Oatmeal Breakfast Bar + Creamy Vanilla Porridge Recipe

Even though I’m a die-hard smoothie/smoothie bowl fan, lately all I’ve been craving is a big bowl of oats for breakfast. With the mornings getting colder and gloomier, it’s the only thing stopping me from crawling back into bed and falling asleep.

So I was really excited when I got invited to the kickoff party for Oatober, a month long celebration of all things oats, hosted by Quaker Oats—my go-to oatmeal growing up. It took place at OatMeals café, a cozy oatmeal bar in the West Village, where we got to create our own bowls from an endless list of sweet and savory options (who would have thought to add pesto and sundried tomatoes or make a Chinese congee bowl with a poached egg, scallions, sesame oil, and soy sauce?), and choose from over 80 different toppings. Yep, they even had graham cracker crumble and mini marshmallows—and of course healthy options like fresh fruit and nutritious superfoods. It was basically an ice cream shop for oatmeal lovers.

I was there with a few of my fellow foodie friends in NYC (Clean Food Dirty City, Rachel Mansfield, and the Crunchy Radish to name a few), and we all gave it our own twist. I ended up going for the classic and clean steel cut oats topped with berries, banana slices, pumpkin seeds, goji berries, almond butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Next time, I might go even crazier and add some nilla wafer, caramel drizzle, or even try one of their savory toppings if I’m feeling adventurous.

For those of you who can’t make it to OatMeals and sample their wonderful flavors and toppings, here’s a fun and easy idea you can try at home. Cook a delicious pot of creamy porridge, lay out all your toppings and sauces in pretty bowls, and voila! Oatmeal breakfast bar is done. You’ll feel like you’re having dessert for breakfast. Plus, it’s a fancy way to host your friends and family for an easy, no-fuss breakfast on the weekends (especially when you’re too lazy to cook anything else!).

For the porridge base, I highly recommend my go-to vanilla porridge recipe below. It’s got the perfect ratio of almond milk to water. It’s super creamy and sweet thanks to the mashed banana, and extra satisfying thanks to the flax seeds and almond butter. This porridge also makes for an excellent leftover—just store it in the fridge, reheat it with a splash of almond milk the next morning, and you’ve got a delicious and healthy breakfast in less than 30 seconds.

As for the toppings! If there’s one thing I learned from making countless oatmeals for Instagram, it’s that the best oatmeals have a combination of fresh fruit, dried fruit, crunchy toppings like nuts or seeds, and a generous drizzle of sauce or syrup on top (this is key!). Lucky for you, I’ve also shared my 4-ingredient raw chocolate sauce that will transform your bowl into the dreamiest oatmeal sundae. Enjoy!

P.S. If you’re looking for more oatspiration (yes, you can even make carrot cake bread or veggie burgers!), head on over to Quakeroatober.com for new recipes added every day this month. Happy Oatober!


For The Creamy Vanilla Porridge

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 ripe mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (use less if you’re making the chocolate sauce)
  • 2 tsp flax seeds
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

For The Raw Chocolate Sauce

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp tahini

Breakfast Bar Topping Options

  • Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, banana slices
  • Dried fruits: Raisins, dried cherries, goji berries, dried apricots, dried cranberries
  • Crunchy toppings: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, coconut flakes, granola, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, chia seeds, dark chocolate chips
  • Sauces & syrups: Tahini, choice of nut butter (I’m loving this ABC nut butter), maple syrup, raw chocolate sauce, chia jam

Inspired by the toppings bar at OatMeals. Feel free to put your own twist on it!

Prep time: 5 min / Cook time: 10 min / Total time: 15 min
Cuisine: Vegan, gluten free
Serves: 2


For The Creamy Vanilla Porridge

  1. Add oats, water, almond milk, vanilla, and salt to saucepan and bring to boil over high heat.
  2. Lower heat to simmer and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add mashed banana and almond butter and stir well. Add a splash of almond milk if needed. Let it simmer for another minute.
  4. Once the porridge is cooked, remove from heat and stir in the flax seeds and maple syrup.

For The Raw Chocolate Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over low heat.
  2. Stir in maple syrup, cacao powder, and tahini until the mixture is well combined into a thick chocolate sauce.


Photographs by Stephanie Park

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