Easy vegan baked oatmeal brightens the day with a gluten-free oatmeal 'cake' designed for a healthy quick fix and grin-provoking semi-sweet flavors.
This whole-food, plant-based delight is powered by oats, using simple ingredients, with minimal-fuss cooking. It contains no refined sugar, is made without oil, and is naturally gluten-free. So, what are you waiting for? ‘Break the fast,' with healthy ingredients that taste like cake.
This post contains helpful tips and tricks to ensure success on your first attempt. Below, you'll find a handy table of contents with links. But if you're in a rush, please use the link at the top to jump to the recipe card at the end!
Table of Contents
Why You'll Love This Recipe
There is a lot to love about this recipe. You don't need fresh fruit, although a nice side of banana slices, orange, or pomegranate rounds it out nicely.
Cater to your own preferences by mixing and matching any combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit that you like. Switch up the spices, beyond cinnamon and nutmeg, by grabbing the allspice or pumpkin pie spice.
Breakfast is yours. Take it back!
Another best part of this recipe is meal prep. Have it baked and ready to slice into individual servings on the go. You can also prep all the ingredients a day before, then bake while you're picking out your clothes. Draw the whole family to the table with enticing aromas of baking and the promise of a healthy vegan breakfast that delivers.
📋 Key ingredients & notes
Rolled oats – Rolled oats (old-fashioned oats) yield the best texture. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but sometimes they are processed with ingredients that are not. Be sure to check the labels. Quick oats or instant oats are more highly processed than rolled oats and don’t bake the same. I’ve not used steel-cut oats, which are sliced, not rolled, oat groats.
Baking powder – Baking powder is the leavening agent (the lifter). That’s what creates a light ‘cake’ texture. Don’t confuse it with baking soda. It won’t yield the same result.
Flax seeds – Flax seeds, when mixed with water, mimic the behavior of eggs for baking. Importantly, when making a flax egg, be sure to use ground flax seeds. You can always use a spice grinder if you only have whole flax seeds.
Apple sauce – For plant-based baking, applesauce is often used in place of oil. Use applesauce that doesn’t contain added sugar or puree a fresh apple in a pinch. We like the apple flavor, but ripe bananas also work as a substitute or if you are going for a banana bread flavor.
Peanut butter – Use unsweetened peanut butter if possible. Smooth mixes more evenly than chunky, but it all depends on the texture you are aiming for. If your peanut butter has salt, you may want to leave added salt out. Nut butter binds the ingredients. Substitute almond butter or cashew butter if desired. Because there is no added oil, like coconut oil or vegan butter, this is the primary source of fat. So go for good quality.
Maple syrup –Maple syrup compliments the unsweetened applesauce and spices. Date paste is another healthy option. You can also use an equal amount of coconut sugar or brown sugar.
Vanilla extract – Any excuse! I used a whole teaspoon.
Plant milk – Oat milk or almond milk are go-to, not dairy milk preferences, although soy milk is always an option. Coconut milk might be too thick or rich.
Chopped nuts and dried fruit – Use ½ a cup of your favorite fruits and nuts. This recipe uses cranberries and walnuts, but the options a nearly limitless. You might even consider vegan chocolate chips.
- Make the flax eggs first. You need 15 minutes for the ground flax seeds and water to set. That’s plenty of time to gather the rest of the ingredients and preheat the oven.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Chop the walnuts and add them to the cranberries in a small dish.
- Even at room temperature, peanut butter can be stubborn to blend smooth. For this reason, I recommend adding the peanut butter, apple sauce, and maple syrup to the bowl with the flax eggs. Grab a whisk and smooth it out.
- Once you measure out the plant milk, mix in the vanilla. Ah, vanilla milk!
- Add the peanut butter mixture to the oat mixture. Then start adding the milk. Once all the ingredients are mixed, add the cranberries and walnuts.
- Mixing doesn’t take long, so you can start preheating the oven to 375 F (190 C) after making the flax egg. I’ve always used an 8 x 11- inch glass baking dish for baked oats, and it's never stuck to the bottom. You can use a square baking dish or cake tin of a similar size. Avoid using a larger baking dish so that the batter isn’t super thin.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best substitute for ground flaxseed in flax eggs is ground chia seeds. Use the same amount, 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water to replace 1 egg.
If you are looking for a healthy sweetener, consider using date paste or other fruit pastes. You can easily make fruit paste by soaking the fruit then pureeing it in a blender or food processor.
If you want to skip the peanut butter or other nut butter, sunflower seed paste is a good option. You can also use pureed chickpeas.
Either leave the vanilla out entirely or consider adding another flavor such as almond or perhaps coconut.
A slice of baked oatmeal makes an easy and healthy breakfast straight from the baking dish. It also makes a lovely addition to your favorite brunch recipes, like vegan bacon or sausage, or with a simple mixed fruit salad.
This healthy baked oatmeal can be stored at room temperature. It stays fresh for 4 days, which is the longest we’ve ever had it around. Simply cover the baking dish and try not to keep cutting pieces every time you come into the kitchen.
You can also keep individual servings in an airtight container for a healthy breakfast for busy mornings when you are on the go.