Maple-Pecan Overnight Oats

We have a slightly schizophrenic pantry.

Half of it is incredibly organized [think matching glass jars lined up from tallest to smallest and tri-colored onions and potatoes housed in beautiful woven baskets]…and half of it could pass for the “before” photo of a how-to story in Real Simple.

Most of these are high-traffic shelves. We fly through containers of pasta, cans of tomatoes, bottles of balsamic, jars of nut butter, boxes of cereal, and [fortunately or unfortunately] bags of chocolate chips.

But then there are the forgotten cans of pumpkin purée and various boxes of broth, taking up precious real estate on shelves 1-3. Upon closer inspection, there are umpteen salad dressings and mustards that have evidently also done their fair share of migrating. Look up a shelf and you’ll find too many cylinders of tomato paste to count hiding behind a couple of hard-as-rocks bags of brown sugar.

To the left you’ll see at least half a dozen varieties of dried fruit – some cozied up to plastic packages of dried chilies and lentils and others leaning lazily against two year’s worth of olive oils and salsas. To the right you’ll spy two grains that have lurked in the depths for months: steel-cut oats and pearled barley. 


I’ve had overnight oats on the brain recently. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, right? But wait! This isn’t just your average rolled oats + milk + yogurt + banana + chia seeds mix-it-in-a-mason-jar miracle.

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This recipe involves both steel-cut oats and pearled barley…AND the jackpot jug of maple syrup that was concealed behind them on the tippy top shelf.

This oatmeal is as toasty warm as baked oats are and is much, much quicker to “make” [read: microwave] in the morning. If you’re not trying to share your breakfast with a food blogger, you should end up with enough time to change your outfit at least twice.

It does require an iota or two of pre-planning: the uncooked grains need to be soaked overnight, and [if your pantry looks anything like mine] it helps to choose and hunt for your spices and toppings the night before.

The texture is pleasantly soft and sticky. If you like your oatmeal very sweet, trade your tablespoon for a large spoon and go wild with the maple syrup [nobody’s looking]. I promise it won’t be bad.

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Just don’t skip on the toasted pecans or skimp on the cinnamon – and feel free to use a heaping ½ cup of blueberries per serving!

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Recipe [Serves 2]:


2/3 cup uncooked steel-cut oats

1/4 cup uncooked pearl barley

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon [or more, to taste]

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stevia, to taste

1/4 cup 1% reduced fat milk

30 grams pecans, toasted

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 cup fresh blueberries


Combine oats, barley, and water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Uncover bowl and stir in salt. Microwave uncovered, with frequent stops to stir, until most of the liquid gets absorbed.

Stir in vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, Stevia, and milk. Divide mixture into 2 bowls, drizzle with maple syrup, and sprinkle with toasted pecans and blueberries.

389 calories per serving, 11 grams of protein, 57 grams of carbs, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber

Adapted from Fort Mill SC Living


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