7 Hearty Oatmeal Recipes

Try one of these hearty oatmeal recipes and start reaping the health benefits of oats.

| February/March 2008

Nutty and sweet, nutritious and creamy, there's more to oats than meal. Oats do make a terrific cereal, but you can also add them to soups, sautés and baked goods, or use them in savory dishes as you would rice or barley. And then there's everyone's favorite: oatmeal cookies!

Oats are chock-full of vitamins and minerals, and are especially high in protein, with 150 percent of the amount found in some kinds of wheat. Plus, we should all eat more fiber, and oats are a tasty way to add it to our diets. A half-cup serving of old-fashioned oatmeal has about 30 percent more fiber than you’ll get in a packet of instant oatmeal or a bowl of Cheerios (originally sold as “Cheerioats”). Ounce for ounce, whole oats are easily the least expensive of the three — even the most expensive organic-certified oats keep the cost per serving around 10 cents. By contrast, a bowl of Cheerios is about 30 cents, and each packet of instant oatmeal costs 50 cents.

Oats retain more moisture than other grains, so they help keep baked goods soft and moist longer. Plus, oat flour has triple the fiber of regular all-purpose flour. The protein in oats is water-soluble, so it won’t beef up the structure of dough like the gluten in wheat does. To achieve better lift in breads and pastries, combine oat flour with higher gluten flours, such as whole wheat. (Whole grains take longer than refined grains to absorb liquid, so it’s a good idea to let whole grain batters rest for a while before cooking them.)

We’ve all heard about the cholesterol-lowering, immune-boosting properties of oat bran. The oat kernel is one of the few grains that isn’t routinely separated from its nutrient-packed parts (the bran and germ) during processing. So you can enjoy the health benefits by eating almost any kind of oats, whether in savory stews or fluffy, sweet oat treats.

Most natural foods stores offer a wide selection of oats. The differences are based on the extent to which the grain has been broken down. For peak flavor and nutrition, store all of the following types of oats in the refrigerator or freezer:

Groats: whole kernels of the oat grain.

10/22/2013 2:30:20 AM

Sorry Ann, that was meant to be a "u" - my apologies.

10/22/2013 2:28:54 AM

@ Ann Polley. The vinegar (acid) is there to cause baking soda etc to give off CO2 and to cause the mixes to rise. Yeast do this for themselves. You might use buttermilk and mix in the baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), say a level teaspoon to half a cup of buttermilk. Personally I prefer potassium bicarbonate as I am sensitive to sodium and we get enough of that in our diets anyway. Use at similar rate.

Ann Pulley
2/26/2013 7:49:09 PM

Why is there vinegar in the recipes ? I do not like nor use any vinegar. Can I omit it and have the recipe turn out okay ? I cannot see any use for vinegar in breads and cookies. Some recipes will take lemon juice as a substitute, can that be done if the vinegar is vital to a recipe ?

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