18 Dec 2008

Oats, Not Just For Breakfast!

For thousands of years oats were mainly grown as animal fodder and it was only in certain countries in Western Europe, like Scotland and Ireland, that it was looked on as a valuable staple food. Today people are realizing what a healthy and energy-giving cereal it is and it's popularity is growing. Celebrities like Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor and Jerry Halliwell have often mentioned their lifelong love of oats and who has not heard of Muesli, a health food made up of oats and fruit, devised by Dr Bircher-Benner of Switzerland many years ago?

Oats contain a high content of complex carbohydrates, protein, saponins, alkaloids, silica, sterols and more soluble fiber than any other grain. Other contents include vitamins B1, B2, B5, D and E, folate, tryptophan, selenium, calcium, zinc, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

In the body the soluble fiber becomes a gel which moves very slowly through the body making you feel fuller for longer. The fiber also acts like a sponge, soaking up "bad" cholesterol and carrying it out of the bloodstream but leaving the "good" cholesterol behind. It also helps to smooth out blood glucose levels. An excellent heart-healthy food which is also suitable for diabetics.

They are available in many forms, the less processed the better:
Hulled oats/groats which still contain the bran layer.
Steel cut/pinhead oats which is coarse oatmeal with the bran layer.
Rolled oats/oat flakes which are steamed, bran removed and rolled.
Quick cooking oats which are steamed even longer and rolled.
Oat bran which can be re-added to oats or baking and oat flour.

If buying from a bin and not in vacuum packed packaging smell the oats to make sure they are fresh. Buy small quantities at a time as oats have a fairly high fat content so can go rancid quickly. They will keep from six weeks to two months in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Notes: Oats have in some countries been contaminated by other cereals so can trigger a reaction in those with celiac disease and/or gluten intolerance. Oats from Finland and Sweden appear to be pure and in many cases be eaten by those with a gluten intolerance. Oats contain purines and should be avoided by those who suffer from gout.

Many people also like to take food supplements or essences containing the whole plant called oatstraw due to it's good levels of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Dr Bach's Wild Oats flower remedy is recommended for times of uncertainty and Ayurvedic medicine prescribes oats to alleviate withdrawal pangs when giving up smoking, alcohol and other addictions. Also do not forget to use them as a simple face pack or face wash as they cleanse, heal and smooth the skin.


Quick Steel-Cut Oats with Blueberry Topping
From Dr McDougalls June 2008 Newsletter
Soak overnight to cut the cooking time down to about 10 minutes. The blueberry topping can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

1 cup steel-cut oats
2 ½ cups water
pinch of cinnamon or mace, if desired

1 cup blueberries
1/8 cup agave nectar

Place the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the oats and cinnamon or mace, if using. Turn off heat, cover and let rest overnight. In the morning, mix well, add a bit more water or some non-dairy milk of your choice if too thick. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with a small amount of the blueberry topping over the cereal.
Place the blueberries and agave nectar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until blueberries soften into a syrup, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, or cool and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve warm or chilled over the oats. Servings: 2

"Fudgy" No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
From Go Dairy Free
Try mixing the flavor up by substituting carob powder for the cocoa or almond butter for the peanut butter!

2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the maple syrup, oil, cocoa and cinnamon. Boil for three minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, rolled oats and vanilla until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto waxed paper and chill to set, about 30 minutes.

Oatmeal Smoothie
From Mr Breakfast

1 cup apple juice
1 frozen banana
3 heaping tbsps uncooked oatmeal
3 tbsps of maple syrup
additional frozen fruit if desired (example 5 frozen strawberries)

Put everything in blender and blend until smooth. 1 serving.

Raw German Chocolate Brownies
From Kristen's Raw
Oh-My-Goodness, These Are Amazing!

3 cups raw walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
1 3/4 cups dried, unsweetened & shredded coconut
3/4 cup dark (or amber) Raw agave nectar
1 tbsp rRaw (virgin) coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbspn coconut extract
pinch Himalayan crystal salt

Take 1 cup of the walnuts and chop them. Set them in a large bowl. Add the coconut to the chopped nuts and toss briefly to mix. Take the remaining 2 cups of walnuts and grind them in a food processor, fitted with the "S" blade, until coarsely ground. Add the agave, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut extracts, and salt to the food processor and process until creamy. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to the large bowl with chopped nuts and coconut. Stir together by hand. Set aside while you make the brownies.

1/4 cup raw oats
2 1/4 cups raw pecans, soaked and dehydrated
2/3 cup raw chocolate powder
3 tbsps raw (virgin) coconut oil
dash Himalayan crystal salt
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut extract
13 dates, pitted
1/4 cup raisins

Grind the oats to a powder with a coffee grinder or blender. Transfer them to your food processor, fitted with the "S" blade. Add the pecans and process until coarsely ground. Add the chocolate powder, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and coconut extracts. Process until well incorporated. Add the dates and raisins and process until the mixture begins to stick together when pressed between your fingers. Press into an 8x8 glass-baking dish. Top the brownies with the frosting. Yield 12 brownies.

Hannukah Vegan Latkes
From In a Vegetarian Kitchen with Nava Atlas
The grated potato is held together with something just as sticky as eggs (oatmeal!) and it works splendidly. I’ve also added a carrot for extra color.

2/3 cup quick-cooking oats (oatmeal)
6 large potatoes, peeled and finely grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium onion, finely grated
l/2 cup matzo meal
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
light vegetable oil for frying

In a heatproof bowl, combine the oats with 1 1/3 cup boiling water. Stir and set aside while preparing the other ingredients. Combine the grated potato, carrot, and onion, and matzo meal in a mixing bowl. Stir in the oatmeal, then season with salt and pepper. Heat just enough oil to coat the bottom of a large, nonstick skillet or griddle. Drop enough potato batter to form 2 1/2- to 3-inch pancakes. Fry on both sides over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp. Drain briefly on paper towels and place in a covered container to keep warm until serving. Serve warm with applesauce. Makes about 3 dozen.



Anonymous said...

Can you do any Vegan Diet Stuff with the 1200 Calorie Diet? or do you need to eat more Vegan stuff to get your vitamins you have to eat more than 1200 Calories a day? I get my info from
I'm just trying to lose weight healthy, and meat has a lot of calories!

Jackie said...

Luckily since becoming Vegan I rarely have to watch my waist line, I certainly don't count calories. I just make sure I don't eat too many hot chips and dark chocolate (even when it's dairy-free it can put on the pounds LOL).

Chandira said...

I am SO trying those cookies!!! Wow..

I love oats.. I lived on them when I had stomach trouble, they were about all I could eat. I think oats, miso soup and steamed broccoli saved my life back then. :-)

Seriously good for you..

earthmother said...

Mmmm, I'll be trying that smoothie recipe. Think I'll substitute raw honey for the maple syrup.

Oh-My-Goodness, These Are Amazing! – I second that! Kristen's brownies are a decadent delight.

Winter has arrived in all its glory here, and I've been enjoying some yummy raw oatmeal:

1 C oat groats, soaked overnight
handful almonds
handful goji berries
cinnamon and raw honey to taste

Theresa said...

I love oats! I eat meusli with soy yogurt just about every morning for breakfast, and it's the only thing that keeps me feeling full until lunch on the days I ride my bike in to uni.

CyberCelt said...

Wow! I love oats (and groats). Since I have been ill, it is one of the things that I will eat and it makes me feel better. I guess the warmth is a comfort.

Happy Holidays!

BJ said...

These are some really cool vegan treats. Thanks!

Urban Vegan said...

I use them as an exfoliant, too!

Happy Holidays, Jackie.

Daisy said...

Happy Holidays, Jackie! As usual, your blog saved my life this season! :)

Naomi said...

People forget just how good oats are for us and our general wellbeing. So good for lowering cholesterol too. Thanks for the great post and recipes Jackie.

P.S. Just came over to wish you a very Happy Christmas

Sheila said...

Happy Christmas Jackie. I always appreciate your thoughtfulness. May the new year bring much joy.

ocean said...

It's really very gud.. hop u'll visit my blog...

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I think oatmeal is my favorite food, ANY time of day!

Marion said...

Although I eat oats on a regular basis there are many points here I did not know. As usual, lol!

I love this blog. I've said it before, you're probably tired of hearing it, but I use it for info too many times to count!

Merry Christmas, Jackie, and a very fruitful New Year!

Dr.Rutledge said...

Hi Jackie,

I'm an academic physician (formerly at Harvard and Stanford) who found your blog while looking for the best health writers. I think your writing is great! I would like to feature you in the Vegan Community on Wellsphere, a top 10 health website that has well over 2 million visitors monthly.

If you would like to learn more, just drop me an email to

Hudson and Mary Jo said...

You have so many wonderful recipes. I just sent your fabulous site to my daughter in college. Thanks so much for taking the time to share with all of us. Mary Jo and Hudson

Jackie said...

Thanks everyone and to earthmother, thanks for the interesting raw oatmeal recipe. We have goji berries here now and good idea to try them in the oatmeal :)

Maggie said...

The raw German chocolate brownies sound really great!