Clafoutis (great made with raspberries and warmed through just before eating)
  • Love porridge but in a bit of a porridge rut? I’ve written before about some of my favourite porridge combinations which might give you ideas for new toppings.
  • And OMG, I can’t believe I nearly forgot the fruit, nut and tahini breakfast bars, a great idea from Cassie and perfected by Kathryn with her tahini twist.

The main event

  • Swop meatballs in marinara sauce for these fantastic Walnut pecan balls. Great with pasta and tomato sauce and the leftovers are handy in a salad or sandwich.
  • Use oats as an alternative to breadcrumbs to coat chicken or fish as in this Pan fried mackerel coated with lemon oatmeal
  • Oat groats can replace spelt, brown rice, buckwheat groats etc in cold salads or serve them warm like this Warm savoury oatgroats with kale recipe from Martha Stewart.
  • Scottish savoury oat dish Skirlie is quickly prepared and can be used as a side dish or a meal in its own right topped with a poached egg.
  • This savoury crumble recipe has the added benefit of being packed with vegetables plus canellini and kidney beans.

Snacks and nibbles

  • Any toppings that work for crackers and crispbreads will work for a oat biscuits too; for healthier options try nut butters, houmous, low fat soft cheese and pure fruit spreads.
  • Flapjacks are the ultimate oaty convenience food. Flapjack recipes can be overly high in sugar and butter – the best healthy(ish) flapjack recipe I’ve found to date is this one from Jane Clarke (you’ll have to scroll down the page to reach the recipe), but I’d love to hear your suggestions if you know of a really good recipe.
  • These oat slices are the savoury, cheesy equivalent of a flapjack if you don’t have a sweet tooth.
  • Oat biscuits and oatcakes make a pleasant change to bread as an accompaniment to a steaming bowl of soup in winter.
  • The food coach has a healthier take on oat-based cookie favourite, the anzac biscuit.

The pudding course

  • Incorporate oats into your crumble topping (the topping on my Plum and Cherry crumble recipe will work with any fruit you like)
  • Combine your favourite tart filling with an oaty wholewheat pastry, as with Heidi’s Yogurt Tartlets.
  • Traditionally Scottish recipe Cranachan (usually made with toasted oats, whisky, whipped cream and berries) can be lightened with low fat creme fraiche or thick natural yogurt in place of the whipped cream.
  • Experiment with your favourite cake or muffin recipe by substituting some of the flour for rolled oats (this is exactly how these Butternut squash, oat and ginger cake bites came about).

I’m also including a couple of handy links for helping you to match the type of oats in the recipe to that bag in your cupboard (there are so many different names for the same type of oats).  I’d love to hear about your favourite oat recipes (especially if you have a stellar flapjack recipe to tell us about?)


kim June 21, 2009 at 19:43

I love oats and wheatberries too!

Johanna June 21, 2009 at 23:36

what a wealth of great ideas – I am a big fan of oats and felt a little virtuous that I was eating a new favourite pumpkin muesli slice as I read this – not on the blog yet but it will be – and I will be trying out some of your ideas because they look so good

Sophie June 22, 2009 at 09:37

Thanks for those useful tips! I tried a few of them, but now, I can try even more,…

Arwen from Hoglet K June 22, 2009 at 12:26

Thanks for the link about the veggie “meatballs”. I’ve been meaning to make something similar for a while, or perhaps they’re more of a dumpling. They’re millet balls :

Helen June 22, 2009 at 19:19

Oats are great esp for me as I hate breakfast cereals that have any carbs apart from oats in them – thanks for all the good ideas Sophie.
I will be trying using groats in a salad soon.

cassie June 22, 2009 at 19:52

What a fantastic list of ideas, Sophie. Your skirlie and the oat-kale dish are so unusual to me. Don’t think I’ve ever tried oats in a savory dish where the oats are the main ingredient. I’d probably give it a try. And LOVE Dreena Burton’s walnut-pecan balls. They’re a favorite of mine.

Elaine June 22, 2009 at 20:25

Thank you for 20 creative, tasty, healthy ideas. I’ll have to try at least one from each category.
Will try to return the favour by sharing a family favourite with you…but I’m drawing a blank at the moment. Well, a few cookie/sweet recipes come to mind but we all probably have enough of those already.

MELODY June 22, 2009 at 22:29

I love oatmeal in place of breadcrumbs in turkey meatloaves! It “holds” the turkey together so much better. YUM! thanks for all of these great ideas! the printer is running even as we speak!!

Sara June 23, 2009 at 15:49

I forwarded this to my mother in law who hates oatmeal but wants to try to eat more of it since it’s so healthy. (I love oatmeal, but was glad to see Clotilde’s recipe anyway–will have to give it a try!).
How’s your garden growing?

Maria June 23, 2009 at 22:44

Love this post! So many great oat ideas! Here is my favorite baked oatmeal:

Sophia June 24, 2009 at 04:20

Wow this is amazing! I LOVE this. It’s gonna take me a while to go through all the recipes, but rest assured, I’ll MAKE time for this! I love oats!

Peg Kincade June 24, 2009 at 19:38

I love oats fixed any way. This is what I have every morning for breakfast.
1/2 C old fashioned oats
1/2 C water
fix this nite before & put in ref. with lid.
Next morn add 4 oz blueberry yogart & 1 t cinnamon & 1 t flax seed. Mix & eat. I use the cinnamon because I have diabetes & that helps. I use the flax seed to lower my cholestrol. You can add nuts or fruit. I don’t because it adds more calories.

Alex June 29, 2009 at 15:25

Love this post! And I love oats any which way…

Niche Topics July 10, 2009 at 07:33

Awesome…thanks for the great ideas!! Going to try some of them soon :)

Alan Joel July 16, 2009 at 22:43

Fabulous ideas. I myself love oatmeal but this is a great list of ideas for people who can’t stand the consistency or taste of oatmeal. I particularly like oat biscuits myself … especially in the winter, as you suggest!

Kathy July 25, 2009 at 21:40

This is brilliant! I have a daughter who is wheat intolerant and we’re always looking for suitable recipes, and I love the taste of porridge but can’t bear the consistency so will enjoy trying some of these recipes to see if I can find some ways to up my oat intake. I shall enjoy dipping into your blog as we try to eat healthily.

Helen July 17, 2014 at 08:51

I do love porridge but in summer I would prefer an oat based breakfast cereal I can have with cold milk like granola but I haven’t been able to find one sold in the UK which isn’t loaded with sugar and/or saturated fat. Can you suggest one ? Thank you.

Danielle. Opit August 2, 2014 at 10:18

Thank you

john November 12, 2017 at 21:24

if i make my own oat flour by putting oats in the coffee grinder then cooking them in milk for 5 minutes or so that is ok ? You dont need to soak overnight etc ?

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