Oats are one of those staple foods that stand the test of time. They are traditional, yet trendy. Old fashioned, yet fundamental in a healthy modern diet.

An amazing source of fiber, oats are a hearty ingredient. Satisfying by volume (a serving of cooked oatmeal goes a long way), they retain a soothing and creamy texture once cooked. They are versatile and understated and, most definitely, underutilized by home-cooks and chefs all around the world.

It is a bit challenging to maintain a winter habit of a daily bowl of hot oatmeal during the summer months. With temperatures soaring, people find it next to impossible to keep oats on their hot weather menu. Fortunately, as this recipe illustrates, there are ways to keep your craving for oatmeal satisfied during the summer heat without succumbing to heatstroke.

You can enjoy many variations on the overnight, uncooked oatmeal theme. Oats are very forgiving and their flavor profile is very neutral, making them ideal for experimenting with new flavors and textures. Customize your oatmeal by playing around with both sweet and salty combinations so that your breakfast never turns predictable and boring.

This version of the recipe is great during strawberry season. You can replicate the results when other berries are in season. Blueberries and raspberries are the most logical, most delicious substitutions, and who does not love fresh summer berries when they are at their peak?

The end result will be largely determined by the type of oats you use. I prefer (due to Celiac Disease) certified gluten free rolled oats with extra oat bran mixed in. You can opt for old fashioned rolled oats (since they tend to absorb liquids faster), steel cut oats (if you really like the chewy texture) or even oat bran by itself (it will yield a porridge like, slightly mushy texture). You derive the same benefits from all of them, so it really comes down to personal preference.

The perfect batch cooking recipe for the summer months, when you do not want to deal with a hot stove. I keep several jars in my refrigerator like blank canvases waiting for a splash of color. Enjoy them at any time of the day, or even as an on the go snack.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk (dairy or plant based)
1 tsp chia seed
1 cup of strawberries
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
N
ondairy yogurt (optional)
Nut butter (optional)

 In a wide mouth mason jar, combine oats, milk, chia seeds, and vanilla. Mix together and let it set in the refrigerator. After about an hour, stir contents again to ensure they are well incorporated, then set aside overnight.

 To make the jam, remove the tops from the strawberries and slice them. Add the berries to a pan on low heat and stir in the maple syrup and lemon. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes before removing from the heat. Drizzle a few teaspoons of water over the strawberries to thin the consistency of the sauce, if necessary. The syrup will thicken as the sauce cools down. Store in a mason jar and keep in the refrigerator until the morning.

Your oats will be perfect for eating after soaking overnight.  Empty contents into a bowl and garnish with the strawberry jam and fresh berries, or eat straight out of the jar with a generous dash of cinnamon over the strawberry sauce. Pump up the protein factor of this fantastic breakfast with a dollop of your choice of yogurt and/or a Tbsp of your favorite nut butter.