Bircher muesli is a wonderful traditional recipe, developed around 1900 by Swiss physician and nutritionist Maxilmillian Bircher Benner. The basic idea was to soak the oats overnight making them more digestible, and to eat with grated apple and yoghurt. In a time when meat and white bread was all the rage, this would have been pretty hippy stuff. But jeez am I glad for Maxy! I LOVE Bircher muesli (or overnight oats as it’s often called). It’s easy, nutritious, and delicious – winning.
I was inspired to write about Bircher muesli after a number of recent situations have come to my attention where people have had problems with toasted muesli. Now don’t get me wrong, I lurve a good granola, but sometimes it’s just not for everyone. Those with sensitive digestive systems, or certain digestive disorders may well find a toasted granola too harsh. Soaking the oats to make a Bircher on the other hand, gives you maximum benefits in terms of absorption and assimilation of nutrients. And oats have some lovely ones – B vitamins in particular, but also magnesium, iron, zinc, fibre and protein among others. Plus it makes a nourishing, gentle food that will not dehydrate the body and membranes like dry oats due to the lovely soaking that has been done.
If this is all sounding too hard, it’s really not! Basically, it is the same as making regular muesli or cereal, but with one extra step of popping the oats in a bowl the night before – easy!
For an extra twist, I’ve included some delightful rooibos tea in the soaking liquid to add a lovely flavour, and some antioxidants. You could change this up and use different herbal teas of your liking as an experiment. I have also served it with an OUTSTANDING rhubarb compote that is so deliciously more-ish I have trouble not eating it straight out of the jar…
Vanilla Rooibos Bircher with Rhubarb Compote
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup milk (I love half coconut milk, half almond milk)
1/3 cup strongly brewed rooibos tea
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (you can also use 1/2 tsp pure vanilla, but I prefer the taste of the bean)
1/2 tsp maple syrup (optional)
2 tbs full fat yoghurt (or coconut yoghurt) for topping
1 fig (or any other seasonal fruit you enjoy)
FOR THE RHUBARB COMPOTE
2 cups rhubarb, chopped (around one bunch – discard the leaves)
2 tbs fresh orange juice
2 tbs maple syrup
2 thin slices of fresh ginger
First, make the compote. Add the chopped rhubarb, orange juice, maple syrup and ginger slices to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, and simmer with the lid on for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and cook for another few minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and cooked. Take off the heat, leave to cool, remove the ginger pieces, and transfer to an airtight jar or container and store in the fridge. Makes around 1 cup. Try not to eat it all before your bircher is ready…
To make the bircher, place all the ingredients (not the compote) in a bowl, cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, add a few tablespoons of the compote to the soaked oats and top with the yoghurt and sliced fig. YUM TOWN!!
Add tablespoon of chia seeds for added fibre and goodness
Sprinkle over nuts and seeds of your choice
Replace the figs with other seasonal fruit – a poached pear would be banging!
Change up the rooibos with another herbal tea
Sprinkle over cacao nibs for a little decadence
Now, I’m off to put some oats to soak. xx
p.s. If you are looking for the winner from last post’s Tasty Express cookbook giveaway, please see the comments section on the previous post – thank you!