My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!

  


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Friday
Jul092010

Encyclopedia of OATS

Many of you have been asking about the difference between all the different oats I use, how to cook them, what brand to buy, etc.  I hope the following will answer all or most of your questions.  I can do a follow-up if you have any further questions or comments. 

And we’re off…….

The OAT dictionary:

Whole Oats

  • Whole oats are what come directly off the oat plant.  They are inedible at this stage.

Hull

  • The hull is the hard shell that encases the Whole Oat.  This is removed from the Whole Oat + discarded or processed into oat bran.

Oat Groats

  • Oat groats are the whole oat grain that is left after outer hull has been removed.  The oat groat can be cooked + consumed but it is more typically eaten in one of the forms below. 
    • 1/4c – 110 cals – 2.5g fat – 27 g carbs – 4g fiber – 1g sugar – 7g protein

Steel Cut Oats

  • Steel cut oats [aka Irish Oats] are simply the result of cutting the oat groat into a few pieces.  There has been minimal processing up to this point.  Eating steel cut oats will ensure you are getting all of the nutritional benefits the oat has to offer.  Steel cut oats take around 20min to cook, and result in a chewy + slightly crunchy bowl of oats.  They also have a nuttier flavor in comparison to rolled oats.  While the serving size measures out to half of that of rolled oats, the nutritional information is nearly the same.
    • 1/4c serving – 170 cals – 3g fat – 29g carbs – 5g fiber – 7g protein

Scottish Oats

  • Scottish oats are a result of taking steel cut oats and grinding them into a fine meal.  This produces a creamier, porridge-like, bowl of oats.  These take around 10-15min of cook time.  Both Scottish + Steel cut are more flavorful than rolled oats and I find that Scottish Oats are the most naturally sweet tasting oat.  They also both expand much more during cooking, which makes up for what initially seems like a smaller portion size.
    • 1/4c serving – 140 cals – 2.5g fat – 23g carbs – 4g fiber – 6g protein

Rolled Oats

  • These are the result of steaming + flattening the oat groat.  Since the oat groat is steamed, it is actually partially cooked, greatly reducing your at-home cook time to around 5-8min.  Rolled oats have a thick + chewy texture and need less liquid to cook than Scottish or Steel Cut oats.
    • 1/2c serving – 190 cals – 3.5g fat – 32g carbs – 5g fiber – 1g sugar – 7g protein

Quick Oats

  • Similar to rolled oats, quick oats are steamed longer + rolled out even thinner.  This makes them more processed but again, quicker to cook.  Quick oats can be made on the stovetop or in the microwave in just minutes.
    • 1/2c serving – 180 cals – 3g fat – 29g carbs – 5g fiber – 1g sugar – 7g 

Oat Bran

  • The outter shell of the whole oat is ground to a fine meal, making oat bran.  Oat bran is very creamy, cooks in minutes, and is high in soluble fiber.  It is also much lower in calories than rolled, Scottish and Steel Cut oats.
    • 1/3c serving – 80 cals – 2g fat – 20g carbs – 5g fiber – 5g protein

Oat Flour

  • Oats that have been ground to a fine flour.  This can not be substituted for whole wheat flour as oat flour lacks gluten to bind baked goods together.

*Nutritional facts all come from Bob’s Red Mill products.

And now for a little tutorial on my most frequently consumed oat products.

Rolled Oats – I used to be an “instant oats” girl until about 2 years ago.  I never thought cooking on the stove top could possibly be worth it.  I most frequently bought the Quaker Instant Oats – Brown Sugar packets.  One day I decided to experiment with rolled oats and never looked back.  There is no comparison to rolled oats.  The texture + flavor are much better and worth the few minutes of extra cook time.  When in a pinch, instant oats are better than no oats!  Sometimes I take instant oats camping or eat them at hotel breakfasts.  You do what ya gotta do!

First, I start with the basic ingredients that I put in almost every bowl of oats I make. 

  • 1/2c + 1/2c mixture of water + milk – any milk will do but I enjoy experimenting with non-dairy milks
  • rounded 1/3c of oats – I tried 1/2c for awhile and found it didn’t keep me full any longer
  • cinnamon – I use at least 1/2t in each bowl.  There are a ton of amazing health benefits from cinnamon!
  • sliced banana – Thanks to Kath for this brilliant idea.  I always slice thinly and go back and forth from 1/2 – 1 whole banana depending on the size.  It adds a natural sweetness and makes the oats extremely creamy, along with all of the nutritional benefits of bananas!  If you do not like banana, sub 1/4c unsweetened applesauce for similar effects.
  • chia seeds – I use about 1T in almost every bowl.  They help keep me full longer and are packed with nutritional goodness

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Rolled Oats – How To:

  • 1/3c [rounded] rolled oats
  • 1/2c water, 1/2c milk
  • 1/2 thinly sliced banana
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1/2t cinnamon [optional]
  • 1/2-1T chia seeds [optional]
  1. On med/med-low heat add all ingredients together and whisk until combined.
  2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-8min, whisking occasionally, until desired consistency is reached.

Tips:

-If you realize you’ve left your oats on the burner a little too long and they are too dry and thick, just add a little more more milk or water, -whisk and let cook another minute.

-For an extra protein kick, whisk in 1 egg white in the last 2min of cooking and let simmer.  The oats will become creamier, fluffier and have a nice addition of protein.  You may see small white pieces from the egg white but I have never noticed actually “tasting” it. 

-Whisking too much can cause your oats to become gelatinous + sticky.  I try to stir as few times as possible. 

-In the fall + winter I LOVE adding in pumpkin puree to my oats.  You can sub out the banana and instead add 1/3c pumpkin puree or add it in on top of the banana.  I also add in other spices like ginger, nutmeg + cloves.

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Mix in whatever toppings you like.  The options are endless:

  • peanut butter
  • maple cinnamon almond butter 
  • coconut butter
  • jelly
  • fresh berries
  • cacao nibs
  • granola
  • muffin pieces
  • nut butter sauce [heat 1T nut butter with 1T milk for about 20sec + stir]
  • sucanat
  • maple syrup
  • honey
  • coconut flakes
  • banana soft serve
  • pumpkin butter
  • pumpkin puree

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When I stir in fresh berries, I do so at the very end, once the heat is off.  It takes the cold bite off of the fruit but still leaves them with a great texture. 

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Scottish Oats – This is my newest obsession.  I absolutely love the creamy, sweet texture.  It is not as smooth as oat bran and fluffs up from all of the liquid I add.  There has been a lot of question as to how 1/4c fills me up but as you can see above, it is more nutritionally dense than rolled oats.  It fills me up just the same, if not better and I do round the 1/4c ;)

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Scottish Oats – How To:

  • 1/4c [rounded] Scottish Oats
  • 1 1/4c water
  • ~1/4-1/2c milk
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/2-1T chia seeds
  • 1/2 thinly sliced banana
  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Whisk in the scottish oats and reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. After about 5-7min [varies depending on gas/electric and stainless/nonstick] when the oats are fairly thick, add in milk, vanilla, cinnamon, chia, and banana.
  4. Briskly whisk to combine.
  5. Let cook for about another 5min until desired consistency is reached.

Tips:

-Again, the chia seeds, cinnamon and vanilla are all optional.

-If wanting to add 1 egg white, add it in the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Whisk in and let simmer for 2min.

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I love making nut butter sauces, as it spreads around nicely on the oats.  I am also currently really enjoying cacao nibs.  These are not like chocolate chips but have a great crunch + flavor along with nutritional benefits of their own.

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Steel Cut Oats – My 2nd favorite oats are Steel Cut.  At my first 2 attempts, I did not like these at all.  They seemed very gelatinous, but that was my fault!  I really think the key is adding enough liquid, not stirring too much, and letting cook long enough.  Steel cut oats have a great nutty flavor, and a creamy + crunchy texture that I love.  These cook in a very similar way to Scottish Oats, except they do take a little longer.  With all my talking about Steel Cut oats I got my dad to try them [an oat lover] and he loved them!  These are the least processed form of oats [excluding the whole oat groat] that you will find.  Again, you only need about 1/4c serving to fill you up like your 1/2c of rolled oats.

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Boiling the water.

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Whisk in the Steel Cut Oats [just like with Scottish Oats].

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Let cook about 10-16min until most of the liquid is absorbed.

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Add the milk, cinnamon, bannaa, vanilla, and chia at this point + whisk to combine.

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Result? A HUGE plate of oats.  Compare this photo with the Rolled Oats photo on the same plate.  Can you see the volume difference??  Scottish + Steel Cut produce a bigger volume of oats which I love. 

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Steel Cut Oats – How To:

  • 1/4c [rounded] Steel Cut oats
  • 1 1/4c water
  • ~1/4-1/2c milk
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1/2t cinnamon
  • 1/2-1T chia seeds
  • 1/2 thinly sliced banana
  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Whisk in the Steel Cut oats and reduce heat to a simmer.
  3. After most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10-17min [varies depending on gas/electric and stainless/nonstick], add in milk, vanilla, cinnamon, chia, and banana.
  4. Briskly whisk to combine.
  5. Let cook for about another 5-7min until desired consistency is reached.

Tips:

-Again, the chia seeds, cinnamon and vanilla are all optional.

-If wanting to add 1 egg white, add it in the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Whisk in and let simmer for 2min.

        (7 of 7)

        This morning’s plate of Scottish Oats was deeelicious. 

        Toppings:

        • peanut butter/jelly/walnuts/cacao nibs

        (2 of 6)

        Delicious!

        (3 of 6)

        Do you have any OAT questions?  If you want to learn more about the nutritional benefits of oats, here are a few links:

        1. WHFoods
        2. Eat More Oats

        Now on an un-oat-related note….

        My parents sent us the most amazing thing everrrr.

        A cast iron panini press!!!!!

        (4 of 6)

        Before I even got to use it, I got a text from Chris while I was babysitting saying:  panini press = awesome.

        Yes, this is going to get the huz to cook more!!  I am extremely excited about this and have wanted a panini press for some time now.  Another reason for excitement is that this is a pan rather than another plug-in appliance.  I will post more about this soon and the actual reason my parents sent it to us.  There was a meaning behind it!

        Now when shopping I think, how can I make this in the panini press??  It’s not only great for samiches but any indoor grilling.  I’m SO excited to use this as much as possible.

        Dinner tonight – tempeh quesadillas  

        1. Crumble tempeh and saute in a greased pan with any veggies + seasonings you like.  I used organic bell peppers, cumin/garlic/chili powder/salt/cayenne.
        2. After the panini press was heated over med-low heat I added cheese + salsa to the tortillas then topped the tempeh mixture and a little more cheese [for sticking!], folded in half and stuck in the pan.
        3. Smash with the lid, cook, flip + cook some more.
        4. DONE!

        (5 of 6)

        Topped with some plain yogurt.  Flipping delicious.

        (1 of 1)

        Workin’ the bod:

        • I hopped back on my bike today for a 16+ mile ride at the park.
        • Came home and immediately did 20min Yoga for Cyclists from yogadownload.  It was AWEsome to actually do this yoga workout right after cycling.  LOVED it.
        • Foam rolled for a few minutes on my sore butt + other body parts!!  Lunges + chin-ups from yesterday have left me really sore :)
        • Walked the doggles.

        Time to put this bod to bed….night!

        <3 Ash

        As if this post wasn’t long enough….I’ve updated my recipes page!!  I’m pretty excited about it because the breakfast section is MUCH more organized and I added a few new categories like “nut butters.”  The next step will be to add designations, such as: vegetarian/vegan/gluten free.  Hopefully it’s easier to navigate now! 

        Also updated is the VFF photo page. 

        For realz.  Goodnight!

        Reader Comments (76)

        Ah thankyou SO much for this post! The world makes that bit more sense to me now :D
        It's weird, over here I think I've only ever seen Scottish oats, rolled oats, and jumbo rolled oats (and oatbran). Nothing Irish...weird! Maybe it has a different name!?

        Ashley, most days I cannot see the photos on your blog at all. Also, your blog link "is not found" when I try and go directly to your site from Google Reader.

        Today, for some reason, the photos popped right up and I am able to go to your site to leave this message for you.

        I have tried different browsers but have the same results and yours is the only blog that acts this way.

        Any ideas why?

        Thanks!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy

        Cast iron panini press?! That sounds amazing!

        I also love steel cut oats - they are my favorite.

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

        I love that panini press!! so cool! this is a very helpful post..thanks!!! :)

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterteenagehealthfreak

        Great post Ashley! I'll definitely put this under my "favorites" for future reference :) Thanks for clearing it all up for me! Have a great day!

        What a great review of oats! I love scottish oats! They're my fav :)

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEstela @ Weekly Bite

        Great break down on oats! Very useful. I love raw rolled oats tossed into a smoothie. Mmm Mmm

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJL Goes Vegan

        Great review!

        I have wanted a panini press forever but was scared about cleaning it. Does is clean up good/easy?

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

        Love the oats tutorial! Rolled will awlways be my fave- then again, I've never tried scottish...

        And where can I get me a cast iron panini press? That looks amazing!!

        xo
        Kris

        Great oat post! Thanks for all the time you put into it....also, your tempeh quesadilla looks incredible!!! What a great idea to add tempeh to your quesadillas. I'm going to have to recreate it in my own kitchen, I think. :)

        This was truly a wonderful oat post lady! I can't wait to head downstairs for my steel cut oats now...

        Can't wait to see what else you make with the panini grill...i've been dying for one!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

        That was very informative--good job! Loves the pictures of you making each type too! The panini press looks awesome, that is so cool that there isn't a plug!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHealthy Heddleston

        holy crap, this is by far the best post on oats that I've seen in probably forever. So much wonderful information.

        You are so good to us! I'm sure it took some time to do that research :-) but it is appreciated!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristy

        you. are. intense.

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKel-C

        Great oats! Very informative! I linked this post to a friend who was unaware that there were different variety of oats, and also didn't know what else to put in/on oats besides brown sugar. :)

        awesome oaty post :D definitely buying more oats and trying with all the goodies you add to them. plain oats shall never see my bowl again.
        also, looking forward to seeing all of your panini creations!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

        So informative with the oats! Thanks!

        um, you've just inspired me to go get a cast iron panini press...how cool is that?!?!?!?! and i love the pictures of the sandwiches...YUM :)

        Yay! Love the encyclopedia of oats! I'm sure I'll be referencing it often. I love your panini press and I love that it's orange! So pretty!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah R

        Oh I love this post! So informative for oatmeal noobs

        I have that panini press (it's Mario Batali, right?) and I love it! Everything tastes better smushed and toasted, IMO!
        I also use it to grill veggies inside - works especially well with peppers and onions. My only complaint is that it is sooo heavy... but I guess that's just cast-iron for ya!

        Love the Oats Education, so many choices and flavors - yummy.
        That cast iron panini press is the bomb!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBekah @ runtrackmind

        Great post about oats; very informative That panini press looks absolutely amazing - have fun trying it out!

        Awesome post! I actually never really knew that's what oat bran is?! I'm weird with oats because I just keep cycling through the list: I will eat lots of one type of oats till I get sick of it and then move on to the next one, and repeat.

        Looking forward to all the panini recipes you are going to come up with!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNienke at Revel

        for anyone out there who doesn't have a panini press.....i reccomend filling a tea kettle with water and applying pressure down on your panini. the bottom can get a little gooey from your bread or any fillings but it works well.

        ps. ashley....would love to see some info on this foam rolling!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen

        this post was amazing!!! I have been LOVING the steel cut oats and I think you may have just converted meinto a scottish oat lover! i need to get some! i am all about volume and it seems as though the scottish and steel cut really do fluff up and create a big portion! thank you so much for the detailed explanation, Ashley!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi(onefitfoodie)

        I love this post! Thank you for all of this wonderful information. Who knew there were so many oats? I got to get my booty in gear and try all of these!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

        Thanks for the great post!

        Our castiron panini press is the best wedding present we got! We use it for SO much more than anything else we have. You will love it!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

        Ashley, thank you very much for the super informative oat post! :)

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarina

        Risotto style Oats, do it.

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

        Great tutorial for one of my very favorite foods!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGena

        Thanks for this post! It is very informative and you broke it down great. I will also appreciate you making a Gluten Free, etc. tab on your recipe page since I am trying to avoid gluten as much as possible!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

        I actually needed this educational lesson. I've never seen the full oat breakdown, thank you!! Very helpful...and tasty:)

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

        Thanks for a post on my most favorite-ist food ever! Oats are the bomb :)

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

        Great post! I've had many different types of oats but was never sure exactly what made them different. Very interesting!

        I read this before I made breakfast this morning and had some scottish oats for the first time in a while, so good! I decided to try throwing in some frozen raspberries (didn't have any fresh) and it worked perfectly. The heat from the oats dethawed them perfectly. Mmmmm.

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

        Guess that answered all my questions about oats :) I just kind of assumed it was all the same haha

        Thanks for the Oat Info! I love Scottish oats too! Also, I posted a link on my site to your Chocolate Avocado Cake...I made Peanut Butter Cupcakes with that recipe...SO GOOD!!!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

        This post came at just the right time! I just bought a can of steel cut oats and was wondering how to cook them. Since I've been reading your awesome blog for a few months, I figured this would be a good place to look, and I was right! The recipe was lovely!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLissi

        woah, you are an oat expert just like Kath. lol Thanks for this post, it really came in handy. And I love the recipes too.

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourt&Whit

        Really informative post!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDivya Vikram

        Hi! I've been visiting your blog for quite some time already but this is my first time commenting. I'm quite the oat fanatic as well and this post is the best oat tutorial I've come across! I can't really pick a type of oat favourite; they go on rotations :D

        I love your photos too!

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersabrina

        [...] from The Edible Perspective posted a wonderfully informative blog about oatmeal yesterday. Said blog inspired me to give steel cut oats another [...]

        you may have answered this before, but what exactly is suctant? I've seen it in several recipes I want to try, so I think I will be making a trip to the store to get some tomorrow. Is it considered a sugar subsitute? How healthy is it?
        Thanks! :)

        July 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

        Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I tried making my rolled oats on the stove for the first time this morning and they are oh so delicious. I'm converted! I really want to try the other types of oats you describe.... must check the bulk bins at Whole Foods next chance I have!

        July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichal

        A CAST IRON panini press?! I didn't know they existed!! Oh my, the world is your oyster with that, huh. Those quesadillas sound ridiculous.

        This post is so informative! Thank you!! I gotta try those scottish oats, you got me convinced.

        Thank you so much for this post, totally awesome! I really like how you included nutrition info and how-to's! Just made my first bowl of Scottish oats with vegan banana soft serve, AMAZING!

        July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

        Ooooh that is probably an awesome topper! I'm so glad you like the Scottish!

        July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

        Hahaha, yes, ridiculous indeed! Let me know when you try the Scottish!

        July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

        Welcome!! You can find steel cut in the bulk bins but not Scottish.

        July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

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