15 Jan Chai Overnight Oats with Blood Orange & Hazelnuts
Oh hey, look at me! A healthy recipe! In order to redeem myself after last week’s (oh-so-delicious) Resolution Cookies, I thought I’d share something a little lighter. It is January after all, and I’d be lying if I said I weren’t feeling a little erm, fluffy, after the all-out butterfest that was December. (#noregrets)
I’ve been hearing about the amazing-ness of overnight oats for ages, but until now, I haven’t been able to convince myself to try them. The irresistibly warm, cozy feeling that comes with curling up with a fat, hot bowl of oats has not been a morning comfort that I’ve been willing to abandon. It took the realization that if I wanted oatmeal on weekday mornings, I was going to either have to a) drag myself out of bed 30 minutes earlier (nope), b) subsist on sub-par instant oatmeal packets (not terrible, but I’ve spoiled myself with the more healthful and flavorful steel cut variety) or c) finally see (taste?) what this whole overnight oats thing is all about.
Over the last few years, steel cut oats have become my go-to variety. I first tried them after reading that they’re slightly healthier than rolled due to the fact that they sit lower on the glycemic index. While I’ve since read conflicting arguments on the fact (the difference may actually be negligible), the toothsome, hearty texture of steel cut oats has earned them a permanent home in my pantry as one of my favorite cold-weather breakfasts.
When cooked, they’re my perfect simple, slow Sunday morning meal, as take they quite a bit longer than rolled to cook on the stovetop — up to 30 minutes — but when topped with chopped nuts and drizzle of maple syrup or honey, yummmmm, they’re seriously worth the wait.
For this reason (and because I’m well-stocked), I decided to use steel cut oats in this overnight recipe. Since the oats aren’t exposed to heat they don’t soften up nearly as much as they would if cooked, thus maintaining a very chewy, hearty texture that I happen to love, but if you’re looking for something a little more similar to cooked oatmeal, I’d recommend substituting rolled (also called old-fashioned) oats.
Here, I flavored the oats with a blend of chai concentrate and almond milk — two items that pair beautifully no matter how prepared — and then added in a few of my favorite embellishments to up the yum factor. Blood oranges add a pop of beautiful rose color to what is otherwise a fairly homely looking dish, as well as a refreshing dose of acidity and brightness that brings balance to the deep, earthy spices of the chai. Dried cherries and roasted hazelnuts are peppered throughout, adding texture and flavor to every bite.
And you know what? I really, really, really like cold oats. Who knew?! Maybe it’s the convenience that appeals to me — I just grab the jar from the fridge as I’m walking out the door and voila, I have a homemade alternative to my often mundane choice of morning yogurt — or perhaps it that I just can’t resist the charm of chewy little oats swimming in deliciously spicy chai (think Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal milk, but better). Whatever it is, I dig it.
A Few Notes About This Recipe:
I used Dona Chai concentrate in this recipe (from my Hatchery box — new obsession) but feel free to use any brand you can find. You can also make your own chai concentrate from scratch by following this recipe.
If using steel cut oats, I recommend letting them soak for at least 10-12 hours to let them soften up. For rolled oats, you can cut soaking time to 8 hours.
- 1 cup steel cut of rolled oats
- 1/4 cup chai concentrate
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
- citrus segments (I used blood oranges)
- dried cranberries or cherries
- roasted hazelnuts
- Combine the oats, chai concentrate, almond milk, honey and orange zest in a medium bowl. Stir, cover and refrigerate overnight. If using steel cut oats, I recommend letting sit for at least 10-12 hours as they take more time to soften.
- To serve, scoop into a bowl or jar and garnish with citrus segments, dried fruit and chopped hazelnuts.