Do you want a breakfast that's easy, and hearty, and healthy, and the whole family will love? Well this might just be it.
Have you seen all the buzz lately about these overnight refrigerator oats recipes? Seems like some new way to make oats? Nope, not new. The Swiss have been doing it this way for over 100 years. They call it Muesli, or Swiss Muesli, or Bircher Muesli (named from the doctor that created the recipe for the health benefits of his patients). This is not the "muesli" that you've seen in a cereal box. That is a granola like cereal that has some oats and dried fruit and somebody decided to give it the name because some of the ingredients are similar. No, this is a totally different thing - it's a way of preparing oats that's like nothing you've probably ever tasted. I love it, it's one of my favorite breakfasts. I first learned about Swiss Muesli almost 30 years ago, when my older sister came home from being an exchange student in Switzerland. She introduced us to the way the Swiss do oats, and I've loved it ever since. In the summer I like to make up a huge bowl and eat it for breakfast all week long. It's cool and refreshing, but hearty and filling. And you can dress it up however you like.
There are so many ways to make muesli, with various combinations of milk, yogurt, juice - but the basic idea is combining oats with some combination of those, plus apples, and soaking overnight. The apple appears to be required, in order for it to be the original Bircher Muesli. I think it's part of what makes it so unique, although you could leave it out if you prefer. What you get in the morning is so great - the oats have soaked up the liquid and have softened, but not turned to mush. They still have some texture, just enough, and they have flavor. The bits of grated apple are still a little crisp. There's just enough sweetness from the honey. The milk and yogurt are creamy. It's just so good.
If you look around you'll find that no two recipes are exactly alike. The original Bircher Muesli is still around, but now it has evolved and everyone makes it just a little different. My personal preference is what I think is a pretty simple version.
Here's how I make Swiss Muesli.
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats!)
- 1 cup of milk (whatever kind you like)
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup (or less if you like less sweet) of honey
- Juice from 1 medium size lemon
- 1 large apple, grated.
- milk, cream or half & half
- diced fresh fruit
- dried fruits
- chopped nuts
- dried coconut
- anything else that sounds good!
Mix together all of the ingredients (not the toppings), cover, and refrigerate overnight. If it's your first time making it, you might want to hold back on some of the honey, mix everything else, and taste. See if it's sweet enough before you add all the honey. It might vary depending on how big or sweet your apple is. Also if you've used almond milk or some other kind of non-dairy milk that's sweetened, I would leave out the honey altogether until you've tasted it.
In the morning, scoop out a serving, and top it however you like. I like mine with just a little bit of extra half & half and some diced bananas or some blueberries. Simple, creamy, just a little tart from the lemon and apple, just sweet enough from the honey and banana. Breakfast perfection.
You can go as crazy as you want though - nuts, all different kinds of dried and fresh fruit, sunflower seeds or chia seeds, or ground flax seeds, nut butter - whatever sounds good. If you want, you can really load it up with all kinds of yummy and nutritious stuff. This is way more than just overnight oatmeal!
Give it a try, and let me know what you think.