Tuesday Tip: Using oat bran instead of breadcrumbs

Oatbran I’m constantly on the lookout for healthy substitutions for things in cooking and in baking.  Although admittedly,  I haven’t baked anything in a very long time and I’m hoping to change that soon!

One thing I love is a breadcrumb topping.  Either on baked mac ‘n cheese, or perhaps as a coating to something, I love the crispy crunchy texture it gives food.  Crispy and flavorful is about all it brings to the table and these days I’m looking for multitasking.  I turned to one of my good friends, oat bran.  Oat bran is finely ground and in my opinion, resembles that of course bread crumbs.  Why couldn’t I use this instead of breadcrumbs?  I pondered.

I decided to find out.

I mixed it with a bit of seasonings, coconut and coated some tilapia with it.

Coconut baked tilapia

The result was crispy baked tilapia.  Not only did the oat bran work replacing empty calorie breadcrumbs but it’s also bringing protein and fiber to the table.  Multi-tasking indeed!

Andrea’s Coconut Baked Tilapia

  • 4 tilapia filets
  • 1C oat bran
  • 1/2C shredded coconut
  • Sprinkle sea salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Small pinch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil and place a metal cooling rack onto the lined cookie sheet. Spray the cooling rack with nonstick spray.  In a large shallow dish, combine all the ingredients except the tilapia.  Once the ingredients are combined, dreg the fish through the coconut mixture and place on the cooling rack.  Once all the fish are coated, place in oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Fish will start to flake with a fork when cooked.  If your oven runs hot, knock the heat down to 375 and extend cooking time by a couple of minutes.  The coconut can burn easily, so keep an eye on it. Allow to cool for 2minutes and then serve.

Crispy coconut baked tilapiaThe oat bran worked amazingly well!  I used sweetened coconut for some extra sweetness (and because I have yet to find unsweetened) but feel free to use whatever you like.  If you are looking for a super coconut taste, add in more shredded coconut and a little less oat bran.  Also you can add in whatever seasonings and herbs you like, the coconut and oat bran are just the base.  Feel free to experiment!

My oat bran substitution for breadcrumbs was a success!  I am definitely going to play around with this more and see what other things I can create!  Give it a try the next time you need a crunchy breadcrumb topping! Or perhaps use oat bran instead of breadcrumbs for meatballs, veggie patties, and things like that. :D

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