A NUTRIENT-DENSE Food That’s Around 15¢ a Serving!

Whole grain oats are STILL one of the most economical, versatile and nutritious foods you can buy. For instance, a serving of organic rolled oats (aka old-fashioned oats) from most bulk bins will cost about 15¢, while offering an impressive medley of nutritional benefits.

These fiber-rich whole grains are a solid source of protein and are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Plus, being gluten-free, they’re a great choice for those with celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten.

Besides plenty of protein, just a half cup (40 grams) of dry, rolled oats and oat groats contains good amounts of thiamin (B1), iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese (74% of the RDI!), and selenium.

If fiber increase is important to you, you might consider using steel cut oats instead of rolled oats, as the steel cut do have a bit more fiber. Also, studies show steel cut oats have a lower glycemic index than rolled oats.

The primary difference between steel-cut and rolled oats is how they are processed. Steel-cut oats are made by cutting oat groats into smaller pieces using a steel blade. Rolled oats are made by steaming the oat groat and then rolling it flat. Because they’re flat, rolled oats absorb liquid more quickly than the chunkier steel-cut oats.

Although they are most commonly consumed as a porridge for breakfast, oats (steel cut or rolled) can be a healthy carb choice for lunch and dinner as well. Here are some more ways this nutrient-dense food can be used:

  • Add raw oats to your smoothie for a fiber boost.
  • Incorporate oats into your favorite pancake recipe.
  • Combine them with Greek yogurt and cinnamon to make overnight oats in the fridge.
  • Add raw oats to homemade bread, cookies and muffins.
  • Mix oats with nut butter and dried fruit, form into balls and refrigerate for delicious, healthy energy bites.
  • Top cooked oats with sliced avocado, peppers, black beans, salsa and eggs for a savory twist on traditional sweet oatmeal.
  • Use them in place of breadcrumbs to coat fish or chicken.
  • Use them in place of rice when making risotto.
  • Top cooked oats with grilled vegetables, chicken and tahini for a satisfying lunch or dinner.
  • Add them to soups to create creaminess without adding a lot of fat.
  • Stuff peppers, tomatoes or zucchinis with a mix of oats, onion, egg and cheese and bake in the oven for a delicious snack.
  • Make a homemade granola by combining them with a fat, cinnamon, nuts and seeds, and dried fruit, then baking at a low temperature.

(Oat risotto, above)

I’ll close with one of our favorite ways to use rolled oats. This is my granola recipe that I created over 40 years ago as a breakfast alternative to expensive and unhealthy cold-cereals. It was such a hit that I even sold it in gingham cloth bags at grade school bazaars to earn money for our family’s Christmas gifts. I called it “Pauper’s Granola” because it is delicious even without all the expensive add-ins.

Decades later I included it in a cookbook that former Cook’n writer, Jeanne Wolfley, and I wrote (EVERYDAY GOURMET). In the book we called it “Everyday Gourmet Granola” and we provided two versions—BASIC and GOURMET. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Alice's Granola



8 cups rolled oats
1 cup dry milk powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1 cup healthy oils (almond, sesame, coconut, or extra virgin olive)
1 1/2 cups pure, raw honey
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups old-fashioned peanut butter
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 cups raisins


8 cups rolled oats
1 cup dry milk powder
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup ground chia seed
1 to 2 cups sliced almonds (or other nuts, lightly chopped)
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups healthy oils (almond, sesame, coconut, extra virgin olive)
2 cups pure, raw honey
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned peanut butter
3 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups raisins
2 cups other dried fruit (such as cherries, cranberries, apricots, pineapple, papaya, Medjool dates)


Preheat oven to 210ºF. In a large roasting pan, mix the dry ingredients. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, oil, honey, brown sugar, and peanut butter, stirring until peanut butter is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix well, being sure all ingredients are thoroughly coated.
Slow-roast granola for 4 hours or until it has turned golden brown, stirring every half hour or so to ensure even roasting. Remove from oven and mix in raisins. Allow granola to cool, then tore in an airtight container for as long as 3 months. Will store in the refrigerator or freezer longer.


Follow the same directions for mixing and roasting as for the BASIC VERSION above.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

  •   www.hinessight.com
  •   www.youtube.com
  •   www.oneingredientchef.com
  •   www.stepahniekaynutrition.com
  •   EVERYDAY GOURMET, Alice Osborne, Jeanne Wolfley

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