Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Good Ole Oats

By Alana Sugar, October 31, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
I well remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My favorite part, of course, was that famous perfect bowl of porridge! Of course, I had no idea what porridge was. Sad to say, but when I was a kid in Louisiana, hot breakfast cereal meant one thing: grits. In fact, all I knew about oats was that Dad would feed them to his horses or we occasionally ate them in cookies laden with raisins. The thought of eating oats as a hot breakfast cereal did not occur to any member of my family until we moved away from Louisiana and set our feet upon the California soil where grits were virtually unheard of! These days, it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t heard about the benefits of whole grains, especially oats! Not only are they a comforting, nourishing way to start the day, oats add stick-to-your-ribs good taste and good nutrition to all kinds of goodies, from soup to dessert. And the list of health benefits is really impressive:
  • Help keep cholesterol levels healthy
  • Naturally contain soluble fiber, which is important for healthy cholesterol but also for a healthy digestive track
Just one cup of cooked old-fashioned (regular) oatmeal contains:
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 4 grams of fat (only 1 gram of saturated fat)
  • 6 grams of protein
  • no cholesterol
  • Iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and manganese
Just about everybody knows that oats are good for breakfast and cookies, but did you know that oats can be used in everything from soup to meatloaf to pie crust? Here’s what I mean:
  • Make “creamy” soup using oats? Absolutely! Add a handful of rolled oats to your soup at the end of cooking. Simmer until oats are tender. Puree for a “creamy,” delicious effect! Try this with most typical creamy, pureed soups.
  • Add a handful of rolled oats to vegetable soup just like you would a handful of rice or noodles.
  • Add rolled oats to cookies and bars like in these Tahini Oat Cookies, these Cherry Orange Oatmeal Outdoors Bars, and these delicious Sunflower Cherry Oatmeal Bars.
  • Add rolled oats to quick breads, yeast breads and muffins in place of some of the flour. This will boost the fiber content and add a chewy, yummy effect.
  • Make oatmeal pancakes or waffles. Here’s an idea for Oatmeal Apple Pancakes.
  • Make a pie crust in your food processor using flour mixed with oats. Try this: ¾ cup all purpose or whole wheat pastry flour, ½ cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter or vegan natural margarine, ¼ tsp sea salt and 3-4 tablespoons of ice water. Pulse flour, oats, salt and butter until crumbly in a food processor. Slowly add water while continuing to process until dough starts to form a ball. Press or roll out and line an 8-inch pie plate. Fill and bake.
  • A really great way to use oats is to add them to meatloaf! It’s a great replacement for breadcrumbs and requires no prior cooking. Just add 1 cup of rolled oats to 2 pounds of ground beef or turkey. You’ll love the delicious taste and the bonus health benefits!
  • Mix with other whole grains for a delicious breakfast cereal like we did with this Apple-Scented Breakfast Oatmeal and Buckwheat.
When you shop for oats, you’ll notice several varieties. Just remember old-fashioned rolled oats, including the thick cut variety, are the whole oat groats that have been steamed and run through rollers to flatten them out. They are thicker, heartier and chewier than quick cooking and instant oats, which are flaked; The old-fashioned rolled oats stay with you, keeping you satisfied longer. Whole oat groats are the actual whole grain. These are super delicious and creamy when prepared by overnight cooking in a crock pot. Steel cut oats are sometimes called Irish oats or Scotch oats. They are whole oat groats that have been hulled and steamed and sometimes roasted (for greater flavor); they are then cut into pieces by large steel blades. These delicious, coarsely cut oats are also wonderful cooked overnight in a crock pot or soaked overnight and cooked until tender on the stovetop, about 30 to 40 minutes. By the way, if it’s just straight oatmeal you’re looking for, then look no further than A Perfect Pot of Oatmeal. Got a perfect porridge recipe or a favorite way to enjoy oats? I would love to hear!




Joe @ Eden Kitchen says ...
Oats are my absolute favorite grain! I created this recipe last week for Berry Stella Cookies: http://edenkitchen.com/berry-stella-cookies/ They are about the healthiest cookie you can make before it stops tasting like a cookie :)
10/31/2010 7:14:38 PM CDT
Kathy G says ...
I always have muffins on hand. Instead of white flour, I use half whole wheat flour and half oatmeal. I vary the other ingredients each time, so they never get boring! http://kathys-second-half.blogspot.com/2009/09/create-breakfast-muffin.html
10/31/2010 8:47:33 PM CDT
SusieBee says ...
I love oatmeal! I make overnight oatmeal-no cooking: http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/10/recipe-for-overnight-oatmeal-three-days.html and always use oats in my homemade whole wheat bread: http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/09/whole-wheat-oatmeal-bread.html
11/01/2010 12:34:15 PM CDT
Angela says ...
Oats are my favorite grain- it's so versatile! Thank you for info and recipes. :)
11/03/2010 10:59:36 AM CDT
Miranda Paymer says ...
My husband's favorite oatmeal recipe: 3/4 cup rolled oats 1 1/2 cups water 1 organic apple 1 heaping tablespoon of apple juice concentrate (i.e. frozen) lots of cinnamon butter (Organic Valley Pasture butter or equivalent grassfed butter if you want the proper ratio of Omega 3's to Omega 6's) Put water, apple juice concentrate and cinnamon in a pot on med high heat to boil. Chop up the apple in bite size pieces (my husband's favorite is an apple peeler/corer that quickly does spiral cutting of the apple) and add to water. When water comes to a boil, add the oats, lower the heat to simmer and cook until done. Put into a bowl with butter and YUM! For my husband anyway. I'm allergic to all grains so I can't eat oatmeal anymore.
11/03/2010 7:17:50 PM CDT
chloe says ...
when your sense of smell is overactive due to illness, very soft oatmeal is a balm & has almost no aroma except what you add. ps For those who must use ginger, it is even better!!!
11/03/2010 8:08:14 PM CDT
Marnie says ...
I love oats! My favorite thing to make with them is the Maple Oat Cookies I found on this site a few months ago.
11/03/2010 8:23:42 PM CDT
Rhonda E says ...
The best way I have found to make basic oats is by using fruit juice as the liquid. It adds flavor and nutrients and if you like sugar on your oats, you don't need to add as much. I find that it does not taste exactly like the fruit, but it adds a good flavor.
11/03/2010 8:32:16 PM CDT
Nancy says ...
I fix thick cut oats by soaking them overnight in soymilk, then just a few minutes in the microwave for a quick breakfast. Sometimes I add dried cranberries and walnuts, but for this time of year, I mix up a few spoonfuls of pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice and agave necter and add to my oatmeal.
11/03/2010 11:33:23 PM CDT
wendie says ...
My mom always used quick oats in her soup (and ketchup for flavor!) I find that the quick oats dissolve better in the soup than whole oats. I don't have to puree it- I like the texture of the quick oats better than that of the whole oats...
11/03/2010 11:57:21 PM CDT
Sandra W. says ...
I make Crock Pot Grains for my husband and me on the weekends. I spray the inside of my crock pot with nonstick canola oil cooking spray and cook the grains over night on low for 8 to 10 hours. When we get up in the morning it is ready and all I have to do is toast the whole wheat bread. If the oatmeal is too thick, I just add a little bit of water. My recipe calls for: 1/4 cup steel cut oats 1 1/2 tablespoons pearl barley 2 teaspoons quinoa 2 teaspoons amaranth 2 teaspoons millet 2 teaspoons ground flax meal 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries 2 tablespoons chopped dates 2 3/4 cups water
11/04/2010 5:14:49 AM CDT
Sophie says ...
Try seasoning any kind of cooked oatmeal with tamari rather than honey or sugar. I've never liked sweet breakfast cereal, but found adding soy sauce or tamari made oatmeal one of my favorite dishes ever. If time allows, you can add tahini sauce, chopped scallions, other seasonings like Thai green chili powder or turmeric, and of course chopped nuts. I had my daughter take one bite of my salty oatmeal and she has never gone back to sweetening it.
11/04/2010 7:40:20 AM CDT
Joe says ...
Very difficult to find Oats in a dry cereal. Even granola is not totally about Oats. Wheat is everywhere.
11/04/2010 7:42:37 AM CDT
Natalia C. says ...
How would you make that food that appears on the very top left? What is the recipe?
11/09/2010 6:11:13 PM CST
Zach says ...
Oats are also a good "safe" and healthy option for people that suffer from Heartburn/GERD. Its part of this "Foods to Eat" list for Heartburn/GERD: http://www.foundhealth.com/heartburn-gerd/diet
11/30/2010 3:43:42 PM CST
Jean Langevin says ...
My favorite cooked cereal is using whole grain rice (a mixture of wild and brown rice), steel cut oats, and whole wheat kernels. I use a little more than twice the amount of water to the measured dry cereals (1 c. dried cereal, 1/4 - 1/2 c. dried fruit, approx. 3 c. water). I simmer this mixture for approximately 45 minutes, then place in a double boiler to cook for another hour or more. This works well for cooking slowly overnight, also. Sun Harvest Farms (Whole Foods Market in El Paso, TX) always has a good selection of colorful varieties of rice. Delicious! I like it with milk and a little maple syrup.
03/09/2011 6:18:12 PM CST
Jim White says ...
Are Whole Foods thick rolled oats gluten-free?
01/10/2015 6:13:18 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JIM - They are not made in a dedicated gluten free facility so they will not be certified gluten free. I believe Bob's Red Mill makes a gluten free oat option. Check with your local store to see if they have it in stock.
01/12/2015 1:06:53 PM CST
Cathy says ...
Where is your organic oat groats from?
01/31/2016 1:31:19 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CATHY - Are you referring to bulk groats?
02/11/2016 4:51:46 PM CST
Cynthia says ...
But do you have Oat Groats? Why can't I find them with the Bobs MIlls?
04/04/2016 3:02:22 AM CDT
Cynthia says ...
I couldn't find the Oat Groats.
04/04/2016 3:05:38 AM CDT