Adding a soak time when preparing grains improves both their digestibility and enhances their nutritional value. Grains, along with the majority of your plant based store cupboard ingredients, are lying dormant in their seed form patiently waiting for the perfect conditions that will allow them to grow into new plants. This means that the majority of their valuable vitamins and minerals are hidden away in well-protected plant cells and are not readily absorbed by the body. Soaking convinces the grain that they are in a suitable condition to begin the growing process and their nutrients become more bio-available.
Adam, the other half of fox & bean, loves bircher while I'm more of a porridge gal so I usually make a large batch of soaked oats at the beginning of the week and this gives us both plenty of breakfast options, four of which I've share below. I add dried fruit for sweetness and a mixture of spices for additional flavour, all of which is optional.
The ideal soak time for oats is 24 hours but 12 will do if that's all you have. Acid also contributes to the benefits of soaking so if you like lemon or orange flavoured oats add 1 TBSP of juice to the mix.
The Basic Recipe
2 cups of rolled or steel cut oats (you can also do a half and half mix of both)
1/2 cup of sultanas
1/2 cup of chopped dates
2 tsps of cinnamon
1 tsp of vanilla
pinch of salt
2 cups of water
Place all ingredients in a large to medium sized container and mix well. Make sure there's enough water to fully submerge the oats, add more if necessary. Place in the fridge, allow to soak for 12-24hrs and keep for up to one week.
Ways with Soaked Oats
1. blueberry and lemon bircher
1/2 cup soaked oats
1 tsp of lemon zest
1/4 cup of frozen blueberries completely thawed
1 TBSP maple syrup (optional)
1. In a bowl stir the lemon zest into the oats
2. Gently mash the defrosted blueberries with a fork to release some of their juice and add the maple syrup
3. Top the oats with the blueberries and enjoy!
1/2 cup soaked oats
1 cup non-dairy milk
1. Add the oats and non-dairy milk to a pot over medium to low heat.
2. Stir until the oats start to bubble and remove from the heat when you achieve the desired consistency (approx. 5 mins).
3. Serve with you favourite toppings . . . I suggest light (hulled) tahini, coconut yoghurt and plenty of fresh fruit.
3. cacao and oat smoothie bowl
1/3 cup soaked oats
1/3 cup ice (crushed if possible)
1 TBSP of cacao
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp hemp seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 large frozen bananas (very slightly defrosted and cut into pieces)
1. Add all the ingredients, except the banana, into the blender and blend until just mixed.
2. Add the banana, 1 half at a time, and blend until smooth but still thick like soft ice cream (avoid over blending to prevent the mixture turning into a smoothie).
3. Serve with your favourite toppings . . . I love adding frozen berries that have been defrosted, cacao nibs or granola for crunch and coconut yoghurt or nut butters for creaminess.
4. apple baked porridge muffins
1 batch of soaked oats
2 apples chopped
1 muffin tray
grease proof paper cut into 6 muffin sized squares
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Place a square of grease proof paper into each of the muffin cavities, stir the chopped apple into your batch of soaked oats and evenly divide the mixture into the muffin tray.
3. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm with non dairy milk or coconut yoghurt.