It’s true: oatmeal makes a great breakfast. But not the flavored, sugared, powdery instant oats that are more chemicals and sweeteners than they are oats. Plain, old-fashioned rolled oats are a much better choice…and you can flavor them any way you want! You could even cook a giant batch once or twice a week and then enjoy “instant” oatmeal whenever the mood strikes you. (Or cook a big batch of steel-cut oats or even oat groats, which is the whole un-steel-cut grain.)
For my breakfast earlier in the week, I had some strawberries that needed to be eaten and a handy bag of rolled oats. I could have opted for sliced berries stirred into cooked oats, of course, but I thought it would be interesting to see what a shake made with oats would be like. The answer? With their thickening power, oats make the ideal shake. And it’s easy enough to make the shake dairy-free if you’d like: just simmer the oats in water rather than milk. So simple! This is a surprisingly hearty and satisfying smoothie to enjoy first thing in the morning or even on the way to work.
Blend cooked plain rolled oats with a handful of organic strawberries* in a blender. (To make a single serving, I cooked 1/4 cup raw oats and tossed in about 9 strawberries.) Add 1 T. maple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract and blend again. If the smoothie is too thick and is refusing to blend to a smooth consistency, trickle in cold water and keep blending until you have a milkshake-like smoothie. Note that this idea of cooked oats + fruit would work with any fruit that’s soft enough to blend. Banana-oat, blueberry-oat, peach-oat…the possibilities are endless!
* Seeing as strawberries are one of the most-sprayed crops on the U.S. market and we eat the whole fruit, they’re worth buying organic.