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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Peanut Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

OVERNIGHT OATS. GONE. SUGAR-FREE. (*internally cheering*). Yup that's right, no sugar, no maple syrup, no agave, no honey! These oats are sweetened strictly with fruit (dates or banana) and you've never had a craving for overnight oats until you've had a jar of these magical, mouth-watering, life-changing oats (OK I might be over-exaggerating a little... BUT REALLY). (There's also a 100% sugar-free option sweetened with stevia or monk fruit).



Believe it or not, I had a lot of trouble finding a recipe online for vegan, gluten-free overnight oats that are sweetened strictly with fruit. I found overnight oats sweetened with maple syrup, honey, agave, stevia, monk fruit- just about anything but fruit. And I did find one recipe that had fruit blended into it, but you still had to add an artificial sweetener in addition to the fruit. So I set out to create a strictly fruit-sweetened jar of overnight oats with one of my favorite fruits: dates.


Now don't get me wrong, I like stevia and monk fruit, but dates just add that little extra something that mimics that taste of sugar and I LOVE the flavor of dates. Plus, possible side effects of artificial sweeteners haven't been studied enough to determine how safe artificial sweeteners are to consume, so I try to use them sparingly.


My favorite sweetener is dates, and most recipes on this blog are sweetened with dates. This is hard to believe because back three years ago I was a sugaroholic and had a MAJOR sweet tooth. I had to have something sweet everyday, and my diet was much different from how I eat now. I can't even imagine how many grams of artificial sugar I was consuming per day back then. Fast forward three years, and I'm vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.



These overnight oats are vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and fruit-sweetened. And just one jar of oats provides about 15 grams of protein! With swirls of peanut butter, sweet date paste, and rich, chocolate-y oats, what more could you want in a breakfast? Plus, overnight oats are really easy to make and require no cooking!


I didn't get into overnight oats until very recently. I had always known about them and seen recipes for them everywhere (on food blogs, on Pinterest, in cook books, etc.), but never tried them. Now, I make overnight oats regularly and they're one of my new favorite breakfasts. They're hardy, creamy, delicious, and filling! And using chocolate and peanut butter makes these oats all the more enjoyable.



Nutritional Profile of Peanut Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats


Gluten-free rolled oats- oats are loaded with fiber, protein, and iron and aid in digestion, help reduce cholesterol levels, and provide a rich iron source for vegans and vegetarians. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but due to cross-contamination with gluten-containing crops, oats are often not strictly gluten-free. Buying certified gluten-free oats ensures that they won't cause a reaction in people with Celiac's disease, and gluten-free oats cause less inflammation.


Peanut butter- peanut butter is a good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and iron. These nutrients support heart health, brain health, and digestive health and help build muscle and red blood cells.


Cacao powder- cacao powder is rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium, fiber, protein, and potassium. Cacao can help with symptoms of depression and aids in serotonin production, lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and boosts HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind), helps relieve menstrual cramps, and aids in circulation. Try to buy raw cacao powder as opposed to cocoa powder because cacao is basically less processed cocoa, and thus is more nutrient-dense and has more health benefits (plus cacao powder is a superfood!) (Tip: when buying a chocolate bar, try to look for the highest percentage of cacao/cocoa that you can handle because the more cacao/cocoa, the more benefits you get from it. I actually enjoy a 100% cacao chocolate bar with a little unsweetened coconut on top, but I realize that 90% cacao and higher is a little too much for most people. Also try to avoid added sugar, dairy, and other unhealthy additives in your bar of chocolate).


Chia seeds- chia seeds contain substantial amounts of fiber, iron, protein, and healthy fats. They are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which can benefit your heart health, brain health, skin, hair, eye health, joints, and immune health. Chia seeds aid in digestion and help with bowel movement regularity.


Dates- dates are filled with protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and antioxidants and are low-glycemic. These nutrients improve digestion, support healthy muscles, and fight free-radicals.


Banana- bananas are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, and trace minerals. They can relieve muscle cramps, help with bowel movement regularity, and support heart health.


Almond milk- almond milk is packed with vitamin E, trace minerals, and calcium & vitamin D (if fortified). Calcium and vitamin D build bone and vitamin E is good for your skin and hair.




Substitutions


For this recipe, you can use any kind of nut or seed butter, but I highly recommend using the peanut butter because it just tastes so good. I have, however, tried it with other nut butters like almond butter and it still comes out good. For the unsweetened almond milk you can substitute any kind of unsweetened plant milk (or sweetened plant milk, if not sugar-free). The consistency and flavor comes out similar regardless of which plant milk you use.


There is no good substitution for the chia seeds. Chia seeds are a crucial ingredient in overnight oats and can't really be replaced. You can use either date paste OR a banana to sweeten your jar of oats, or use stevia or monk fruit, to taste. Keep in mind that if you're using a banana in your oats, the oats won't come out quite as sweet as with the date paste. They still come out adequately sweet, but just not as sweet as the date paste. For the banana-sweetened version, mash 1 ripe banana and stir into the rest of the ingredients before putting the jar in the fridge overnight to chill/soak. You can use maple syrup, date syrup, agave, honey (if not vegan), or any other sweeteners that work for you instead of the fruit. And I think berries (fresh or frozen) could work too, but I would wait until the morning you want to eat the oats, then combine the berries and oats in a high-speed blender and blend until creamy, then serve.


You can swap out the cacao powder with cocoa powder or leave out the cacao altogether. If you leave out the cacao then it's basically peanut butter overnight oats. You could try using almond extract instead of the vanilla extract, but I think the delicate vanilla flavor contrasts the bold flavors in these oats perfectly.


As for the oats, they are the hardest to substitute because this recipe is specifically for overnight oats. There is no possible way to sub the oats with anything else, but for those of you on a paleo/grain-free diet look into chia pudding (another one of my favorite breakfasts).



As always, enjoy!


-K.



Peanut Butter Chocolate Overnight Oats (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1 (makes 1 jar of oats)


Ingredients:


-1/2 cup raw gluten-free rolled oats

-3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or sub unsweetened plant milk of choice)

-1 Tbsp chia seeds

-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or sub nut/seed butter of choice)

-1 1/2 Tbsp of date paste OR 1 ripe banana, mashed

-1 1/2 to 2 tsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract


For serving (optional):


-Cacao nibs, peanuts, fresh fruit, a drizzle of nut/seed butter, etc.


Directions:


1. Make the date paste (dates puréed with water) ahead of time, if using date paste to sweeten, and grab a mason jar with a lid.


2. Add all ingredients into the mason jar and stir until well-combined (if you want swirls of peanut butter in your oats, then stir less).


3. After stirring, lightly press down the oats with the backside of a spoon to fully submerge them so they can soak. Make sure all oats are submerged in the almond milk before putting on the lid and placing in the fridge overnight.


4. Allow the oats to soak/chill overnight. Soaking the oats in the almond milk overnight softens them to an oatmeal-like consistency, which is why you don't need to cook these oats.


5. The next morning, remove the overnight oats from the fridge, add toppings, if desired, and enjoy! *



*Note if you want your overnight oats to be warm instead of cold, place your jar of oats in the microwave and heat for several seconds until warm. Also, if your mason jar has a screwable metal lid please remove the lid before putting the jar in the microwave, and/or if the jar has metal hinges, spoon the oats into a microwave-safe bowl before heating it in the microwave.




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