Dairy Free Sugar Free Overnight Oats

No-Dairy No-Sugar Overnight Oats

Sometime in summer 2018, we biked over to the late, great Norman in Greenpoint to grab some breakfast, and Kristin insisted that I try their overnight oats.  I used to cook warm oats before my shift everyday back in 2013, but I never really enjoyed them - it was just a boring bowl of fiber to cover in fruit and munch on before work.

Norman's oats changed my mind - I don't remember quite what was in them, but they were complex, hearty, a little naturally sweet and filling without putting me in the coma most overly sugary breakfasts tend to do.  Whatever was in that bowl inspired us to start making these oats, and we've had it just about everyday since then.

These oats are weirdly addictive, and since I started eating them I don't crash in the afternoon like I sometimes used to with more sugary breakfasts.  I use almond milk instead of dairy - oat milk is a little too rich for this but can be used if you prefer, and regular milk would also be fine if you like dairy.  Instead of sugar, I soak the oats with chopped dates - this gives it enough sweetness to balance things out without going overboard.  The dates contribute a nice caramelized flavor that contributes sweetness without tasting like dessert.

Everything in this recipe can be swapped in and out too depending on what you're looking for and have on hand - we use fruit seasonally based on what's available, and there's not really a right or wrong answer as to what's best.  Also, this can be made in batches - we'll make a big batch of dry mix and soak about a jar at a time.  What follows is a one-time batch, but it scales easily, just make sure to mix it thoroughly if you're dividing it up.

Note that depending on the oats you use, you may need to soak them longer.  More heavily processed oats like Quaker tend to be thinner and need less time, while less processed oats such as the oats we use from Deer Creek need a little more time and liquid given they're a little thicker.  

No-Sugar/No-Dairy Overnight Oats

Make the Dry Mix: Combine the oats, flax, chia, hemp, protein power, kosher salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Chop the dates roughly and mix with the dry mix.  

At this point you can save the dry mix for later use or go ahead and soak them.

Soak the Oats: At least 12 hours before you want to use them (ideally 24 hours before), place the oats in a 1 quart mason jar leaving some room on the top of the jar, and pour over enough almond milk to soak the oats completely.  Give it a moment to allow the milk to settle, shake it up a bit, and pour over more milk.  Continue doing this until the mix won't take any more liquid.  Place in the fridge overnight.

Make the Bowl: In the morning, spoon out about a cup of the oats, or however much you want.  They will likely be somewhat spongy - this is okay!  Add a little more almond milk when the oats are in the bowl and mix until you get the desired consistency. 

Top with whatever you like - I mostly use fresh seasonal fruit, peanut butter, nuts, or anything else we have laying around that we want to add to the mix.

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