We crave warm, tummy-filling oatmeal and other hot breakfast bowls in the winter months, but come summer, our tastes change and we often want something cooler and lighter. Inspired by the "bowl of mush" from the childhood favorite Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. I decided to create a bowl of overnight oats that our family could enjoy in the hotter months.
Both of my kids requested this classic book for months before bedtime, and we never were quite sure what to tell them when they asked, "What is a bowl of mush?" Now we know: these vegan, gluten-free oat bowls make a great, healthy option for a filling comfort food.
Soaking oats and other ingredients overnight softens them and eliminates the need for cooking on a stove, so a little prep time the night before is all you need to have an easy, healthy, and substantial breakfast on the table in no time. This is the perfect recipe to get little chefs started on since there is just pouring, mixing, stirring, and decorating (and a little waiting). Overnight oats, while tasty, do not necessarily make the prettiest meal, so I included two fruit purées to add some sweetness and color to this meal. If you fill up squeeze bottles similar to the ketchup bottles you find in many restaurants, kids can squeeze out their own designs or fruit-filled decorations. You also can make this breakfast into a pretty parfait and layer the oats with the purées and/or fresh fruit. For more recipes inspired by books, please visit Books at the Table.
1. Gather the ingredients
- 1/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 Tbsp flax seed oil (optional, but recommended for extra fiber and Omega 3s)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- Fresh fruit for layering parfaits or for topping
For the fruit purées:
- fresh fruit (I used 1 cup each of strawberries and mangos, but I think any berry would be delicious, as would kiwi)
2. Combine the ingredients
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. The listed measurements make one hearty serving of overnight oats, but the recipe is extremely easy to multiply. Sometimes I make enough for several mornings and store them covered in the fridge.
3. Stir well then refrigerate overnight
Stir all of the ingredients well with a whisk or fork. Make sure the chia seeds are well-combined so that they can plump up to the right consistency. Store covered in the fridge overnight or at least 8 hours.
4. Make the fruit purées
Blend your fruit (peel or hull if necessary first) in a high-speed blender. Pour blended fruit into squeeze bottles. One cup of fruit puréed makes plenty of topping for several oat bowls, but you can store extra in the fridge for several days and use as a topping for ice cream, fruit salads, or other baked goods.
5. Decorate the oat bowls and enjoy
Remove the bowls from the fridge and decorate with fresh fruit and the fruit purées. You can also layer the oats and fruit to make a fun parfait. Hand over the squeeze bottles and give the kids a chance to “play” with their food.