Start your day energized, feeling full and ready to go! These yummy high protein overnight oats combine rolled oats, hemp hearts and chia seeds, plant-based milk and natural peanut butter. They’re made without protein powder yet pack in a whopping 27 grams of plant-based protein! This breakfast recipe is vegan, gluten free, and I’ve shared a low FODMAP option too!

hand holding spoon in overnight oats
Love these high protein overnight oats? You’ll also love my blackberry pie overnight oats, and my blueberry chia overnight oats!

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Oatmeal really is the breakfast of champions: affordable, easy to prepare, and so so good for you…and if you try my scrumptious apple pie oats, I promise you’ll never say oats are boring again!!

As a dietitian, I love creating plant-based recipes with whole grain oats. Oats are a nutritional powerhouse: they boast plenty of fibre to boost your gut health, B vitamins for energy metabolism and minerals like iron. Which makes oats are a wonderful whole grain breakfast all year long….

…but what if it’s too hot out to eat a warm breakfast? 

…or what if your mornings are chaos, and you don’t have time to cook oats?

I get it: I’ve got two kids so my mornings look nothing like those influencers who rise gently with the sun to do their journaling and recite affirmations while they cook breakfast. Until recently, my mornings started with one or both of my children either A) jumping on me while I tried to ignore them sleep or B) literally poking me in the head.

It was only after I managed to get them out of the house and stumble to my desk, still in my pyjamas to start work, that I realized (sometimes) I had forgotten to feed myself! So I need plant-based breakfast ideas that make my mornings easier.

Time to fall in love with overnight oats my friends, which I have to admit, I probably eat more often than warm oatmeal because it requires zero morning thought. BONUS: you can make it taste like dessert, like my unbelievable tiramisu overnight oats.

Overnight oats are not a new invention: the Swiss have been eating a soaked oats called bircher muesli for over a hundred years (curious? try the cinnamon oranger bircher in Good For Your Gut cookbook YUM)

And these high protein overnight oats – yes, made WITHOUT protein powder – are one of those recipes that just ticks all the boxes for me

  • Takes 5 minutes to prepare
  • Is a perfect on–the-go vegan breakfast
  • High in plant-based protein, fibre and minerals and 100% of your daily omega 3 requirement
  • Keeps you full and satisfied for hours 
  • Made with whole plant foods

Grab your ingredients for these high protein overnight oats

These overnight oats are made with just 9 ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry, like oats and peanut butter. I’ve packed these overnight oats with nuts and seeds so they’re super nutrient-dense.

high protein overnight oats ingredients in glass bowls
Just 9 basic ingredients – oats, hemp hearts, soy milk, chia, cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla, apple, and peanut butter!
  • Soy milk: it’s time to get back on board with soy milk (unless you’re allergic!!) Soy milk is super creamy and SO much higher in protein, naturally, than other plant-based milks, with about 8 grams per cup.
  • Oats: I used old-fashioned rolled oats for this recipe, because I prefer their more filling texture. Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a fermentable soluble fibre that helps to lower cholesterol and boost the microbiome.
  • Hemp hearts: my not-so-secret weapon for boosting protein! 3 tablespoons of hemp hearts contain 10 grams of protein plus a ton of other vitamins and minerals. 
  • Natural peanut butter: natural peanut butter contains healthy fats to help give a creamy texture and 3 grams of protein per tablespoon with no added sugars
  • Whole or ground chia: chia helps to thicken the overnight oats, you can also substitute another tablespoon of oats if you don’t have chia.
  • Maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon: help to sweeten and make these overnight oats super yummy…don’t skip them!
  • Apple: I crave something fresh, and with a bit of crunch, to my overnight oats. I love apple here, with the peanut butter, but you could add any fruit you have on hand!

Why add extra protein to overnight oats?

Oats are incredibly nutritious, but if you’ve ever been hungry like 30 minutes after a bowl of oatmeal…it’s probably because oats on their own aren’t super high in protein or fats – two nutrients that help to keep you full and satisfied.

Adding plant-based protein and healthy fats from nuts and seeds to a meal help to slow down the rate at which your food is digested and absorbed, helping to create a slow and steady rise in blood sugars, which keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.

How to make high protein overnight oats without protein powder!

Enter these high protein overnight oats, which I wanted to create without protein powder because, well, they can be kind of pricey (and some taste downright awful).

Protein powders can be really convenient but they aren’t the only way to win the protein game! The combination of soy milk and hemp hearts contains a whopping 18 grams of protein all on its own. 

These overnight oats are as efficient as it gets: all you need to do is dump everything into a mason jar and stir it all together in 5 minutes.

FAQ: Can you heat overnight oats?

Yes, absolutely!! Just zip them in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or pop them on the stove over medium until warmed through.

Why these overnight oats are so good for you

Overnight oats aren’t just a time saver, they’re incredibly nutritious, with plenty of fibre, minerals and protein to nourish your body and keep you feeling energized all morning.

Soluble fibre: both oats and chia seeds contain soluble fibre, which forms a gel in the digestive tract, helping to regulate elimination while also feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Oats are an important source of beta glucan fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol and boost the gut microbiome

Minerals: the hemp hearts in this recipe are packed with vital minerals like iron, which is needed to build red blood cells; magnesium, which is helpful for blood pressure and and nervous system function as well as zinc, critical for the health of gut cells and immune function

Protein: Oats contain some protein, but I’ve boosted them with a combination of soy milk (8g) and hemp hearts (10g). Protein is critical for growth and repair of our cells, in addition to building enzymes and helping our immune system function properly.

Plant diversity: into gut health? then you need to know that in addition to eating more high fiber foods, you also want to focus on eating a diversity of plants. Data from the American Gut Project confirms that eating more than 30 different plant foods a week helps boost the health of the microbiome! These overnight oats contain 7 different whole plant foods.

hand holding jar of overnight oats
Once the oats have soaked, they will have a loose, cereal-like texture. To make a thicker oat, just use less soy milk!

FAQ: What is the best type of oats for overnight oats?

You can make overnight oats out of ANY oat, but in my opinion, the best oats for an overnight oats recipe are traditional rolled oats. Quick oats work, but they are a bit mushier and I like the texture of rolled oats here. If you have quick oats on hand, use a heaping measurement. So for this recipe, use a heaping ⅓ cup instead of a level ⅓ cup.

Steel cut oats take a really long time to soak; you can make steel cut overnight oats but you want to make them at least 24 hours in advance or better yet, do a hot soak.

Tips, Tricks + Substitutions

  • These overnight oats will last 4-5 days in the fridge, without the apple. And yes, you can freeze them! Just place in fridge overnight to thaw.
  • These overnight oats have a more fluid, cereal-like texture which I really love…I’ve been finding traditional overnight oats too thick! If you love a more traditional texture, just reduce the soy milk to ¾ cup (175 mL)…you’ll only lose 2g protein.
  • I highly recommend adding the apple in the morning, so it is fresh and crisp. No time for that? Here’s a hack to help prevent browning: when you dice the apple, toss it in a teaspoon of lemon juice, which helps to stop the browning reaction.
  • Gluten free? Make sure you buy GF certified oats and hemp hearts. Nut free? Use sunflower seed butter or tahini.
  • Low FODMAP? Swap out high FODMAP soy milk for almond or macadamia and use a low FODMAP fruit like strawberries. You’ll still get 19 grams protein here! 
  • Looking for more crunch? Add some chopped nuts!

More high protein vegan breakfast ideas

high protein overnight oats in blue cup with spoon

High protein overnight oats (vegan!)

Start your day energized, feeling full and ready to go! These yummy high protein overnight oats combine rolled oats, hemp hearts and chia seeds, plant-based milk and natural peanut butter. They're made without protein powder yet pack in a whopping 27 grams of plant-based protein! This breakfast recipe is vegan, gluten free, and I've shared a low FODMAP option too!
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, or almond milk if low FODMAP
  • cup rolled oats, gluten free if needed
  • 3 tablespoons hemp hearts, gluten free if needed
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds, whole or ground (learn the benefits of ground chia seed)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, plus more to taste if desired
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ apple, diced

Instructions 

  • In a 500 mL mason jar or bowl, mix together the oats, hemp hearts, peanut butter, chia, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.
  • Cover and place in fridge for at least 4 hours or up to 5 days. When ready to serve, add diced apple and sweeten to taste.

Notes

A few notes!!
I’ve made these oats more fluid than typical overnight oats, more like cereal, because sometimes my usual overnight oats just feel too thick, if that makes sense! You can create a more traditional texture by either increasing the oats to ½ cup or decreasing the soy milk to ⅔ cup or ¾ cup.
This is a hearty, energy-dense meal. Need something for a smaller appetite? Just eat half, you’ll still have almost 14 grams of protein, which is more than enough for smaller, less active bodies.
Need even more fuel? Bump up the oats to ½ cup.