One of my all-time favorite breakfasts is Bircher Muesli, a dish of oats soaked overnight in yogurt and served with fruits and nuts. It was developed over 100 years ago by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner and remains wildly popular in Switzerland (see my dairy version of Bircher muesli here). I often serve this at workshops and have yet to meet a person who doesn’t love its fragrant, creamy deliciousness.
However, since quite a few of my clients are sensitive to dairy foods, I have created a dairy-free version of this delectable dish so they don’t miss out. (This dish is vegan, too, in case you’re that way inclined.)
All the benefits of the traditional, dairy-based Bircher muesli apply here, too: Oodles of probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, healthy fats, anti-inflammatory ingredients and a delightfully nutty-fruity-cinnamony flavor profile.
Its only shortcoming compared with the dairy-based version is that this one contains less calcium. However, rest assured here are many other great sources of this important mineral, including bone broth, bone-in sardines, green leafy vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Alas, the latter three contain phytic acid, a natural plant chemical that can interfere with mineral absorption. Wherever possible, eat them soaked, sprouted and cooked. (For more information, read this article about phytic acid.) Other calcium sources are bottled water with a high mineral content (e.g. San Pellegrino) and herbal teas and infusions such as oatstraw, nettle and red clover.
Dairy-free Bircher muesli (overnight oats)
- 1/2 cup cashew yogurt I like the Forager brand; other unflavored, unsweetened plant-based yogurts work, too
- 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk or other plant milk; I like Trader Joe's unsweetened soy milk
- 1/2 med. apple grated
- 2 tbsp rolled oats traditional, gluten-free
- 1 serving hemp protein powder I use Wilderness Poets' hemp protein powder
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds raw, shelled
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds raw, shelled
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch lemon zest finely grated; I use a Microplane grater
- 1/3 cup raspberries or any other berries you like
- Put all the ingredients except for the raspberries in a container with a tight-fitting lid and stir to combine. Seal tightly and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours.
- When you are ready to eat, serve a generous cup into a bowl, top with berries and enjoy.
- I usually make 3-4 servings of this dish and keep them in the fridge so I can grab it at a moment's notice. You could even divide this among individual mason jars to soak, and grab one on your way to work in the morning.