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Oatmeal as the first meal of the day is a smart nutrition move: oats are a good source of fiber along with a range of vitamins and minerals needed to support good health and training. A study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that oatmeal has the power to shift our microbiome towards a higher population of “good bugs” that can improve lipid numbers for better heart health. This baked protein oatmeal takes the mainstay to new heights.
Getting protein in the morning is key, and, spoiler alert, oats are not a protein powerhouse. Recent research shows that morning is the most important time of day to get this macro in order to build lean body mass, suggesting protein calories might be more efficiently used earlier in your day. Building muscle mass can make you a more powerful, injury resistant runner.
Enter this baked protein oatmeal that tastes oh-so reminiscent of everyone’s favorite schoolyard sandwich. When berries get baked with cinnamon-spiced oats and nutty peanut butter powder and then topped with creamy vanilla-infused yogurt, the result is a warming make-ahead breakfast casserole that can keep you well-fed for nearly a week’s worth of breakfasts. Adding hemp seeds adds more protein and a big helping of essential omega fatty acids.
PB & J Baked Protein Oatmeal with Yogurt
This baked protein oatmeal delivers 29 grams of protein per serving. Powdered peanut butter is made from whole roasted nuts that have been pressed to remove most of the oil, and then the remaining nut particles are ground into a fine powder that more concentrated in protein (and lower in fat) but full of the delicious PB flavor. It’s a stealth addition to oatmeal and smoothies. KOS or PB2 are two good brand options, but if you can’t find it, try swapping it with chocolate protein powder. Just keep in mind that plant-based protein powders tend to be better in baked recipes than whey protein.
Using hearty steel-cut oats in addition to the rolled variety gives this breakfast casserole more staying power. If you are going dairy-free, you can swap out the milk and yogurt for plant-based options and use coconut oil instead of butter (but remember: dairy milk provides the most protein; a filtered brand, like Fairlife, really ups the protein punch). Leftovers are easily reheated in the microwave.
Makes 6 Servings
- 1 cup steel-cut oats
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup peanut butter powder
- ¼ cup hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter, cooked slightly, plus more for greasing
- 4 cups fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries
- 2 cups plain Greek or Skyr yogurt
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Maple syrup (optional)
- Cover steel-cut oats with water and let soak for at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 × 13-inch casserole pan with butter.
- Drain steel-cut oats and place in a large bowl. Add rolled oats, peanut butter powder, cinnamon, and salt, and stir until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and melted butter. Add liquid mixture to oats and gently mix until everything is moist.
- Place berries in the bottom of the baking dish and top with oat mixture. Bake at 350°F until topping is set, about 40 minutes.
- Stir together yogurt and vanilla. Serve squares of baked oatmeal topped with about 5 tablespoons yogurt mixture. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired.