What Are Rolled Oats?
The common oat (Avena sativa), is a type of ancient cereal grain, most often consumed as rolled oats or oatmeal. Oats are related to a wild ancestor crop that developed from the Fertile Crescent in modern day Turkey, Iraq and the Middle East. Oats grow very well in wet and cool weather, such as in Europe and North America. Recently, global oat production was around 25 million tonnes hailing from Canada.
In the West, a popular way to consume oats is in their form as rolled oats. Rolled oats are simply processed oat groats, which have undergone dehusking. Then they are later steamed before being mechanically rolled in flat flakes. Finally, the rolled oats are toasted and ready to be sold to consumers.
Rolled oats can be thick-rolled, thin-rolled, quick-cook oats or instant oats. Rolled oats are sometimes called old-fashioned oats, Scottish oats or just porridge oats. The more processed each variety of rolled oat is, the more absorbent they are and the quicker they’ll cook. Once you’ve found your favourite way to cook with rolled oats, you can enjoy their healthy nutrients too.
Nutrient Content of Rolled Oats
In 100g of oats, you get:
- 68% carbohydrates (1,630 kJ of energy)
- 20% daily value of protein
- 34% daily value of dietary fibre
- 44% of vitamin B1 and B5
- Over 200% daily value of manganese
Rolled Oats Are High in Fibre
The soluble fibre content is likely rolled oat’s claim to nutritional fame. Specifically, oats are high in β-Glucan (Beta-Glucan). β-Glucan is a type of polysaccharide that’s uniquely found in oats and barley. This compound has cholesterol-lowering actions in the body, supported by plenty of research. As little as 3g of soluble fibre per day from rolled oats is considered to be beneficial to cardiovascular health, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
There’s also many other health benefits of consuming rolled oats. These include regulating blood glucose, and high blood pressure. Consuming oats can also improve bowel health, digestion and enhance the microbiome. Did you know: Recent research has shown that oats, which are high in antioxidants, tocotrienols and carotenoids are protective against skin damage?
5 Ways To Use Rolled Oats
If porridge isn’t your thing (but also if it is) there’s still plenty to love about rolled oats. They can be used in smoothies for extra fibre, cakes, muffins and baked goods too. You can even make your own soothing facial scrub using rolled oats and honey. Here’s 5 doable recipes that shake up common old rolled oats and give them a much needed revamp in your kitchen.
Classic Creamy Porridge
It doesn’t get more comforting than this. A bowl of warm, creamy and nourishing porridge. The most traditional and creamy method I’ve found uses dairy milk. However, hemp milk or almond milk is a lovely, smooth plant-based milk alternative. This recipe yields a nice serving for one. Cook and eat it now or reheat in the microwave for later. Here’s how to make it:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2 ½ cups of your favourite milk
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 good squeeze of organic raw honey
- On the stovetop, bring rolled oats and milk to a gentle simmer, stirring often, for about 5 mins
- Once the oats have released their starch and are soft to the bite, you’re done
- Add more milk if you feel it needs a creamier consistency
- Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and park yourself in a cushy spot on the couch. Enjoy
Easy Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are for when you want to eat porridge, but it’s either the middle of summer, or you’ve decided it’s too laborious to make it. This recipe is akin to a traditional bircher muesli, but instead of soaking the oats in fruit juice, you use milk. Soaking oats overnight (or for a couple of hours) improves their digestibility, and with next to no effort. The result is a creamy, yet somehow not dense mixture, that pairs beautifully with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. And what’s better than opening the fridge to see breakfast already done for you? Here’s how you do it:
- 50g rolled oats
- 100ml milk of choice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 50g mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- Drizzle of honey
- ½ tbsp almond butter
- The night before serving, combine the cinnamon, rolled oats and milk together in a bowl or glass jar
- Stir in frozen berries. They will defrost in the fridge slightly and help provide a jammy consistency
- The next day, if using fresh berries, add them now.
- Give everything a stir and top with yoghurt, honey and nut butter
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Anyone who samples these beauties is both shocked and delighted at how simple and morish they are. These peanut butter oatmeal cookies work best with full fat, natural peanut butter. You can play with the sugar content and see what you like. More sugar gives a chewier texture, as does a combination of honey and raw sugar. You can also omit the egg for more of a shortbread style biscuit. When you want a cookie, but don’t have flour or butter… or eggs, this really hits the spot, and it’s pretty healthy too.
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- ¼ cup honey or raw sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a tray with baking paper
- In a medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter and honey
- Add in oats, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and mix well
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg and add to the mixture
- Get your hands in to give it a final mix, the cookie dough will be quite thick
- Shape golf ball size pieces with your hands and place on the baking tray, evenly spaced
- Press each cookie with a fork to flatten slightly
- Bake for 7-10 minutes, they’ll set even more once they’re removed from the oven
Homemade Oat Milk
It seems like it’s possible to make milk out of anything these days. Much like making your own nut milk, homemade oat milk isn’t too difficult. It’s also cheaper than buying the stuff in cartons, and you can be in complete control of what goes into it. Oat milk is simply oats, soaked in filtered water and either strained or blended, depending on your preferred consistency. My suggestion is to include the rolled oats. This is because there’s less food waste, it’s creamier and you retain all the nutritional benefits within your oat milk. Optional to add sweeteners or flavours such as vanilla extract. The choice is yours. Here’s how it goes:
- 100g rolled oats
- Place rolled oats in a bowl and cover with tap water until the oats are fully submerged. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 4 hours, or overnight somewhere out of direct heat and light
- After the soaking time is up, sieve the mixture and discard the water. Rinse the oats under a tap
- Place the soaked oats into a blender, liquidiser or food processor and cover with 750ml of cold filtered water and ½ tsp sea salt
- Blend for up to 4 mins until completely smooth
- Line a fresh sieve with a clean piece of muslin cloth, fine mesh cloth or mesh coffee filter. You can also use a nut milk bag
- Place the cloth-lined sieve over a large bowl or jug and pour the oat milk into it. Leave it to strain for 1 hour. You can speed up the straining process by agitating the bottom of the sieve to disperse the sediment
- When almost all the oat milk is in the jug, grab the sides of the muslin and squeeze together tightly to allow the remainder of the milk. Discard the oat pulp, or make it into a face scrub
- If the oat milk is too thick, at this point you can add a dash of cold filtered water to thin it out. This milk will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Give it a shake before each use.
Banana & Oat Pancakes
Rolled oats and a banana. 2 ingredients and you have a sweet treat ready in minutes. And guess what, it’s dairy free and vegan. This recipe almost defies logic, it’s that simple. Of course you can add an egg and a dash of milk for more of a traditional pancake batter. But honestly, you don’t need it. It’s more of a hotcake consistency than it is a pancake or crêpe, but equally as yummy. Get the pan hot and cook them in grass fed butter (sorry, no longer vegan!) and you’re good to go.
- 1 large ripe banana
- ½-1 cup rolled oats
- In a bowl, mash both the banana and rolled oats with a fork, then whisk briskly to combine. If the mix looks too wet, add some more oats. If it looks dry, a dash of milk should fix it.
- Heat and melt butter in a medium sized pan. Drop spoonfuls of the batter in, about palm size
- Flip each pancake after 2 mins and cook for a further minute.
- Drizzle with maple syrup, coconut yoghurt and fresh passionfruit for a tropical breakfast treat.
Joyce, S. A., Kamil, A., Fleige, L., & Gahan, C. (2019). The Cholesterol-Lowering Effect of Oats and Oat Beta Glucan: Modes of Action and Potential Role of Bile Acids and the Microbiome. Frontiers in nutrition, 6, 171. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00171
Raguindin, P. F., Adam Itodo, O., Stoyanov, J., Dejanovic, G. M., Gamba, M., Asllanaj, E., Minder, B., Bussler, W., Metzger, B., Muka, T., Glisic, M., & Kern, H. (2021). A systematic review of phytochemicals in oat and buckwheat. Food chemistry, 338, 127982. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.127982
Song, S., Lee, Y. M., Lee, Y. Y., & Yeum, K. J. (2021). Oat (Avena sativa) Extract against Oxidative Stress-Induced Apoptosis in Human Keratinocytes. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(18), 5564. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26185564
Tosh, S. M., & Bordenave, N. (2020). Emerging science on benefits of whole grain oat and barley and their soluble dietary fibers for heart health, glycemic response, and gut microbiota. Nutrition reviews, 78(Suppl 1), 13–20. https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuz085
Whitehead, A., Beck, E. J., Tosh, S., & Wolever, T. M. (2014). Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 100(6), 1413–1421. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.086108
Wikipedia Contributors. (2022, May 23). Oat. Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oat, viewed May 23, 2022
Wikipedia Contributors. (2022, May 23). Oat milk. Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oat_milk, viewed May 23, 2022
Wikipedia Contributors. (2022, May 23). Rolled oats. Retrieved from Wikipedia website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolled_oats, viewed May 23, 2022