Dorm dining: Overnight oats edition

Munchie Marts are a great spot for those late-night snack runs, but we are here to prove that college students eat more than ramen noodles. Grab some oatmeal and let’s get cooking.


Alexa White

Day or night, overnight oats are the perfect protein-packed breakfast that you can cook in your dorm. (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White)

Jorie Fawcett and Veronica Tadross

Breakfast is arguably the meal that Campus Dining does the best. 2301 smoothies, Kissam acai bowls and Commons breakfast burritos are some of our favorite meals in the morning. However, variety is the spice of life (followed closely by cinnamon) and we get bored very easily when it comes to meals at Vanderbilt. 

Jorie’s Munchie Mart Oats 

The best thing about overnight oats is that you can customize the recipe to your liking. This recipe is inspired by my grocery haul from the Commons Munchie Mart last semester. Not wanting to waste meal swipes, I loaded up on oatmeal, peanut butter and frozen fruit, when I realized these were the perfect starters for some dorm room overnight oats. Paired with other grocery staples I already had like almond milk and protein powder, I crafted the recipe for a perfect on-the-go breakfast. 

  • Most ingredients for Jorie’s recipe are available in any of the campus Munchie Marts.
    (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White) (Alexa White)

    ½ cup oats 

  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 1 container of single serve peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkling of crushed almonds 
  • fresh or frozen fruit of your choice 

Start with a sturdy container of your choice (I use a generic bowl, and I recommend that it has a lid). Add your oatmeal, protein powder, cinnamon and chia seeds and mix. Next, add in the almond milk, peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix, making sure to evenly distribute the peanut butter. Add in your fruit—I typically choose bananas and strawberries—and crushed almonds. Lastly, pop the container in your refrigerator and leave for at least four hours. They will stay good for a few days, but believe me, you won’t be able to wait that long. 

Veronica’s Banana Bread Baked Oats

This Baked Oats recipe is quick, easy and tastes just like cake. If you’re an oat-hater, it will likely convince you to change your ways. This recipe convinced me to change mine after 17 years of never trying oats. Let’s get into how it’s made. 

  • ½ or ⅓ cup of oats

    Follow Veronica’s recipe if you want to up your overnight oats game.
    (Hustler Multimedia/Alexa White) (Alexa White)
  • ½ or ⅓ cup almond milk
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg (if you’re feeling snazzy)
  • a sprinkle of chocolate chips

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The key to making your mixture here is blending the oats. Take your oats—a third to half a cup, depending on how hungry you are—and throw them in a blender until they become a fine powder. This makes them like a fine powder and gets rid of that “oaty” texture that our society loves to hate. Once they’re done pulsing, put them in your bowl. 

Add your desired amount of milk to the bowl—about the same measurement of oats that you used. You can use almond milk (my favorite), oat milk or whole milk. Next, put your half banana into the bowl with it and add the vanilla, cinnamon and egg. Get out a fork and mash, mash, mash the banana until you can mix it into the batter with the rest of the ingredients.

At this point you may wonder why there is an egg in your oats. Well, the egg makes your resulting “oat cake” more flavorful and gives it a fantastic texture. Just trust me on this (unless you’re a vegan, in which case, do your thing).

After the egg, mix in the baking powder. Mix this in last and do not stir too heavily in order to maintain the rising properties of the baking powder. An alternative option to mixing all the ingredients would be to put them all in a blender with the oats and stir in the baking powder at the very end. I prefer mixing in the ingredients separately, as it maintains some of the texture of the banana and other ingredients, rather than making it unrecognizably smooth. Last but not least, stir in your chocolate chips and put your bowl in the oven. Baking the oats makes them less mushy and more fluffy and delicious (just like banana bread). I usually just use my classic ceramic bowl (that technically isn’t oven safe) for baking these oats in the oven. Maybe not the smartest idea, but I’ve survived this long! This recipe is just that worth it.

Finally, bake the oats for 20-23 minutes or until they are risen and firm. Let them cool for five minutes and dig in! They should be gooey, chocolatey and taste just like banana bread but with wholesome ingredients that help you feel your best. Enjoy!