Vegan Breakfast Recipes: Grain-Free Overnight "Oats"

September 30, 2022
Love overnights oats but can't find a recipe that isn't loaded with sugar and processed foods? Try this clever, gluten-free and grain-free adaptation for a healthier morning meal.

A version of this recipe previously appeared on

I'm just going to throw it out there: I love mushy food.
I know, I know--that's totally disgusting and revolting and...well, whatever other words you can think of to aptly describe how gross "mushy food" is. But I'm a fan, and that's all there is to it.
Which is probably why I love oatmeal. More specifically, overnight oats.

Everyone from bloggers and writers to Instagram-famous models and trainers seems to swear by the ease and convenience of overnight oats, but for some reason, many of the glorified recipes tossed up onto social media feeds contain fattening additives and, often, animal by-products. We're talking whey protein, chocolate milk, Quest bars, brown sugar, cane sugar, white sugar, other forms of sugar, chocolate chips, apple pie name it, I've seen an overnight oats recipe for it, and it's so confusing. Here I am, thinking overnight oats are supposed to be the dry, flaky oats you mix with some hot water and maybe some fresh fruit; meanwhile, people are transforming their Starbucks' PSLs into overnight fridge oats.

Overwhelmed by the amount of choices and variations, I wanted to try something a little more simple, a little more vegan and maybe, just maybe, a little more oat-free.
Yes, oat free.
Just in case you've never heard of these tiny little, bead-like superfoods called chia seeds, allow me to briefly explain just what the heck they are and why you should be substituting them for your typical rolled oats. The itty-bitty, grey-ish beads are actually derived from a plant in the mint family and are native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala. With a pretty impressive nutritional profile--chia seeds contain calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, among a host of other benefits--they've become one of the world's most notorious superfoods. When mixed with liquids, they expand to absorb an incredible amount of said liquids and develop a slightly slimy texture that, though kind of disgusting, is perfectly tasteless. They work wonders as a binding agent, which is why many use a chia-seed-and-water mixture to sub out eggs in baking recipes.
They also happen to be perfect as an alternative to oats. Seriously! Which is why I decided to take to my pantry and whip up some overnight choats (chia-oats) with the tiny little bombs of nutrition, using the beautiful autumn season as inspiration. If you're looking to try something new for breakfast, want a filling yet healthy snack for work, or simply want to up your overnight oats game, give this recipe a go--and then make it for your friends and "fool" them into eating some healthy "oats" ;)
Vegan Breakfast Recipes: Grain-Free Overnight "Oats"

Vegan Breakfast Recipes: Grain-Free Overnight “Oats”

Recipe Type: Breakfast Detox
utensils YIELDS 4 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and allspice powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar, coconut nectar, or other natural sweetener
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
  • 1 cup boiled (hot) water
        graphic for recipe card


1. Add your chia seeds and boiled water to a heat-proof bowl and stir only until the chia seeds are incorporated into the water.

2. Mix in your spices, vanilla extract, turmeric powder, and sweetener of choice until well incorporated.

3. Stir in your coconut milk until well incorporated.

4. Allow the choats to sit, uncovered, for 3–5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the chia seeds.

5. Add an extra tablespoon or two of your coconut milk if the choats are dry or too sticky.

6. Place in the container of your choice, cover and let rest in the fridge overnight

Hot tip #1: you can substitue the coconut milk for another vegan milk of your choice, such as almond milk, which will give the choats a lovely, nutty taste.

Hot tip #2: sprinkle a few dried goji berries and mulberries on top for a layer of added sweetness and superfoods!

Also by Jacalyn: 4 Delicious and Cozy Vegan Hot Chocolate Alternatives

Related: Caramelized Banana Bread Oatmeal

Vegan Chocolate Protein Pancakes

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Photos: Jacalyn Beales

After several years spent traveling the world, Jacalyn settled back in her native home of Toronto, Canada to earn her Degree in Classical Studies. A dedicated wildlife advocate, she has for the past three years written on the issues and conflicts threatening the world’s wildlife and advocates for the conservation of Africa’s lions. Jacalyn’s dedication to and involvement in wildlife activism inspired her to join the global movement of conserving wildlife and living an ethically conscious, eco-friendly lifestyle. As a writer, she has had many opportunities to report on wildlife conflict and, through her writing, raise awareness and become a voice for conservation. In 2014, Jacalyn founded the social media community called PACH, through which she works with global NGOs and NPOs whose efforts are helping to save Africa’s lion. Read Jacalyn's work on


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