This protein zucchini overnight oats recipe an easy way to squeeze vegetables AND more protein in at breakfast. Made with shredded zucchini, vanilla protein powder, greek yogurt, warm spices, and almond milk.
I must have made pumpkin pie overnight oats for an entire year before I decided it was time to branch out. I love the idea of taking a favorite baked good and turning it into an overnight oats creation. That’s where protein zucchini overnight oats was born.
Overnight oats are one of my favorite meal prep recipes. They are so easy to make, require minimal ingredients, are customizable, portable, and healthy.
These overnight oats are a bit more like muesli – lots of texture and a touch of sweetness. The oats soak up the liquid from the yogurt and almond milk, and the shredded zucchini mixes right in with the oats.
What’s in Protein Zucchini Overnight Oats?
- Old Fashioned Rolled Oats – A healthy staple to have on hand. I don’t recommend using quick oats (and definitely do not use steal cut oats for this – they will be very tough).
- Shredded Zucchini – Break out your grater! This recipe uses one full medium zucchini. No need to soak the liquid out of it. Feel free to scale back the amount of zucchini if it is too much for you.
- Almond Milk – Or any milk of your choice. I prefer almond or oat milk.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – I typically use non-fat, but you can use low fat or full fat Greek yogurt. Vanilla flavor also works. Non-dairy yogurt can be used.
- Unsweetened Apple Sauce – This brings a natural sweetness to the oats that I love.
- Vanilla Protein Powder – Any vanilla whey protein works great here. I rotate the protein powders I use, but Pure Protein powder or Dymatize protein powder are two of my favorites. If you don’t have any protein powder, just leave it out!
- Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, and a dash of nutmeg. You can add whatever warm spices you like or have on hand.
- Vanilla Extract – Vanilla enhances the spices and sweetness.
- Lemon Zest – This is technically optional, but it adds such a lovely balance to the recipe and brightens it up.
- Optional Mix-Ins – Toasted walnuts or pecans, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, a few tablespoons of chopped dried fruit. I love changing it up!
How to Make Protein Zucchini Overnight Oats
- Shred your zucchini – For this recipe the box grater yields the best results because a food processor or blender might macerate the zucchini and you’ll lose the texture. Check out this post by Eating Well for some additional guidance.
- Mix everything together! It can’t get easier than this. Make sure everything is well blended and incorporated. If you are mixing in nuts or fruit, make sure they are finely chopped.
- Portion the mixture into individual air tight containers or jars.
- Place the containers into your refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. The longer you allow the mixture to rest, the most soft the oats will be. These can be eaten within a couple hours, but the oats will be a little chewy still. These will last in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days (to be honest, I’ve made these a full five days in advance and they’re totally fine!).
How to Eat Overnight Oats:
- This is best eaten cold. I have never tried to heat up these overnight oats because they’re made with yogurt and I’m not sure how that would work out.
- I like to scoop the mixture into a bowl, top it with some chopped banana or apple, add a sprinkle of granola, and drizzle with a bit more maple syrup.
- Give the mixture a stir before eating so that everything’s incorporated.
- I’ve also added a scoop of cottage cheese, pumpkin, or more protein powder!
Modifications, Substitutions, and Questions:
- Too much zucchini! Can I scale it back? If it’s too much zucchini for you, scale back the zucchini a bit (1/2 to 3/4 of a medium zucchini) and use 1 cup of oatmeal. If you like zucchini, I think you’ll find this recipe just right!
- Can I make it dairy free/vegan? Absolutely! Just use your favorite plain non-dairy yogurt instead.
- Wait, the zucchini is raw?? Yes! You don’t need to cook it at all. Once it has time to sit with the other ingredients, it is tender and delicious.
- Do I need to squeeze the liquid of out of the zucchini? Nope! In fact, the additional liquid from the zucchini helps to keep this moist and full of flavor.
- Can I leave out the applesauce? Sure, but I like adding it for the little bit of extra sweetness. You might need another couple tablespoons of milk to keep the mixture wet enough. Alternatively, you can add a quarter cup of over-ripe mashed banana in its place.
- Can I double the recipe? Yes! Double, quadruple, however much you’d like. I often double this recipe to make it for the full week (while I recommend making this only a few days in advance, full disclosure I’ve made this up to 6 days out and it stays good in the refrigerator).
Protein Zucchini Overnight Oats
- Shredder/grater for the zucchini
- 2/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, not steal cut oats or quick cook
- 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup plain greek yogurt, substitute non-dairy yogurt
- 1/3 cup almond milk, substitute oat milk or similar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, more to taste
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted (optional)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dried fruit, dates, figs, or raisins (optional)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, optional
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until evenly incorporated. Divide the mixture into 2 to 3 airtight containers or jars. Place the containers in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Before eating the oats, give them a quick stir. To serve, top the overnight oats with chopped banana, drizzle with more maple syrup, a sprinkle of granola, or more chopped nuts. The overnight oats are good for approximately 3 days stored in the refrigerator.
- Shredded coconut
- Finely chopped apple
- Chia seeds
- Non-dairy - Substitute your favorite non-dairy yogurt for the greek yogurt.
- Like it sweeter? Add more maple syrup or your sweetener.