Hi everyone – while I am traveling overseas for my day job, I have some guest posters stopping by to introduce themselves. Next up is Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen with an great idea for a breakfast bar using soaked oats and seeds. I really think my family is going to love these!
I don’t know about your family, but mine rarely has time to sit down for breakfast on weekday mornings. My kids like to sleep as late as they possibly can before heading out the door to catch the school bus, so I like having grab-and-go foods such as these soaked oatmeal bars at the ready.
Besides being great for breakfast, these oatmeal bars are also a nice alternative to cookies and other snacks/desserts. They are extremely versatile: I’m not a big fan of dried fruit, but I think raisins, chopped apricots, or dates would be a tasty addition. You may also swap out the seeds I used for different ones, or use chopped nuts instead. And feel free to add a little ground cinnamon and/or pure vanilla extract.
Though soaking the oats and seeds does require a bit of planning, it’s an important step. Soaking deactivates the phytic acid that may make these foods difficult to digest. Soaking also makes the nutrients they contain more accessible to the body. For more information on soaking grains and other foods, please read this informative post by Jenny of Nourished Kitchen.
Be sure to line your pan with parchment paper so removal of the bars is a cinch; this recipe makes about 16 square-shaped oatmeal bars.
Soaked Oatmeal Bars
- 3 cups organic rolled oats (where to buy)
- filtered water (where to buy a water filter)
- 2 tablespoons organic, plain yogurt (or raw apple cider vinegar, whey, fresh lemon juice, or kefir)
- 1/2 cup organic, hulled, raw sunflower seeds (where to buy)
- 1/2 cup organic, raw sesame seeds (where to buy)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, preferably from pastured cows, melted (where to buy)
- 1/2 cup raw honey (where to buy) or pure maple syrup (where to buy)
- 4 tablespoons organic coconut sugar (optional- omit for a less sweet bar) (where to buy)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (where to buy)
Place oats in a large bowl and cover with water plus 2 tablespoon of plain yogurt (or one of the other acidic ingredients). Mix well (this helps to deactivate the phytic acid in the oats, making them more digestible and freeing up their nutrients). In a separate small bowl, cover the seeds with the filtered water. Allow both the oats and the seeds to rest, covered, overnight.
The next day, heat your oven to 300° F. Drain the oats and the seeds in a fine mesh strainer. (With a wooden spoon, press as much liquid as you can out of the oats.) Combine the oats and seeds with the melted butter, honey or maple syrup, optional coconut sugar, and sea salt and mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
Line an 8×8 baking pan with unbleached parchment paper (it’s fine if the piece of parchment paper is oversized). Pour in the “batter” and bake until the bars have browned a bit on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Depending on how much moisture was left in your oats after soaking and draining, these may take 2 hours or even a little more to bake. It took about 2 1/4 hours for me. I recommend checking on the bars every 1/2 hour or so while they are in the oven because yours may take less time, especially if you drain out more of the liquid.
Allow to cool slightly, then lift the parchment liner out of the baking pan. Slice into squares.
These should keep for at least a few days at room temperature or refrigerate or freeze them for longer storage. Enjoy with a hard-boiled egg or two for a healthy, quick breakfast or snack. Or try them drizzled with a little extra honey, or topped with organic peanut butter (or another nut or seed butter) and some jam. I think they are lovely with a cup of tea.
Winnie Abramson is a food writer, recipe developer, and photographer with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine. Her first book, One Simple Change, will be published by Chronicle Books in December, 2013. She lives in upstate New York with her family and blogs at Healthy Green Kitchen.