I’ve been trying SO hard to be healthy recently. I’m trying to cut down on the booze, eating healthily and I’m still running three times a week – I’ve completed the NHS Couch to 5k app now, but I now just replay one of the later weeks (anything from around week 6 really) every time I run. I find it much more motivating to be told how I’m doing and I genuinely just like having Jo Whiley in my ear. I whack on a bit of The Greatest showman, pop my headphones in and plod along for half an hour or so. I’m not the fastest runner, and I don’t really enjoy it that much, but I like the feeling of achievement when Jo finally says ‘and that’s it, you’ve done it!’ and I know it’s keeping me healthy. I tend to run before breakfast, so I like to make something healthy to come back to, and these vanilla, coconut and cashew overnight oats with frozen berries are my current favourite.
I’ll be honest, I don’t tend to leave them overnight – I make them up when I first get up, while I’m pottering around making tea and feeding the dog, then by the time I’ve gone out for my run, then come back, and taken the dog out (I can’t run with her – she’s an idiot), I find the texture is just right. I think I’ve said before that if you’re not a fan of the texture of porridge (I know some people find it a bit gloopy), then overnight oats might just win you over. These soft, sweet oats are so delicious and quick, and you can easily make them up the night before (the clue’s in the title) to take with you to work or just to scoff as soon as you get up. They’re a great way to ensure that you always have a healthy breakfast.
A little word about ingredients: I genuinely think that full fat yogurt is better for you and more satisfying – I’m all about the good fats and I think they tend to have less sugar in as a rule too. I read a great article recently about changing the balance as you get older, to reduce the wheat you eat, but increase the good fats. Current faves are Yeo Valley rhubarb or mango and vanilla. I use normal semi skimmed milk, or I’m a bit obsessed with Innocent’s hazelnut milk (read more about it here) at the moment. With the coconut, you can just use desiccated coconut, but keep an eye out for coconut flakes or – even better – chipped coconut. Brands like Urban Fruit do them and they’re a bit more substantial and the usual desiccated coconut, plus they don’t disappear into the oats. Finally, I love vanilla bean paste, but vanilla extract will do just fine too. You might need a little honey just for sweetness, but hold off until all the flavours have developed. I often find it’s fine as it is.
Vanilla, coconut and cashew overnight oats with frozen berries
40g porridge oats
1 tbsp chipped (or desiccated) coconut
Around 300ml milk (or non dairy alternative)
2 tbsp yoghurt (any flavour, but full fat is more satisfying)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Handful frozen berries
1 tbsp cashew nuts
I’m embarrassed to even call this a recipe really, but just cover the oats with the liquid (you might find you like less or more, depending on the finished texture), stir in the yogurt and vanilla, then add the frozen berries, nuts, and whatever else you fancy: a teaspoon of nut butter, grated carrot or apple, orange zest, chia seeds (or other seeds)… whatever you fancy really.
Then just leave in the fridge overnight (or for a couple of hours) for the oats to soak up the liquid, the berries to gently defrost and for the flavours to mingle.
One tip, though, if you’re going to add banana, wait until the morning – they go a bit slimy overnight. My fave is adding dried cranberries as they plump overnight and taste delicious. They’re also very pretty (but I appreciate that’s secondary to the yum factor for most people).
So easy! Are you an overnight oat fan? If so, what do you put in yours?