Vegan Overnight Zoats (Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Oats)

by Alena
May 14, 2020
two glass jars of overnight zoats with sliced banana, figs and blueberries with a spoon in one of them

What could be healthier than eating oatmeal in the morning? How about vegan zoats? Zucchini oats are an ingenious way to introduce some veggies to your sweet morning meals.

After all, we’re talking about chocolate oatmeal here, which just happens to both be super delicious and feature some shredded zucchini tucked away inside.

If you’re a bit skeptical right now, we totally get that! Zucchini in your sweet oatmeal might sound strange or downright yucky at first, but vegan zoats are surprisingly tasty and the veggies are really well hidden.

Zucchini oats have been the latest trend in the health food world — and rightfully so. It’s just such a brilliant way to get your veggies early in the day!

Studies have shown that consuming the right type of breakfast can set you up for a day full of good food choices! It’s also correlated with a lower average BMI.

If you haven’t tried making zoats, you definitely should! 

Zucchini oats offer a slightly different texture compared to regular oatmeal, but you won’t be able to taste the vegetables at all if you choose delicious add-ins — the right spices and fruits will overpower even the slightest hint of veggies.

And to be honest, if you’re on board with zucchini bread, then why not move on to zucchini oats? 

The two are actually really similar, and luckily, zoats have nearly endless variations. You can find some great basic overnight zoats formulas below.

We personally love our regular chocolate oatmeal sugar-free with a pinch of cinnamon, fresh seasonal fruit and some crunchy nuts.

Healthy Eating Made Easy

Not only are these overnight zoats tasty and good for you, but they are also ridiculously convenient and so easy to make! 

Especially if you’re having trouble staying motivated to eat healthily, just having a beautiful chilled jar of ready-made overnight oats in the fridge makes choosing to eat a healthy breakfast the easiest decision in the world.

Our scrumptious chocolate zoats make for a well-balanced breakfast full of essential nutrients.

You’ve got slow carbs from the oats, vitamins and minerals from the zucchini and fruit, and as much healthy fat as you want from your nuts or nut butter. Flavored with a good amount of antioxidant-rich cocoa powder, which pairs super well with zucchini, you won’t notice any veggies in it at all.

The best part? Overnight zoats are prepared ahead of time so you can wake up with a convenient and tasty breakfast waiting for you in the fridge. 

Especially if you’re looking to lose some weight, adding zucchini to your meals is a great and nutrient-rich way to bulk up your portions without adding any noticeable amount of calories.

Here are all the things we love about overnight oats in general and zoats in particular.

female hands placing some fresh fruit on chocolate overnight oats next to bowls of blueberries, sliced zucchini and fits

Top Benefits of Our Overnight Oats

As you can see, making even traditional overnight oats without any zucchini is a huge step up from what’s often eaten for breakfast – we’re looking at you, sugary cereal, bacon and eggs.

Adding just a tiny bit of shredded zucchini to your oats will further improve your breakfast game! 

But in any case, having a batch of homemade vegan overnight oats in your fridge really helps you make healthier eating choices. This is the most convenient and healthy breakfast you can grab!

Remember that rolled oats themselves are really healthy and your add-ons can either increase or decrease the nutritional value of your overnight oats.

Full Vegan Nutrition Guide

What Are Zoats: Zucchini Oats 101

Zoats are rolled oats that are mixed with shredded zucchini and either served cold in the form of overnight oats or cooked on the stove to create creamy zucchini oatmeal. So, zoats are a recent trend in the health food world, not a typo.

Undetectably healthy, zoats can be a gateway to adding some more vegetables into the meals of children or picky eaters. If they are on board with chocolate oatmeal, these zucchini oats will easily find their way into their bellies.

Some recipes for zoats are made with egg whites, which are meant to help bind the ingredients together. As vegans, we skip that part and just use some healthy flax seeds instead. We haven’t found a binder to be truly necessary, either.

Your zucchini oatmeal can be spiced up to disguise the vegetables really well. From using cocoa powder or nibs to creamy coconut milk, nut butter and lots of berries, this nutrient-rich breakfast can be anything you want.

top view of table with different-sized bowls with oats, shredded zucchini, figs, blueberries and cocoa powder

How to Make Vegan Overnight Zoats

It’s surprisingly easy to make vegan overnight zoats. Start by grating a medium zucchini into a medium-sized bowl and add your other hand-selected ingredients, such as rolled oats, flax seeds, cocoa and cinnamon.

Give it a good stir, add some almond milk or coconut milk (depending on the creaminess you’re looking for and your weight goals) and mix again with a spoon to combine.

Divide the chocolate zucchini oat mixture into two jars or food containers and place them in your fridge until you’re ready to devour them.

Zoats can be enjoyed hot or cold the next morning – we like them straight out of the fridge topped with some seasonal fruit during summertime, but we also definitely crave a warm oatmeal breakfast when it’s chilly outside.

Overnight oats can simply be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes – this doesn’t just offer you a warm breakfast, but the cooking process also makes for a softer, creamier oatmeal that will disguise the grated zucchini even further.

Ingredients for Our Chocolate Zoats

Okay, so what do you need to make these healthy chocolate zoats in a matter of minutes? Here we go.

  • Rolled Oats – use between half a cup and a cup per serving; our recipe makes two filling servings but you can prepare larger batches of this oatmeal, too.
  • Zucchini – feel free to start with a small amount and work your way up once you trust this whole concept.
  • Cocoa & Cinnamon – cozy and delicious spices that take your oatmeal up a notch and hide the zucchini flavor really well!
  • Almond Milk – this is your low-calorie and low-protein vegan milk alternative but you can swap it for soy milk or coconut milk!
  • Fruit – bananas are pretty much a must to make this zucchini oatmeal nice and sweet; add other seasonal fruit, such as berries, apple or figs.

Some delicious vegan overnight oats we can recommend are this cold brew coffee overnight protein oats recipe, Eating Bird Food’s pumpkin pie overnight oats and this delicious and rich vegan strawberry cheesecake overnight oats recipe. Oh, my!  

Almond Vanilla Latte Recipe
white bowl with a mixture of oats, shredded zucchini and cocoa powder in which some almond milk is being mixed with a spoon

Basic Overnight Oats Formula

The sky’s the limit when it comes to zoats. To give you an idea of the many delicious combinations you can create, we wanted to share with you this basic overnight oats formula.

  1. Oats – typically made with old-fashioned rolled oats, but you can also use quick oats. Check for the gluten-free label if required.
  2. Liquid – you can let your oats soak in water for the cheapest and most convenient option; this makes for the lowest calorie version, too. Our recipe calls for some almond milk, but any plant-based milk alternative is fine! Try coconut milk, soy milk or oat milk.
  3. Healthy Fats – add some chia or flax seeds for a pudding-like texture in your overnight oats. When making zoats, these seeds help to bind the ingredients together. Stir in some nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, pumpkin, peanut, sunflower seed, etc.) for more creaminess and longer satiety.
  4. Sweeteners – go for wholesome versions like dried fruit or date paste, no-calorie stevia or agave and maple syrup; ripe banana might also make your overnight oats sweet enough.
  5. Fruit – speaking of sweet, add all of the delicious fruit you can imagine and have fun with your toppings! We recommend adding them in the morning; we love blueberries, apples, figs, strawberries and nectarines.
  6. Toppings – this is where it gets fun! Choose from dried fruit such as raisins or goji berries, cocoa nibs, shredded coconut, walnuts, almonds, granola; you can also add some vegan yogurt either on top or right into your overnight oat mixture.
  7. Flavorings – delicious spices like cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, gingerbread or pumpkin pie, mix in some pumpkin puree or even plant-based protein powder!
  8. Veggies – this is optional, but we need to mention this in our zoats recipe. Finely grated zucchini, carrot and shredded cauliflower have been tried and approved by us.

We love some texture in our oats, and variety makes for a much more fun breakfast experience! Go crazy with all of the healthy and delicious goodies you can add.

How much time should your zoats spend in the fridge? When making overnight zoats, you should let them soak for at least 4 hours so they become soft and well-combined. 

As the name implies, overnight works best!

1-Week Meal Prep & Plan
woman in jeans jacket grating some zucchini into a white bowl

Tips & Questions Around Vegan Overnight Zoats

If you’re looking to simplify your mornings and create an environment that makes it easy to go for healthy options because they’re already prepared and waiting for you, then overnight oats will totally be your thing.

We feel like you (almost) cannot mess up your vegan overnight oats, and since you can just adjust the add-ins to your personal preferences, you’ll be sure to enjoy your meal-prepped breakfast.

Here are some of the most common questions and tips we want to mention before we get to the recipe!

What Kind of Oats Do You Use?

To make overnight zoats, you traditionally use rolled oats because they soak up the liquid while still offering some texture.

For smoother overnight oats, go for instant oatmeal. We haven’t tried making them with steel-cut oats, but here’s a recipe from Erin if you want to try this out.

If you cannot tolerate gluten, make sure to check for the gluten-free label on your oats.

How Much Water or Dairy-Free Milk to Use

This depends highly on your desired consistency. The ratio for our overnight zoats is 2:1.5 – this is because the shredded zucchini will lose some of its liquid overnight. Some recipes call for a 1:1 ratio, which makes for some really dense overnight oats.

For a porridge-like consistency, stick with a 2:1 ratio of liquid to oats – using too much water or dairy-free milk will cause you to end up with oat soup.

two glass jars of overnight zoats with sliced banana, figs and blueberries next to a linen towel

Do You Eat Overnight Oats Cold?

You certainly can! This is especially refreshing during hot periods in the summer, but it’s also the most convenient grab-and-go way to enjoy overnight oats.

But you can also just reheat your overnight oats or zucchini oatmeal on the stovetop or in the microwave (see instructions in the recipe below).

Which Jar or Container Should I Use?

You can make overnight oats in pretty much any jar or food container that’s large enough for your servings. 

If you don’t have several small ones, go for one big container and take out a portion in the morning, place it in a bowl and add your toppings of choice.

Glass jars look extra pretty, of course, but any container will get the job done. Extra points for a lid that fits, because you’ll definitely want to cover your zoats in the fridge.

Do Overnight Zoats Work for Meal Prep?

You betcha! They are the perfect meal prep-friendly and super healthy breakfast choice. We recommend making 4-6 servings in one batch (Sunday evening is a great meal prep time) and storing them in the fridge for easy grab-and-go breakfasts.

Your future self will be really grateful! Just top them with your fruit and nuts of choice in the morning and off you go.

Since they are so delicious and weight loss-friendly, these chocolate zoats are part of our 2-week weight loss program!

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How Long Do Overnight Oats Last?

Depending on your add-ins, overnight oats can keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. When you make them fully vegan, chances are that they keep well for 5-7 days (yay, dairy-free lifestyle!), especially if you don’t use any fruit mix-ins from the get-go.

However, the longer you prepare them in advance, the softer your oats will become – which might be an advantage to you if you dig that texture. Also, you’ll need to give them a stir after a couple of days before eating as the liquid tends to separate from the oats.

More Easy Vegan Oat Recipes

We enjoy oats in so many different ways each day! This fantastic grain is so versatile and never gets old. Try these recipes next!

How do you like your oatmeal, and what is your go-to plant-based breakfast? Feel free to comment below and rate our recipe if you made it! You can also Pin the recipe for later or tag us on Instagram if you made them – we’d love to see your creations!

two glass jars of overnight zoats with sliced banana, figs and blueberries with a spoon in one of them

Vegan Chocolate Overnight Zoats

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes

Our easy vegan chocolate overnight zoats are the healthiest breakfast you’ll ever eat! Crunchy and creamy chocolate oatmeal with seasonal fruit, high in fiber and carbs – the perfectly healthy and filling meal prep-friendly recipe that’s also incredibly customizable. Kid-friendly and budget-friendly, try this ingenious way of sneaking some veggies into your morning meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats (120 g)
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened (480 ml)
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 5 large figs, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (100 g)

Instructions

  1. Mix oats, flax seeds, zucchini, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a glass bowl. Pour in the almond milk and stir until well-combined.
  2. Divide the mixture between two glass jars and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Use regular bowls if you don’t have jars – just make sure they are covered.
  3. In the morning, you can decide whether you want to eat your overnight zoats warm or cold. Either just top them with some fresh fruit and nuts and enjoy right away or, if you’re up for a warm breakfast, you can heat up your zucchini oats. This will make them creamier and offer a softer consistency, too.
  4. Add a splash of water to the chocolate oats and place in a microwave set on high power for 30 seconds. Then, stir the oatmeal and microwave for another 30 seconds. You can also heat your zoats on the stovetop.
  5. Let them cool slightly, then top with banana, figs and blueberries. Stir in some nut butter if you like and enjoy!
  6. Our vegan overnight zoats keep well in the fridge for up to a week – perfect to prep in larger batches.

Notes

  • Try delicious add-ins such as almond or cashew butter, dried fruit, shredded coconut or cocoa nibs!
  • Feel free to use any plant-based milk you like! Apart from almond milk, we also like coconut milk, soy and oat milk.
  • You can top your overnight zoats with any fresh or frozen fruit! Go with what you like the most and have easy access to.
  • If you want sweeter oats, add maple syrup or chopped dates to your mixture before putting it into the fridge.
  • Find many more tips in the article above!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 543Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 118gFiber: 19gSugar: 51gProtein: 15g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

Did you make this recipe?

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Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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3 thoughts on “Vegan Overnight Zoats (Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Oats)”

  1. I can’t agree more about veggies for breakfast. A few years ago, I was lucky to take the Vegan cruise to the Caribbean sponsored by Holistic Holidays at Sea, I think it was. Drs. Colin Campbell, Neil Barnard, Caldwell Eselstyn, Michael Greger and many others are the speakers year after year. The food was fabulous and they introduced us to a grain, veggies and a fruit for breakfast every day. I got used to it and cannot imagine leaving out veggies for breakfast. How else can we get it all the amounts that are recommended every day. Now, I make up a batch of veggies (red and white cabbage, kale and a bit of red onion) in a huge container to keep in the fridge. In the am, I grab one or two handfuls and throw in a steamer basket and cook till wilted and the onion is cooked. I toss it with umeboshi vinegar in a bowl and serve on the side with my amarynth or oatmeal, raisin toast with avocado or whatever I am eating for a grain. The veggies are also good left in the basket until the lunch meal and then incorporated into corn tortillas with hummus and toasted walnuts. Such a veggie combo is full of what we need to eat every day. The only thing missing is a cut up mushroom which I don’t always have on hand. It is a great way to start the day.

    Reply
    • wow you’re really going all-in with the veggies! so good for you, I can totally see the benefits of starting your day that way :) great for your blood sugar levels, too. thanks so much for sharing and I am so happy for you that you were able to see all of those great pioneers speak!

      Reply
  2. That sounds so good. I have done this for over 20 years now, but slacked off since I retired, but will start again. Thank you Patty Evans for reminding me. My breakfasts will be so much better

    Reply

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