I'm not unique when I claim Bircher muesli as one of my top go-to breakfasts during the
warm months. It is appealing to many of us thanks to minimal prep work the night before, next to none the morning of, and the fact that it is cooling and light but still filling. Not to mention the benefits of improved digestion and absorption of nutrients from the soaking process.
Switzerland is the birthplace of Bircher muesli, and it shows up everywhere you turn; at hotel breakfasts, community events, and in grocers where you can buy it pre-made or as the packaged mix of raw oats, dried fruit, and nuts ready to be soaked. Over time I've made many versions of this muesli, but the version I'm sharing today keeps it simple and clean and is one of my favorites.
I like using a combination of rolled oats and rolled spelt (also know as dinkel) because the spelt is nuttier and thicker, contributing to more textural interest and complex flavor. Additionally spelt and oats are both a surprisingly good source of protein. Spelt in all forms (rolled, whole berries, and flour) is readily available in Europe. In the U.S., Bob's Red Mill, along with other natural food brands, makes rolled spelt and can be found in Whole Foods and on Amazon.
If you cannot find rolled spelt or are gluten-free, using only rolled oats is also delicious. But either way, I prefer a quick toasting of the oats and nuts before soaking because it helps the oats absorb the liquid while keeping some shape, and it adds a deeper nutty element to the end product. The morning of, stir in chia seeds for an Omega 3 boost and to firm up the mixture and top with seasonal fruit; right now I am enjoying the contrast of tangy red currant and juicy, sweet nectarine. In the fall I like to add grated apple and pear.
Happy Bircher Muesli
Notes: Want a head start on breakfast for the whole week? Multiply the recipe for the desired servings, toast oats and nuts, and store in an airtight container. Each night, scoop out a portion to prepare and soak.
Rolled oats should be the 'old-fashioned' type, not the fine-cut/quick-cooking.
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup rolled spelt
1 Tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (nut, coconut-rice, rice, or hemp milk are all great choices)
2 Tbsp. natural, plain sheep's milk yogurt (or other yogurt of choice)
2 tsp. pomegranate molasses (or squeeze of lemon)
Spread oats and sunflower seeds on a small baking sheet. Place in the middle of the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly brown and toasted. Remove and let cool.
In a small glass container, mix toasted oats and nuts with the remaining ingredients, cover, and leave in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
Red currants (another tart-sweet berry such as raspberry, boysenberry, or blueberries work as well)
1 nectarine, chopped
Honey or maple syrup to drizzle, if needed
Remove muesli from the refrigerator and stir in chia seeds, if using. Let sit for 5 minutes so the mixture firms up. Add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, if needed, and top with fruit.