Vegan baked oats are a game-changer for busy mornings! Dive into a family-friendly treat that's not only brain-boosting but also quick and easy to whip up. Our vegan baked oatmeal is perfect for busy mornings to ensure you get a nutritious and delicious easy breakfast.
Imagine starting your day with a chocolatey treat that's not only indulgent but also packed with wholesome ingredients. These vegan baked oatmeal squares are your answer! With the natural sweetness of apples, the richness of nut butter, and the decadence of dark chocolate, every bite is a delightful experience. And the best part? It's all made in one bowl, making your mornings fuss-free and delicious.
When my kids started public school, snack time became a bit of a challenge. Their curious eyes and taste buds were always on the lookout for what their friends were munching on. While some of their discoveries introduced me to fantastic new snack ideas, others were more in line with the typical junk food offerings. Now, I'm all about balance when it comes to food. But with snack time being a daily occurrence, I wanted to ensure they had healthier options that still piqued their interest.
This recipe was born out of a desire to strike a balance. A balance between what my kids see want, and what I, as a parent, feel good about giving them. I believe in fostering a healthy relationship with food. I never want my kids to feel like they're missing out. So, I'm always on the lookout for ways to meet their snack interests in a manner that leaves both of us smiling (check out some tips below!)
Whether you're prepping for a busy week ahead, looking for a school-safe snack, or simply want a treat that aligns with your health goals (like these easy baked rice tots), these baked chocolate chip oatmeal squares have got you covered.
👪Why Your Family Will Love This Recipe
Every family has its go-to recipes, and this one is bound to become a staple in your home. Here's why:
- Packed with Nutritional Goodness: Oats are a powerhouse of nutrients. They're rich in fiber, which aids digestion, and provide essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, they're known to keep you fuller for longer, ensuring your kids have the energy they need to tackle the day.
- No Refined Sugars: We're sweetening things up naturally! With ingredients like apple sauce and maple syrup, you can be assured that there are no hidden sugars or artificial sweeteners. It's all about wholesome goodness.
- Customizable to the Core: Whether it's swapping out the nut butter or adding in some of your kids' favorite fruits, this recipe is versatile. It's an open canvas, ready to adapt to your family's tastes.
- Perfect for Picky Eaters: I can't tell you how many times this vegan baked oats recipe has come to my rescue on those busy or lazy mornings. The addition of chocolate makes it an instant hit, and it's the perfect solution for those "I don't know what I want" moments. Whether it's breakfast on-the-go or an after-school snack, it's always a win with my boys.
🙋🏽♀️Meal Tips for Busy Parents and Picky Eaters
As a parent, it's natural to want the best for your children, especially when it comes to their nutrition and relationship with food. With the rise of various food trends and the influence of peers, it can be challenging to navigate snack time. Here's how our vegan baked oatmeal can be a game-changer and some tips to help you along the way:
- Consistent Exposure: Kids are more likely to accept new foods with repeated tries (1). Start with these oatmeal squares and then get playful with other ingredients.
- Bake Together: Research suggests kids are more open to foods they help prepare (1). Let them pick their mix-ins and watch them enjoy the results!
- Be the Role Model: Your eating habits influence theirs (2). Show them how much you love these squares, and they might just follow suit.
- Balance is Key: It's all about offering variety and teaching moderation (2). These squares strike the right balance between having a treat and nutrition.
- Chat About Food: Open communication can help understand their preferences and guide them towards healthier choices (1).
Remember, every snack time is a chance to bond and teach. And hey, if today's snack is a miss, there's always tomorrow. You've got this, mama! And if you want to read a bit more on how to deal with picky eaters be sure to check out this article on Tips and Meals for Picky Eaters!
P.S. Curious about the inspiration behind these squares? It's all about finding that sweet spot between what my kids see their friends munching on and what I feel good about serving. Balance, right? 😉
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
Hey busy parent, I totally get the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here are some time-saving tips to help you whip up these vegan baked oatmeal squares without breaking a sweat:
- Bulk Baking: Double or triple the recipe and freeze the extra squares. You'll have a ready-to-eat snack for weeks!
- One-Bowl Wonder: This recipe only requires one bowl, which means less cleanup. Plus, involving kids in the mixing can be a fun activity and a learning experience for them.
- Use Parchment Paper: Lining your loaf pan with parchment paper not only prevents sticking but also makes cleanup a breeze.
- Set a Timer: While the squares are baking, use that time to prep for another meal or catch up on other tasks.
Indulge in the delightful flavors of these vegan baked oatmeal squares, crafted with love and wholesome healthy ingredients:
- Quick Cooking Rolled Oats: The backbone of our squares. I always opt for quick-cooking oats for that perfect texture and ease of preparation.
- Nut Butter: Adds a creamy richness. I used peanut butter for this recipe but you can use almost any nut or seed butter in its place. I love how it binds everything together and offers a dose of healthy fats.
- Apple Sauce: My secret to natural sweetness and moisture without any added sugars.
- Oat Milk: A dairy-free touch that brings everything together. It's light and complements the oats beautifully.
- Maple Syrup: A hint of natural sweetness. I adore its earthy flavor and how it pairs with the chocolate.
- Dark Chocolate Chips: Because who can resist chocolate? It's my kids' favorite part, and I must admit, mine too! If you are dairy-free make sure to use vegan chocolate chips to ensure your baked oatmeal recipe is a real treat!
- Salt: Just a pinch if your nut butter is unsalted. It elevates all the flavors.
For full quantities, see the recipe card.
💡Recipe Tips & Tricks
Dive into the world of vegan baked oats with these handy tips to ensure your oatmeal squares are a hit every time:
- Quality Oats Matter: Always opt for quick-cooking rolled oats. They absorb moisture well and give the squares a delightful texture. If you use another type you may end up with a dry or mushy vegan baked oatmeal!
- Nut Butter Nuances: If you're using unsalted nut butter, don't forget that pinch of salt. It truly makes a difference in flavor.
- Chocolate Choices: Dark chocolate chips are my go-to for this recipe. They offer a rich taste without being overly sweet.
- Baking Time: Ovens can vary, so start checking your squares at the 20-minute mark. They should have a golden top and firm edges.
- Cooling is Crucial: Let the baked oatmeal squares cool completely before slicing. This ensures they hold their shape and don't crumble.
- Red Lentils?: If you're thinking of adding red lentils for a protein boost, ensure they're cooked until soft. They can be blended in a high-speed blender into the apple sauce for a seamless addition.
Step 1: Prep Your Baking Pan:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper or a baking liner. This ensures your oatmeal squares won't stick. Pro tip: Leave some parchment paper hanging over the edges for easy removal later.
Step 2: Mix Your Oats:
In a large bowl, combine all your dry ingredients. Start with the oats and salt, then add in the wet ingredients like apple sauce, oat milk, and maple syrup. Do not add in the chocolate.
Pro Tip: If your nut or seed butter is cold it may not mix well. You can slowly microwave it to bring it up to close to room temperature. This will make it easier to mix. Make sure not to overheat!
Step 3: Add Your Toppings:
Now, fold in the dark chocolate chips. You can also add in any other toppings you like here. We have had amazing success with adding frozen blueberries, cherries, and chopped Brazil nuts.
Step 4: Pour and Spread:
Pour your batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use your spatula to spread it evenly. Tap the pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
Step 5: Bake Your Vegan Oats:
Place your pan in a preheated oven at 350°F. Let it bake for 20-25 minutes. You're looking for a beautiful golden top and firm edges.
Pro tip: Every oven is different. Start checking at the 20-minute mark to avoid overbaking.
Step 6: Cool and Slice:
Once baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan. Patience is key! Once cooled, slice into big squares. Use a sharp knife for clean cuts.
Enjoy and Store: Relish these squares warm for the best experience. If you have leftovers, remember they'll stay fresh outside the fridge for 2 days or in the fridge for 4 days. For a morning treat, warm them up slightly before serving.
🥬Substitutions & Variations
We've all been there - you're all set to make a recipe, and then you realize you're missing an ingredient or two. But hey, in the world of cooking, it's all about improvisation. Remember, "we use what we have," and sometimes, that's when the magic happens! Here are some handy substitutions and variations to help you adapt this vegan baked oats recipe to your needs:
- Oats: If you don't have quick oats on hand, rolled oats can be a good substitute. They might give a slightly chewier texture. Steel-cut oats can also be used, but they'll need a longer cooking time and might require a bit more liquid. So if possible stick to the quick-cooking oats when making these vegan baked oats.
- Nut Butter: Almond butter can be a delightful alternative to other nut butters. It offers a slightly nuttier taste. If you're aiming for a school-safe version, sunflower seed butter is a great choice.
- Sweetness & Flavor: Missing maple syrup? A splash of vanilla extract can add a hint of sweetness and aroma. You can also consider adding a sprinkle of cocoa powder for a chocolaty twist.
- Milk: Any non-dairy milk can be used in place of oat milk. Think almond milk, soy milk, or even coconut milk. Each brings its unique flavor profile. If you opt for this substitution then make sure you reduce the other wet ingredients or add more oats.
- Overnight Oats Twist: Convert this into an overnight oats version by reducing the quantity of quick oats and adding more non-dairy milk. Let it soak overnight for a creamy, no-bake treat.
- Boost It Up: Want to up your nutrition? Add a scoop of protein powder or sprinkle some chia seeds into the mix. Both are great for an added protein kick.
- Fruity Delight: Fresh fruit like berries, banana slices, or even dried fruits can be mixed in or topped for a burst of natural sweetness and texture.
- Flavor Enhancements: A dash of cocoa powder can transform this into a chocolatey delight. Trust me; it's the best thing to satisfy those chocolate cravings!
🥡Storage & Reheating
Storing your vegan baked oats correctly ensures they remain fresh and delicious for every bite. Here's how to keep them at their best:
Room Temperature: Store your vegan baked oat squares in an airtight container at room temperature. They'll stay fresh and ready to eat for up to 2 days. Perfect for those grab-and-go moments!
Fridge: If you prefer them chilled or want to extend their freshness, pop them in the refrigerator. In an airtight container, they'll last for up to 4 days. The cool temperature also firms them up a bit, giving a slightly different texture that some love!
Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze these squares. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet until frozen, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. They'll keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to enjoy, just thaw at room temperature or give a quick warm-up in the microwave.
Reheat vegan baked oats: For a quick warm-up, you can microwave the squares for about 20-30 seconds. If you prefer the oven, preheat it to 300°F (150°C) and warm the squares for about 5-7 minutes. This will give them a slightly crispy edge and a warm center.
Remember, whether you're enjoying your vegan baked oatmeal fresh from the oven or after storing these vegan baked oats are always a delightful treat!
Quick-cooking rolled oats are the ideal choice for this recipe. They absorb moisture well and give the squares a perfect texture. While you can use regular rolled oats, they might result in a slightly chewier texture.
To make this vegan baked oatmeal recipe nut-free, simply swap out the nut butter for sunflower seed butter or tahini. Both are great alternatives that keep the squares creamy and delicious without any nuts.
Absolutely! While maple syrup adds a unique flavor, you can replace it with agave nectar, date syrup, or even coconut sugar. Just be mindful of the sweetness levels and adjust according to your preference.
Yes! The primary ingredient, oats, is naturally gluten-free. However, ensure you're using oats that are certified gluten-free, as some oats might be processed in facilities that handle gluten-containing grains and could have cross-contamination.
Boosting the protein content is easy! You can add a scoop of your favorite plant-based protein powder to the baked oats mix. Alternatively, consider adding chia seeds or hemp seeds. Both are excellent sources of protein and blend seamlessly into the recipe. Keep in mind that you may have to add more oat milk to adjust for the extra dry ingredients!
🥣Make this next…
I hope you enjoyed our family-favorite baked oatmeal squares! If you are looking for more easy breakfast or healthy snack recipes be sure to check out these recipes:
- Vegan Baked Rice Balls (Bolinho de arroz-portuguese version)
- High Protein Overnight Oats
- Dairy-free Brownies: fudgy and gluten-free
- Layered Oat Milk Chia Pudding
- No Bake Bliss Balls
Easy Vegan Baked Oats (1 Bowl Recipe)
- 4 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 cup peanut butter (sub with sunflower seed or almond butter)
- ¾ cup apple sauce
- ¼ cup oat milk
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp tablespoon salt
- 1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then line a 9x5 inch square loaf pan with parchment paper or a baking liner. This ensures your oatmeal squares won't stick.
- In a large bowl, combine all your ingredients except the dark chocolate. Mix until well mixed. TIP: If your peanut butter or nut butter is too cold it may be hard to mix. You can slowly microwave it to bring it to room temperature. Just be sure to not over heat.
- Now, fold in the dark chocolate chips.
- Pour your batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use your spatula to spread it evenly and then place it in the oven.
- Let it bake for 20-25 minutes. You're looking for a beautiful golden top and firm edges.Tip: Every oven is different. Start checking at the 20-minute mark to avoid overbaking.
- Once baked, remove them from the oven and let them cool in the pan. Once cooled, slice into big squares.
- Room Temp: store them in an airtight container at room temperature. They'll stay fresh and ready to eat for up to 2 days.
- Fridge: If you prefer them chilled or want to extend their freshness, pop them in the refrigerator. In an airtight container, they'll last for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze these squares. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet until frozen, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container. They'll keep for up to 3 months.
- Fries, L. R., & van der Horst, K. (2019). Parental feeding practices and associations with children's food acceptance and picky eating. In Nestlé Nutrition Institute Workshop Series (pp. 31-39).
- Vollmer, R. L., & Baietto, J. (2017). Practices and preferences: Exploring the relationships between food-related parenting practices and child food preferences for high fat and/or sugar foods, fruits, and vegetables. Appetite, 113, 134-140.