This vegan blueberry oat bake is a perfect make ahead breakfast. It’s packed with nutrition in the form of whole grains, fruit, and nuts.
When I was a grad student, I experimented with a lot of different make-ahead breakfasts. I learned that oat bakes are just about as good as it gets.
Here’s a short list of reasons why I love oat bakes so much:
Yes, I love regular, warm oatmeal, savory or sweet. But I don’t love to cook oatmeal on the stovetop when I’m in a rush. When I was in grad school, I was nearly always in a rush to get to class in the morning.
Oat bakes saved me. They allowed me to enjoy all of the wholesome goodness of oatmeal without any need to soak or cook oats in the morning. And they’re portable, so they were a good option when I was running out the door and in need of breakfast to-go.
I’m no longer a graduate student, but this blueberry banana walnut oat bake has remained a favorite breakfast. I’ve been making it for years now, with very few variations or changes, and I have no plans to stop.
An oat bake—also known as baked oatmeal—is simply an oven-baked way to enjoy oatmeal.
Oat bakes can be prepared in a variety of different ways. You can use rolled oats or quick oats. Some recipes call for blending the oats with plant milk or water before baking and pouring the mixture into a ramekin. The result is sort of like a mug cake.
I prefer oat bakes that leave the texture of rolled or quick oats intact. My method is to combine the oats with a liquid, fold in some fresh fruit, add any nutritious extras I want (usually nuts or seeds), and then transfer them to the oven.
You can make oat bakes more or less solid by adjusting how much liquid you use. When they’re ready, they can be eaten in slices, or you can warm them up in a bowl along with a bit of non-dairy milk.
When I do this, I sometimes like to mash them up a bit, so that they become a cross between a baked oat square and something resembling bread pudding. Yum!
I love how easy it is to make an oat bake—and this blueberry banana oat bake is no exception.
First, preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly oil or line an 8 x 8-inch square or 7 x 11-inch rectangular baking dish with parchment. Get your ingredients ready: chop your walnuts (if they aren’t pre-chopped) and your banana, etc.
For this recipe, my dry ingredients include oats, ground flax meal, spices, and salt. I fold in a chopped banana and fresh or frozen blueberries as my fruit. I add a quarter cup of chopped walnuts, too. This all goes in a big mixing bowl.
You can make oat bakes with simple non-dairy milk as the wet/liquid ingredient. But I like to sweeten this blueberry banana oat bake with a second banana and a small amount of agave or maple syrup (1-2 tablespoons, optional and to taste).
I blend all of these things together in a blender or a food processor.
Next, you’ll pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, fold them together, and transfer everything to your prepared baking dish.
The baked oats will require about 40-45 minutes of baking time. The goal is for the top to be golden brown and for the texture to be set, but still a little soft in the center.
One of the nicest things about this oat bake recipe is that it can be used as a template for other versions. Here are some ways that you can mix things up.
In place of the banana and blueberries, try:
In place of the chopped walnuts, you can try:
I like to use soy milk in this recipe for the plant protein. However, you can use your favorite non-dairy milk, which could be:
If bananas aren’t your thing, then you could try any of the following substitutes for the banana that gets blended into the liquid ingredients.
One third of a cup of:
Don’t be afraid to add some fun flourishes to the oat bake! A few options that I’ve tried and liked:
Oat bakes have all of the same, sound nutrition as regular oatmeal. This includes soluble fiber, trace minerals that include zinc and magnesium, some protein, and complex carbohydrates that can help to energize you and keep you full.
Any fruit you add can further enhance the nutrient density of your oat bake. Thanks to blueberries and bananas, this particular recipe is rich in phytonutrients that may help to prevent cognitive decline, compounds that may support cardiovascular health, and electrolytes that are helpful in maintaining hydration status.
The walnuts, meanwhile, contain antioxidants that are associated with anti-inflammatory action and Omega-3 fatty acids that may benefit cardiovascular health, mood, and more.
Oats aren’t a glutenous grain, but they can have trace amounts of gluten thanks to cross-contamination. Be sure to purchase gluten-free certified rolled oats if you have celiac disease.
Maybe my favorite thing about oat bakes is that they’re so useful as part of a weekly meal prep routine.
For one thing, oat bakes are easy to portion. Cut them into squares or rectangles and store them separately (in containers or in Stasher bags) for easy, pre-made, pre-portioned, packed and portable morning meals.
Oat bake leftovers also keep for up to five days in airtight container(s) in the fridge. You can make this blueberry banana oat bake on a Sunday, store it, and enjoy homemade breakfast for nearly an entire week after.
Absolutely! Freezing is another way that you can use this oat bake and others to help you with breakfast meal prep. Slices of the oat bake can be stored in Stasher bags or in airtight containers and frozen for up to six weeks.
If you want to freeze a whole oat bake for future breakfast consumption, that’s also fine. You can prepare the oat bake as directed in a parchment lined pan. After it bakes and cools, wrap it lightly and transfer it to the freezer for one hour.
At that point, you can remove the oatbake (it’ll be semi-solid from an hour of freezing) from the pan and parchment, wrap it tightly in saran, and freeze it for up to six weeks. Defrost it overnight in the freezer before slicing and storing or serving.
This oat bake recipe yields four larger or six smaller portions. You can enjoy a bigger portion on its own or with some almond or peanut butter for a quick, easy, portable breakfast.
You can also serve a slice of the bake with fresh or warm fruit, such as my gingered blueberry sauce or ginger cinnamon baked apples.
Jam or preserves, apple or pumpkin butter, nut butters, and sweet cashew cream are all lovely accompaniments, too.
While this blueberry banana version is the oat bake that I prepare most often, it’s not my only cherished recipe. Here are a few others that I enjoy regularly through the seasons:
I hope that this versatile, wholesome, tasty breakfast will serve you as well as it has served me!
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Anybody make this with steel cut oatmeal? If so, what changes, if any, are needed? I’m guessing longer baking or more liquid?
I don’t personally like the texture or results of oat bakes with steel cut oats—I always use rolled or quick. But I’m guessing there are recipes using steel cut online, and if you find a solid one, you can adapt it to fit this flavor profile/ingredients.
Oh my god, this is SO amazing! It’s like cake for breakfast. A good snack too! Almond butter on top is delicious. I did 50/50 frozen blueberries and raspberries. I only had one banana so just put nut milk with maple syrup and it still tastes great. I can’t wait to try with all of the proper ingredients on hand, and to do variations with frozen cherries and maybe even fresh peaches in summer! Thank you!!
Hi Nicola, I’m so happy you enjoyed it!
Oh also I used chia seeds because I didn’t have flax and it was great!
This was delicious! Will definitely make again. I only had quick oats so I cooked for 30 min and it was perfect. I had strawberries so I used those. I thought it was even better warm fresh from the oven. Excited to have more tomorrow with almond butter on top like a previous commenter suggested! Thanks for a great recipe! I bought your latest cookbook for my parents for Xmas and they’ve cooked so many recipes out of it and have literally liked every single recipe. That is so rare with a cookbook. I think you’re doing great work! 🙂
Thank you so much for the feedback, Fiona, for sharing your tweaks (I’ll have to try with flax!) and for the kind words about my book!! I truly hope your parents continue to enjoy!
Looks so good. Do you think I can leave out the flax? Maybe use chia or hemp hearts instead? I can’t have flax right now.
Absolutely! Ground or whole chia seeds are a good substitute.
OK thank you! Going to make this for me and my 17-month old!
I made this for my husband and he loves it!! I am wondering if you have the nutrition information. He was is keeping a food journal for a health issue.
Ah, I don’t have it, Nancy. I don’t calculate for the blog, but you can definitely try using a program like MyFitnessPal to log the information. I’m so glad you like the recipe!
Mine didnt come out well. I’m disappointed. I didnt use any seeds or walnuts. So I guess I should have changed the amount of almond milk.
Great looking recipe! I can’t wait to try it in my new dorm when I start school again this fall 🙂
I have a few questions though; I wanted to put in some expresso grounds and take out the blueberries to make a coffee oatmeal square. Also, could I sub honey instead of maple syrup?
You can definitely add some espresso grinds, though I’m not sure what the right amount would be, as I haven’t tried it yet! I’m guessing two tablespoons or so. And yes, you can substitute honey 🙂
Bookmarked this one and only just got round to trying it. Wish I hadn’t waited so long! Really nice. Roll on breakfast time. ..
I love this recipe! I’ve made it four or five times since you posted it. When I first made it, I didn’t have blueberries or walnuts (more more than one banana for that matter) but the rest of the recipe served as a perfect template and I just topped it with fruit and things I did have. Delicious!
I made this for a ladies brunch recently and it was a big hit! Very simple to pull off for an early morning get together & yet so hearty and satisfying. Great as a leftover as well! I think I’ll have this as part of my regular rotation for quick breakfasts throughout the week.
Thanks for another great recipe!
Delighted that it was a success, Stacy! Hooray.
Thank you for this perfectly timed post! I made a double batch of this last weekend, and it’s made for several quick and easy breakfasts for ourselves and guests while on vacation. I wasn’t sure which kind of oats to use, so I went with quick oats. They worked fine, but I think I’ll try it with classic rolled oats next time for a little more texture. We’ve especially liked it warmed up with a little margarine on top, and I’m eager to try it with other mix-ins, like rhubarb and cranberries.
I’m so happy that you like it! It’s definitely delicious with a pat of Earth Balance. I look forward to a spring variation.
Hi Gena, I made this recipe this morning and it was wonderful. I didn’t have blueberries so I subbed frozen raspberries. Thank you so much for sharing!
So happy that you loved the recipe!
Gena, I just have to come back and tell you how wonderful this recipe is. I love baking it the day before and letting it set up in the fridge so it gets firm almost like a cake. And topped with roasted almond butter just takes it over the top.
For anyone wondering, once its set up firmly, you can freeze them into individual portions for busy mornings.
Yum! Looks delicious, and perfect for a chilly morning!
Just finished a slice and OMG this is fantastic. Love it. Thank you for sharing.
Yay! So glad you like it.
I need to eat more oats, and this recipe look absolutely perfect to do so, I’m going to have to give this a try!
I just tried this in the morning, and I love the fact that it’s so versatile, all kinds of berries fresh for whatever season your’e in can be added, it was absolutely delicious and kept me feeling full well into the late afternoon.
Love all of these things! Thanks for trying the recipe.
Fantastic idea! I *love* overnight oats and smoothies in the spring, summer & even fall. I try to love them in the winter, but have been having a bit of a hard time with cold things as the weather has cooled off. This sounds so good!
I love overnight oats, too, but this is such a hearty and satisfying recipe. Enjoy 🙂
Oh that looks delicious. Love recipes which can double-up as a warm breakfast or a quick snack. This reminds me that I really must start eating oats again…
Oats are the best! Enjoy the recipe.
A belated Merry Christmas Gena! Hope you had a lovely, relaxing day.
This recipe looks perfect. I’ve been looking for more ideas for quick/pre-ahead breakfasts now I’m working full time and this definitely fits the bill. I have a load of blackberries in the freezer leftover from early autumn foraging so I think I’ll swap them in for the bloobs. Excited to try it!
Blackberries sound like a great addition! I hope it turns out well.
Perfect bake recipe for these cold winter months. Yum!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Gena! Looking forward to your recaps, as always.
I had everything I needed for this but the right sized pan, so I poured the mixture into a 12 cup muffin pan and they came out great. I’m wrapping some individually and sticking them in the freezer for quick breakfasts.
Oooh, muffins. Great thought.