Beyond Oatmeal: 5 Easy Recipes Using Oats

Sweet and savory takes on a heart-healthy pantry staple to get you out of your oatmeal rut.
April 30, 2020 Leave your thoughts 7 min read

Has anyone else been cooking a lot? I sure have.

Maybe you have extra time on your hands, or maybe you’re looking for a new and cheap recipe to try. Enter the humble and mighty oat. The buzz around oat milk is everywhere (spoiler, the hype is real), and oats have a slew of benefits– it’s a water wise crop, hearty and accessible.

But you don’t have to stop at oatmeal. The recipes here are loaded with easy-to-find pantry staples. If you’re missing an ingredient, that’s ok– make swaps with flavors you love.

Lemon-Coconut Bars

A baking project for your weekend. Tangy and sweet, these lemon bars don’t use a hint of flour. Double the crust recipe if you like a crumble on top.

Servings: 9-16 bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Oat Crust


  • 1 ½ cup oat flour (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 4 tbsp of water

Lemon Filling


  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 11-oz can of sweetened condensed coconut milk, or 1 11- or 13-oz of coconut cream
  • ½ cup sugar, if using unsweetened coconut cream
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp cornstarch, divided
  • ½ tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • Pinch of turmeric, for color (optional)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, sugar and salt. Stir in melted coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly.

2. Slowly add in cold water. Press into a square pan firmly and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are browned.

3. In the meantime, grab a saucepan. Combine lemon juice, zest, condensed coconut milk or coconut cream, sugar (if needed), cornstarch, ginger and a pinch of turmeric. Mix well to dissolve the cornstarch, then heat on medium. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thickened and glossy.

4. Spread the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely, preferably overnight. You can also wait until room temperature and transfer to the freezer for 30 minutes for a cleaner cut.

5. Dust with powdered sugar (if desired) and enjoy.

Oat Meat Street Tacos

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out! One of the healthiest grains, oats are something we should be eating more of. Add a legume and you’ve got yourself a complete protein. Aside from being nutritious, oats are neutral in taste and a great binder. This recipe cooks up a cheap and versatile ground meat substitute that you can use in a variety of recipes. Besides– aren’t you tired of eating oatmeal?

Servings: 6 cups

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins


  • 1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup steel cut or old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp neutral-tasting oil (optional)
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp water or stock
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, tamari, liquid aminos or browning liquid (Kitchen Bouquet)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp steak seasoning
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning (or double cumin, garlic and onion powder), or to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Corn (gluten-free) or flour tortillas


  • Red or white onion, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Salsa of choice


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Transfer drained and rinsed black beans onto a parchment paper-lined sheet tray and bake for 20 minutes until dried. Set aside to cool.

2. While the beans are roasting, toast oats with oil (can be omitted if you have a nonstick skillet). Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until oats begin to take on some color and become nutty and fragrant. Set aside.

3. Transfer the cooled beans to a food processor or blender and pulse 1-2 times until just coarsely ground. Add the toasted oats and pulse once, until just combined. Set aside.

4. In a pan, cook mushrooms, onion and a generous pinch of salt on medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Lower the heat to medium low.

5. Add liquid smoke or smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and taco seasoning to the pan. Transfer to an airtight container and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes, or overnight.

6. When ready to serve, form into a patty and sear on both sides in a hot oiled pan. Once both sides are seared, break the “meat” apart until it resembles ground meat. Season to taste. Serve hot on corn or flour tortillas with chopped onion, cilantro and salsa of choice.

Toasted Oat Horchata

Usually prepared with rice, this drink is a mix between horchata and homemade oat milk. Toasting your oats yields a delicious, nutty flavor and cooking on the stovetop makes it a snap for them to soak. I recommend making a double batch–– bet you can’t have just one glass!

Servings: 1-2

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • ¾ cup of oats
  • 1 tbsp neutral-tasting oil
  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 3 sticks of cinnamon, broken into small pieces (or 1½  tsp ground cinnamon)
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or cocoa!)
  • Sugar, maple syrup or agave nectar, to taste
  • A shot of your favorite brandy or rum, if desired


1. In a small skillet, warm oil on medium heat. Add oats and toast for 5-7 minutes, moving constantly until fragrant and nutty.

2. In a large bowl, add the toasted oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract. Cover with warm water and allow to sit for 30 minutes.

3. Blend the mixture together thoroughly and strain. Sweeten as needed. Top with cinnamon and add a shot of spirits, if desired.

Simple Chewy Granola

Oats come in a lot of varieties. I like old-fashioned oats that keep their shape, but quick oats work too– use what you have! Feel free to dress up with any fruits, nuts and seeds you have handy. You can also plump up dried fruit for jammy bites, or soak in your favorite spirits for complex flavor. As much as you may be tempted to gobble this up straight out of the oven, let your granola cool completely for ultra-chewy clusters that hold up as bars or in your favorite plant-based milk.

Servings: 6 cups

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes


  • ⅔ cup of raisins or dried cranberries (or both!)
  • Warm water, to cover
  • A capful of your favorite brandy or rum (optional)
  • ⅔ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, or 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp nut or seed butter
  • ¼ cup flax meal + 1 tbsp water, mixed into a paste
  • 1 tsp vanilla or cacao extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups of oats (quick or old-fashioned)
  • 1 cup nuts or seeds
  • 2 tbsp flour (I used coconut flour)
  • Pinch of salt


1. In a medium bowl, add your dried fruit of choice and cover with warm water. Add a capful of your favorite brandy or rum, and set aside to soak for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat your oven to 325F. In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, oil, flax meal mixture, vanilla or cacao extract, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. Set aside.

3. Drain fruit (they should be plump).

4. In the same bowl, fold in oats, your favorite nuts or seeds and a pinch of salt until everything is evenly coated. Gently fold in the soaked fruit.

5. Firmly press the granola mix evenly into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper from corner to corner. Bake for 20-25 minutes on the bottom rack, or until golden brown.

6. Remove promptly from the oven.

7. Once the granola has cooled, gently break apart into clusters and store in a jar in the fridge for best crispness. If desired, the granola can be cut into bars. Eat alone or with plant-based milk for a yummy snack.


Flour-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough

Egg-free, dairy-free and flour-free, this indulgent cookie dough is safe to eat right out of the food processor. Add in peanut butter, shaved panela or smashed crystallized ginger to take the flavor to the next level.

Servings: 2 cups

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Chill Time: 60 minutes


  • ⅓ cup raisins, soaked
  • 1 ½ cups of oat flour (homemade or store-bought)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp light brown sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup sugar or other sweetener
  • 3 tbsp coconut or oat milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • ½ tsp salt


1. In a bowl, soak raisins in warm water (or chai, coffee, spirits). Use enough to cover. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.

2. If making oat flour, blitz a heaping 2 cups of oats in a blender or food processor. Measure out 1½ cups of oat flour and set aside.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Add the oat flour, then pulse until combined.

4. Transfer to an airtight container and fold in the soaked raisins. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the oats to absorb liquid and the dough to firm up.

What's Next?

Looking for more pantry-stocking tips? Read this blog for tips!

About the Author

Zakiyaa Taylor is OMD’s North Carolina Field Organizer. She works with communities on the ground in North Carolina to change hearts and minds around plant-based eating by supporting school districts, community members and restaurant owners to co-create lasting change.

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