4 (Unconventional) Ways to Add Oats to Your Daily Diet

Oats are quickly becoming the healthy cook's anytime ingredient. Try these non-breakfast recipes to get you started.

Oats are quickly becoming the healthy cook’s anytime ingredient. Try these non-breakfast recipes to get you started.

With evidence of oats’ health benefits growing, it’s good news that the grain is showing up more and more in savory dinner dishes and snacks. Researchers have confirmed that eating unsweetened oats can improve glycemic control and reduce insulin sensitivity, making them helpful in preventing and managing diabetes, and that they can lower total cholesterol. And eating oats in the evening may be particularly helpful for controlling next-day hunger: A study conducted at Hebrew University in Israel suggests eating carbs at night may lead to healthy daytime levels of the hormones that regulate appetite and feelings of fullness—so a helping of oats at dinner may mean you’re not aching for a snack during tomorrow’s Sun Salutation. For creative recipe ideas that break the morning-oatmeal mold, try these tips from food blogger Kathy Hester, adapted from her new book, OATrageous Oatmeals.

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1. Blend Oats into your Soup

Get a creamy texture without the dairy in pureed soups like butternut squash or potato-leek by adding 1⁄2 cup regular rolled oats with your liquid. Cook 10–20 minutes, and then blend. For a chunky soup, such as chicken and vegetable, throw in 1⁄2 cup steel-cut oats in place of barley or rice.

2. Swap Oats for Rice (Think: Risotto Recipe)

Replace rice with steel-cut oats for a nourishing dinner. As with a typical risotto recipe, gradually add liquid to oats, over heat, until just cooked but not mushy. Flavor with plenty of fresh herbs, sundried tomatoes, or mushrooms, or a dash of nutritional yeast to balance out oats’ natural sweetness.

3. Crumble Oats as a Pizza Topping

Chewy steel-cut oats make delicious meat-free “sausage” crumbles. Cook 1⁄2 cup steel-cut oats in 1 cup water, covered, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook off remaining liquid, 5 minutes. Mix in Italian seasonings and garlic powder, press onto a cookie sheet, and bake at 350°F, 10 minutes. Cool and crumble.

4. Add Oats to Yogurt for a Late-Night Snack

Make a sugar-free granola snack to enjoy solo or with yogurt. Mix 1 cup rolled oats with 1⁄3 cup each shredded coconut, minced cashews, and golden raisins, 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds, 2 tsp curry spice mix, a pinch of salt, and 3 tbsp vegetable oil. Spread mixture on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F until lightly browned, 20 minutes.

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