8 Simple Rules to your Oat to Joy!

Bam! Double whammy. See what I did there?

Well in case you didn't, that was my reference to the early millennial TV show, 8 Simple Rules ...for dating my teenage daughter (which you should totally watch for a good laugh) and Ode to Joy- the ode by German Poet, Friedrich Schiller, that you learned how to play on the piano when you were 5.

Anyway! As promised quite a while ago...here are 8 ways to transform this mundane grain into deliciously healthy meals or snacks!

1. PB & Honey Oat Balls

We'll start with my absolute, favorite version of oats- these oat balls are a great way to sike your eyes and body into thinking you're having dessert, when in reality, you're mixing some spice with organic whole grains and a delicious, raw sweetener we know as honey (assuming it's raw, which it should be!)
For these you'll need:

- A cup of organic, instant oats
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 1-1.5 tbsp of plain, organic yogurt ( I use regular, whole milk-based yogurt, as the milk from which is made is less processed than low-fat/fat-free)
- 2 tbsp organic peanut butter
- a splash of almond milk
- cinnamon and sea salt to taste

Now the fun part, where you can feel like a kid again...add the honey, yogurt, peanut butter, almond milk, and spices into your bowl of oats and get your hands messy! Combine well and separate into table-tennis or golf ball sized balls (whatever you prefer) and stick them in the oven (around 325 F) for 10-15 minutes. They are DELICIOUS and my favorite out of the 3 oat balls variation, because yogurt really gives it some great moisture and binds everything together really well.  As you can tell from the picture, I sliced some apples, toasted some walnuts, and slivered some cherries to accompany the snack!

This is the procedure for recipes 2 & 3, so you'll just see the ingredients for those!

2. Fig & Walnut Oat Balls (V)
To all the vegans out there, this one's for you! For this variation, you'll need:

- A cup of organic, instant oats
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 4-5 organic figs, chopped
- a handful of walnuts, chopped
- a splash of coconut milk
- sea salt and cinnamon to taste

In retrospect, I could have added applesauce for some extra moisture. I'll try that next time.

3. Tomato & Pesto Oat Balls
Like your oats savory? So do I when I get tired of the sweet ones!

- A cup of organic, instant oats
- 2 tablespoons, organic pesto
- 1 organic vine tomato, diced
- sprinkle of organic, parmesan cheese
- sea salt, oregano, and red chili flakes to taste

4. Lemon, Cayenne, & Coconut Oat Macaroons (V)
So this actually pretty similar to the oat ball- I just turned this into a macaroon by flattening it out a tad!

- 3/4-1 cup, organic instant oats
- 2-3 tbsp, organic lemon juice
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 1-2 tsp coconut oil
- sprinkle of shredded coconut for the mixture and some for the garnish
- cayenne pepper & sea salt to taste

Time to get messy again so that everything is mixed super thoroughly, because you'll WANT to make sure the flavor is consistent throughout since there's a little more going on. Break off pieces, roll them into small balls, and flatten them out slightly so they're dome-like. Bake at 325F for 10 minutes, and then you're done!

5. Berry Oaty Pancakes (V)
Now we're getting just a tad fancier - but still quick on the time aspect! You'll need:
- 2 cups, organic instant oats
- 1 cup fresh blueberries & raspberries
- 1/2-3/4 cup coconut milk (or almond or a combo!)
- cinnamon and sea salt to taste

Combine the oats and milk together first, until a batter like consistency is achieved. Next, mix in the berries and spices. Take a teensy bit of organic butter and place on a pan, set the heat to medium, and pour the batter on! You can use raw honey or organic maple syrup on top, and there you have it! Super yummy, without the wheat.

6. Oat Pizette Crostinis
- 2 cups, organic instant oats
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- splash of unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp sea salt
- black pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- sprinkle of chopped onion & orange and yellow bell peppers
- parmesan cheese to top it off

To make your “dough,” drizzle your EVOO onto your oats and mix. Add in a good splash of unsweetened almond milk, since the oats will still be dry and separated. Combine until you achieve a dough-like consistency. Mix in your garlic and sprinkle in your salt and spices. Separate into chunks: here you can either roll them out real quick with a rolling pin, or just flatten them out. Just like a pizza, sprinkle your onion and bell pepper pieces and parmesan cheese. Place your crostinis on a baking sheet. Stick them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until you here that sizzle. #pizzapronto

7. Masala Oat Fry (V)
Obviously my Indian Roots are always going to be an active part of who I am and how I cook. This is a great substitute for restaurant fried rice dishes with some zing. Get together some:

- Oats of course! Steel-Cut (You'll have to boil these this time)
- 1 vine tomato chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4-1/2 onion, diced
- 2 tsp Garam Masala or Chaat Masala
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- oregano and red pepper to taste

Don't be fooled by boiling aspect- this doesn't really add much time to the prep, since you can be chopping your tomato, garlic, and onion, while you boil your oats. I guesstimate how much water to put on the stove, and add in the oats as the water starts to boil. You can also saute your chopped veggies in olive oil while the oats cook up thoroughly and become full and fluffy. Then you're just going to strain the oats and toss them onto the pan of your saute and mix in masala, salt, and spices. And there you have it...another flavor-packed oat meal...#oatmeal #GetIt?

8. Paneer Oat Pizza
Last but not least...a legitimate pizza sized oat pizza. With paneer (aka a delectable version of Indian Cottage Cheese). It really can't get any better than this. Now this was prepared with Paneer that my friend had already made, but it's quite simple to prepare if you're okay spending a teensy more time.

This will require:
- 2 cups of instant oats for your crust (I used leftover boiled, steel cut, but this will be better)
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- a splash of water
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
- black pepper, oregano, and red pepper to taste (garam/chaat masala optional!)
- premade Paneer ...otherwise:
- 1 cube Nanak's Fresh Paneer, cut into squares
- 1/2-2/3 cup Organic Tomato Puree (enough to cover the Paneer)
- 3-4 tbsp Pathak's Paneer Tandoori Paste
- 1 dollop of Greek Yogurt if you like your Paneer Creamy/Mild

I did say that I used leftover steel cut oats, which did work out (mostly), after it baked- but for a real pizza like crust, you really should use instant oats. Drizzle the EVOO, salt, and spices onto your oats and add enough water until you get a dough-like consistency. Roll it out or flatten it out onto a circular pan. Next, if you're preparing Paneer from scratch, mix the tandoori paste, yogurt, and tomato puree together to make your pizza sauce, and soak your paneer cubes in this mixture for about an hour- this will give you a break from the kitchen! After an hour, spread the Paneer marinade onto your crust and bake, sprinkle on the garlic (and any other chopped veggie you might want to add), and bake in the oven at 350 F for about 15-20 minutes, depending on how soft/crispy you like your pizza. Bon Appetit!

Try them out and share which one you thought was best!  Made your own variation? Share your recipe on Instagram, tag @chefpseriment and hashtag #oattojoy!


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