Last Updated on April 14, 2022
Start your morning right with this healthy overnight oats recipe that’s supercharged with the power of elderberry. If you need breakfast to be quick but still packed with nutrition, this easy overnight oats recipe has you covered.
THIS HEALTHY OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPE WILL BECOME YOUR NEW FAVORITE BREAKFAST HACK
For the last six months or so I’ve been steeped in the long history of elderberry’s uses as a medicinal plant as I researched my new book, Everything Elderberry. I can’t tell you how many concoctions I’ve made with elderberries and elderflowers in that time, and there have been some definite winners. This overnight oats recipe is one of them!
I’ve turned to elderberry as part of my wellness strategy for years now, and adding it to my favorite nutrient-packed overnight oats recipe not only makes it just about the best thing your immune system ever got in the morning, it makes breakfast delicious.
Elderberry’s health benefits go way beyond their impressive ability to combat flu, by the way. Packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants, they’re good for reducing inflammation and have benefits for metabolic health and your circulatory system as well. Here’s more on the health benefits of elderberries and some delicious other ways to get them.
To learn more about elderberry’s long history of medicinal use, what the latest research tells us about its effect on health, as well as more than 60 delicious recipes for using elderflowers and elderberries, be sure to check out Everything Elderberry. It involved months of research, dozens of interviews, and a ton of kitchen experiments. It contains information on elderberries and elderflowers you can’t find anywhere else.
The other ingredients in this overnight oats recipe are also targeted to help feed your immune system what it needs to battle all those viruses going around at this time of year. These elderberry overnight oats are also a great way to get some immune-boosting nutrients into your kiddos before they rush off to school.
SO WHAT ARE OVERNIGHT OATS?
If you haven’t tried overnight oats before, you’re in for a treat. Mixing oats with liquid and spices and other yummy add-ins and letting them soak in the fridge overnight does two amazing things:
1) You don’t need to cook the oats. The soaking process makes them tender and yummy.
2) Soaking breaks down the phytic acid in the oats and seeds, which makes the nutrients more available and the oats more digestible.
WHAT MAKES THIS OVERNIGHT OATS RECIPE SO GOOD FOR YOU?
All six ingredients regularly make lists of top superfoods, foods exceptionally rich in compounds linked to better health. They are:
Elderberry syrup: An antioxidant-packed little berry, elderberry is especially prized for its ability to shield your body from attack by viruses. You can use this research-backed homemade elderberry syrup recipe and get additional benefits from antiviral and inflammation-reducing (and delicious!) spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. You can also buy elderberry extract or syrup made from fresh berries from Norm’s Farms here.
Chia seeds: One of my all-time favorite superfoods, these little seeds are packed with nutrition. They’re a great source of vegan protein, magnesium, and omega-3 fats, the kinds most of us don’t get enough of. They’re also awesome in chia pudding.
Yogurt: Full of protein, calcium, and most importantly, gut-health promoting probiotics, yogurt is a great ingredient for stoking your immune system. Make your own yogurt for an easy way to save money on a breakfast staple and cut down on plastic waste.
Sunflower seeds: My go-to when I think I’m fighting a cold, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E and copper, nutrients it’s easy to fall short on that are important for immune function. They also have substantial amounts of other important nutrients like magnesium, B1, and B6. When you soak them in overnight oats, they somehow get crunchier and make a great substitute for nuts, good for those avoiding nuts, and also less expensive.
Flax meal: I throw flax in everything. Besides its lovely nutty flavor, it adds more healthy fats as well as fiber and an antioxidant called lignans. Here’s more on the health benefits of flax.
Oats: Besides being chewy and yummy, oats contain manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and antioxidants and as well as plenty of a soluble fiber, which is great for gut health also. Oats are naturally gluten-free but sometimes get contaminated with small amounts of gluten during processing. If you’re avoiding gluten, look for certified gluten-free oats. This recipe works best with old-fashioned oats. I’m partial to a kind called thick rolled oats that I get in the bulk bins at my co-op.
Looking for other ways to use elderberries? Here are 20 uses for elderberry to try using fresh, dried, or frozen berries.
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SHOULD OVERNIGHT OATS BE HOT OR COLD?
Most people eat them cold, which is especially nice when the weather is warm. In winter, you can warm them up for a cozy and nourishing breakfast or snack.
A lot of overnight oats recipes call for milk, but because the oats form their own milk when soaked in water, you can just use water if you like. It works well, and saves money and packaging. Though if you make your own almond or coconut milk, I imagine that would be rich and delicious! To make overnight oats vegan, you can also use a non-dairy yogurt.
Elderberry syrups vary a lot in flavor and concentration. My homemade syrup is on the thin side and full of healthy and delicious immune-boosting herbs that add flavor to these overnight oats. You should taste your oats after a couple tablespoons of syrup and add more if you want more flavor.
I recommend buying most of these ingredients in small quantities from the bulk bins at a natural foods store. Bring your own refillable jars, and you’ll save so much packaging (and probably money as well) while modeling trend-setting zero waste habits for everyone else in the store. But if you can’t do that, I’ve linked a number of the ingredients you can find on Amazon. Only the chia seeds cost less than what I can buy in the bulk aisle.
If you’re into foraging (or even if you aren’t yet), fresh elderberries are easy to find. Here’s what to know about elderberry identification. Foraged mulberries would also be great on top of these delicious overnight oats.
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cup filtered water
- 3-4 tablespoons elderberry syrup (homemade or bought)
- Optional toppings: shredded coconut, sliced almonds, blueberries
- Put all the ingredients except the elderberry syrup in a bowl or mason jar in the order listed. Putting the small seeds in first helps to keep them from floating to the top when you add the liquid.
- Put in the refrigerator overnight. You can also put it out on a counter for a 3-4 hours before you want to eat it. The probiotics should multiply at room temperature. If possible, soak for at least 8 hours to allow the phytates to break down.
- When you're ready to serve, swirl in elderberry syrup, which I think tastes better not fully mixed in. If you've used a less spicy syrup, you want to add a little cinnamon or ginger to jazz up the flavor.
Serve warm or cold. Add toppings if desired.
If you're using plain elderberry syrup without cloves, cinnamon, and other spices, you may want to add a pinch of your favorites. Nutmeg would also be great.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 329mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 9gSugar: 19gProtein: 11g
Nutritional information was auto-generated based on serving size, number of servings, and typical information for the ingredients listed. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall this website or author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate and complete.
Enjoy! What are your healthy breakfast go tos?
Love experimenting with elderberries and other ways to get super healthy food into your daily diet? You might like these recipes as well!
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Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.