Don't think of oats as a boring breakfast option. When you get creative in the kitchen, you can bake rolled oats for a breakfast that's hearty, delicious and nourishing.
Once you've mastered making toasted oats either on the stove top or in the oven, you can use them to make a tastier version of oatmeal or a crunchy granola that's easy to take with you on the go. Here's how to do it.
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Cooking Rolled Oats
Oats are a great addition to any eating plan because they're a whole grain. Per the USDA, you should get between 3 and 8 ounces of grain a day, depending on your nutritional needs, and at least half those grains should be whole. The USDA lists a 1-ounce serving of oats as having only 110 calories, which come from 2 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrates and almost 5 grams of protein. Oats are also a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Read more: The Best Grains on a Low-Carb Diet
Most people have enjoyed a bowl of oatmeal at some point in their lives, but have you ever tried using toasted oats to make oatmeal? It can make a big difference in the finished product. You can either opt to cook rolled oats or steel-cut oats; however, Carnegie Mellon University recommends using steel-cut oats for their better flavor and texture even though they take a little bit longer to cook.
Here's how you can make toasted oats:
- Heat a skillet on the stove top over medium-high. Add a little bit of butter if desired.
- When the skillet is warm and the butter is melted, place the oats in the skillet and allow to heat up for about a minute or two.
- Toss the oats frequently to encourage even toasting.
- When the oats have turned a golden brown color, remove from the heat. If you're using butter, the oats will have taken on a butterscotch smell to them.
- In lieu of toasting oats on the stove top, spread the oats on a baking sheet and pop them in an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast them for 10 minutes, turning occasionally to encourage even toasting.
Using Toasted Oats in Recipes
Once you have your toasted oats, you can use them to make a great bowl of oatmeal. Carnegie Mellon University recommends using a 4-to-1 ratio of liquid to raw oats when making oatmeal. Use a combination of water and whole milk to give the oatmeal a creamier flavor, although you can use just water if you prefer. Simmer the liquid on the stove top over medium heat.
Once the liquid is simmering, stir in the toasted oats and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the oats have absorbed all the liquid and the moisture is thick. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for about five more minutes.
Read more: Is Eating Cereal at Night Healthy?
Other Recipes for Toasted Oats
If you're in the mood to cook rolled oats or steel-cut oats but you want something a little different from hot, soft cereal, you have the option of baking your oats into a tasty granola or muesli. Store-bought versions of these cereals can be high in fat, sugar and calories, but making them at home will give you more control over the ingredients.
For example, Mayo Clinic walks you through how to make granola with honey and applesauce instead of processed sugar and lots of oil. The recipe calls for you to mix oats and bran flakes with a combination of honey, applesauce, vanilla and cinnamon before spreading it all out on a baking sheet (along with some toasted almonds) and cooking at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
Another method — this one a little bit simpler — is to skip the sweeteners completely. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains how you can spread oats and bran on a baking sheet and toast at 350 F for 10 minutes. From there, you can add toasted nuts and seeds and dried fruit.
Finally, LIVESTRONG.com has some nutritious oat-based recipes, such as Vanilla Almond High-Protein Granola. This is a great option for cooking rolled oats into an on-the-go breakfast cereal.