Cranberry Chai Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a wonderful option for an on-the-go breakfast. Technically, our bodies work best at digesting, absorbing and utilizing food when we are in a calm environment with little distraction from the process of eating. However, sometimes we are just too busy to take that much time to focus on every meal. When that happens, simple and easy to digest meals made from whole foods and not too many ingredients can be a way to get nourished without giving the body too much work. Overnight oats are easy to throw together the night before, then they thicken up and their flavours deepen while you sleep and by the time you wake up they are ready to grab and go.Chai tea is made from a blend of fragrant spices like cloves, black pepper and cinnamon- several of which can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. They have traditionally been used for thousands of years to help with digestion and they are considered to have warming properties, thus they can make a food extra comforting on cold mornings, even when the food itself is not boiling hot. Chai often also contains black tea, which has some caffeine but can still be easier on the body than coffee. Alternatively there are blends with naturally caffeine-free rooibos tea or just with the spices themselves. The main ingredients are oats of course, and nut milk which softens the oats overnight as they sit. To get the chai flavour I simply brought the milk and tea to a simmer then let it steep for a few minutes before straining it and adding the chai milk to the other ingredients. Some dried cranberries add texture variety and a slightly sour flavour while the dates add in lots of natural sweetness to keep it balanced. Some chia seeds plump up and thicken the mixture, and along with some hazelnut butter they make oats extra creamy.Plain Greek yogurt, banana and dried pomegranate arils are some optional toppings but any preferred fruit, nuts, seeds and/or granola can be used.

Cranberry Chai Overnight Oats
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1½ cups unsweetened cashew milk (or any preferred type)
  • 1 cup oats
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • 4 Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut butter (or any preferred type)
  • 2 tablespoons chai tea (or 2 tea bags)
  • Optional toppings: 1 banana, plain Greek yogurt, dried pomegranate arils
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Place the tea and milk in a small pot on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a light simmer (little bubbles should just be starting to come to the surface; should take 3-5 minutes). Then turn the heat down to low and leave it to steep. The amount of steep time will depend on personal preference and the particular chai blend used. Do a taste test around 3 minutes in and if it's not strong enough give it an extra 2 minutes. If the blend contains tea it shouldn't be steeped much longer than 5 minutes otherwise it can become bitter. Strain and discard the tea and place the flavoured milk into a blender with the dates.
  2. Leave the milk aside to cool for a couple minutes and place the oats, cranberries, hazelnut butter and chia seeds in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Blend the milk and dates until smooth then add them to the oats and stir to combine (to save time in the morning they can be divided into portable containers now). Cover with an airtight seal and place the mixture in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours.
  4. Remove from the fridge, add any desired toppings and enjoy. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for an extra day or two.

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