Here is my practical guide to oats and how to use them. I’ve included easy oats recipes and ideas for every day cooking and baking.
Looking through my recipe notebook I’m always looking at how I can improve my oats recipes and make them better. One thing I know for sure is that if you have the right type of oats the recipe itself is less of an issue if something goes wrong.
So, if you (like me!) are sometimes confused about what type of oats to use for your recipes, here is what I found.
BREAKFAST OATS RECIPES
- Chocolate & Strawberry Overnight Oats >>
- Overnight Oats with Peanut Butter >>
- Breakfast Brownie Batter Oatmeal >>
- Apple pie oatmeal>>
I tend to use rolled or traditional (old – fashioned oats) to make my smoothies and breakfast porridge. They are usually the cheapest type of oats (in the shops), but I also think, they are the healthiest ones.
They keep the most nutrition locked in, because apart from cleaning, they have been only rolled. This makes them quite hard, so you need to cook them for longer and they need more water or milk to soak in. You’ll easily recognise them because they are quite rough looking.
I suppose instant oats still have a place on my list, although I don’t buy them very much. As the name suggests, instant oats are quick to cook (usually under 1 minute).
They have been heavily processed and prepared (cooked, rolled, grinded) to make your breakfast preparation fast. Unfortunately that also means that a lot of the outer layer of the oats have been removed and some of that good nutrition has been lost.
Instant oats are best used for their main purpose – i.e. hot breakfast porridge, but you can also use them for a finer oats crumble.
OAT BASED SNACKS RECIPES
Steel cut oats
These are not normally available in the mainstream supermarkets (in UK), but widely available in the USA. Steel Cut Oats are great for making oatmeal or porridge in a slow cooker, because they take much longer to cook (a minimum of 20 minutes, but longer if you want a creamier texture).
Steel cut oats are basically whole oats, cut into smaller chunks – they are not flattened (rolled) first, so they have a grittier texture.
Oat Groats (whole grain oats)
Oat groats are basically the whole oats, just hulled and cleaned. It’s best to use them for savoury cooking and you can easily use them in recipes where you would have a rice as a side dish. They take a lot longer to cook a minimum of 30 minutes but longer to make them super soft.
OAT BASED PUDDINGS
Gluten Free Oats
The funny thing is that oats are naturally gluten-free. The problem is that they are processed with other flours and grains, which means that you can get cross-contamination. If you are just sensitive to gluten or you want to lower your gluten intake, you might be O.K with regular oats. However, if you are gluten intolerant or have a gluten allergies, look for oats labeled and certified as gluten-free.
A note for fellow Low FODMAP peeps – Oats (gluten or not) are O.K to eat, but most people find that they need to limit their intake to about 1/4 – 1/2 cup a day maximum. This really depends from person to person, but a lot of people (me included) find that whilst they tolerate oats (no cramps or pain), they still get badly bloated after they have eaten them.
I try to minimise this by not eating more than 1/4 cup a day (usually for my breakfast smoothie) and boiling the oats in the microwave or leaving them overnight to soak as this makes them easier to digest.
OAT BASED COOKIES & BISCUITS RECIPES
You can easily use it instead of plain (cake – all purpose) flour and if you swap about 1/4 of the overall proportions, you won’t notice a difference (in taste or texture). I would be careful not to swap the flours 100% without testing it first, but you are welcome to experiment!
Oat bran looks like a shredded paper and it doesn’t taste much better. But it’s a great source of fiber, so it’s fantastic as an addition to breakfast muffins, pancakes or even when baking bread.
OAT BASED SMOOTHIE DRINKS