Overnight Oats with Rhubarb Compote & Almond Crunch

First things first, I ain’t gonna pretend otherwise, I’m telling the truth when I say I pretty much always have a bowl of piping hot porridge for breakfast no matter what the season. It could be the hottest Summer on record for all I care, you’ll still find me cradling a bowl of the hot stuff each and every morning. You’d have to get me in the Gobi under a heat lamp with a down duvet to prize a bowl from my stone cold clutches. But I am willing to admit that when it starts to get a little warmer some people like the option of having the sustenance of oats without getting hot and bothered over the hob on a morning.

This is where, despite my personal preference I got your back. Follow this fool proof route to soak your oats for an overnight oatmeal that’ll allow you to keep your cool and have your fill of oat-so-goodstuff, even when the sun is shining.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can batch make enough of each component for the whole week and mix and match fruits and flavours to suit your mood. I’ve included a few notes on variations to highlight how versatile and easy it is to change up the base recipe based on whatever you have to hand.

Its also worth mentioning that dry oats themselves can vary from brand to brand, with some being obvious whole individual oats to others being flakier, broken and a little more floury. This will affect the consistency of the end result, with more intact oats taking a lot longer to soak up the liquid, especialy without the process of heating and cooking the oats. On the other hand the more broken, floury oats will have the capacity to soak up the liquid at a faster rate, leading to a thicker oatmeal. I have tried to accont for this within the recipe, which should produce a thicker consistency that can be thinned out at the assembly stage with additional milk to suit your personal preference.

Ingredients

Oat base – Serves 2-3

100g rolled oats
125ml almond milk (or any other non dairy or dairy milk)
125ml coconut milk (tinned)
1/4tsp vanilla powder
Extra almond milk to serve

Rhubarb Compote

100g rhubarb
2 tbsp caster or granulated sugar 
2 tsp lemon juice

Almond Crunch (Makes enough for the oatmeal plus enough to snack on from the oven and a little to stash away for another day)

This recipe adapted from Chunky Crunchy Granola by Jessica Murnane – One Part Plant Cookbook.

200g porridge or rolled oats (*) 
100g whole unblanched almonds
100g flkaed almonds
40g buckwheat groats (or sub with more nuts or seeds of choice)
1/2 tsp sea salt
40g coconut chips
1 tsp vanilla powder
120ml maple syrup
120ml melted coconut oil

* If using rolled oats in place of porridge oats then it is worth while taking the time to blitz them in a food processor to break them up a little first, you’ll find the end result will clump together better to give you larger clusters of crunch.  

Additional toppings

Maple syrup or honey to sweeten to taste
Toasted nuts or seeds
Bee Pollen
Fruit compote
Fresh or dried fruit

Method

To make the Almond Crunch – 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius and line a 21 x 30 cm tin with greasproof paper.
2. Place the porridge oats (or blitzed rolled oats), whole almonds, flaked almonds, buckwheat groats, coconut chips, vanilla powder and sea salt together in a bowl and stir to combine. 
3. Add the maple syrup to the melted coconut oil and then pour these over the dry ingredients. Stir to combine and evenly coat.
4. Tip the mixture into the tin and press down as if you were making flapjack, compact the mixture are much as you can, but dont worry too much if it doesnt quite reach the edges of the tin completely. Place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and bake for a further 10 minutes. Be carefull to watch for it browning too fast, if it is then reduce your oven temperature after the initial 15 minutes to 160 degrees. 
5. Once evenly brown, remove from the oven and place the tray on a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes, if you can possibly wait that long. I will forgive you a nibble or two of the particularly crunchy edge pieces.
6. Break up whatever remains of the granola once cooled and store in an airtight box or jar.

To make the Rhubarb Compote

1. If your rhubarb is the fragile forced, bright pink and bendy variety then chop it into 2.5cm pieces. If it long ago lost its blush and is green and hulky then chop it into slightly smaller 1cm pieces. Place them in a small saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.
2. Cook over a low to medium heat until the rhubarb begins to cook down and looses its shape. At this point the sugar should have completely dissolved so turn the heat up a little and allow it to bubble and thicken for 5 minutes. Taste to check for sweetnes. Rhubarb like all fruit varies in sweetness depending on the variety so add a little more sugar to suit your liking. If adding more sugar, contiune to stir until the sugar has dissolved then remove from the heat and allow to cool then store in the fridge until needed.

To prepare the Overnight Oats

1. Combine the oats, almond milk, coconut milk and vanilla powder in a bowl or container with a lid. Stir to combine the mixture, it may look runny but don’t worry the oats will soak up the liquid overnight to become creamy and plump. Place the container in the fridge to store overnight.

To assemble

1. Come breakfast time you can portion out the oats and stir through your choice of sweetner to taste. This is optional, if you do then I recommend starting with 1 tsp of maple syrup or honey, add more to suit your preference or leave it out completely and allow your toppings to do the work.
2. If the consisteny is too thick for your liking you can always let it down with a little extra almond milk. This is my preference over adding too much liquid in the first soak.
3. Top with rhubarb compote and scatter over the almond crunch. 
4. Serve with additional yogurt or extra milk.

Seasonal flavour ideas for Spring & Summer 

Strawberry & Balsamic – cook down to a compote in the same way as the rhubarb, then add a splash of balsamic vinegar to
bring out the floral sweetness of the strawberries.
Apricot with Rosemary – halve and pit the apricots then cover each half with a tsp sugar, bake until they turn jammy. When making the granola add 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary to the dry ingredients. 
Peachy Pomegranate – Fresh, perfectly ripe peaches that are luciously juicy need very little attention, just ensure they are a little warm (i.e. not straight from the fridge, at least at room temp and if all the stars are aligned, warmed by the sun on a windowsill), chop the flesh and retain all the juicy bits, scatter over the oats with the pomegranate arils. Substitute the almonds for pecans. 

If you’re still eating overnight oats in the autumn and winter months, (Whats wrong with you? Time to get back on hot porridge) but these variations work equally well on hot or cold oats. –

Fig & Salted Honey – grill the figs and serve them warm, drizzled with honey and a good pinch of flaky sea salt, substitute the almonds with hazelnuts for the crunch topping. 
Pear & Cardamom – roast the pears and add a 1/4 tsp ground cardamom to your oats at the soaking stage.
Apple & Walnut – core, dice and cook down any eating apple with a splash of water and a small handful of raisins, allow the apple to break down completely and the raisins to plump up. Substitute the almonds with walnuts and replace the vanilla in the almond crunch with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

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