When tasked with developing a recipe for a new-to-me product, my first step is often pretty logical. I simply swap it with similar ingredients in tried-and-true recipes. Over time, I learn what works, what doesn’t, and hopefully come up with a few new ideas. Usually, one or two recipes rise to the top, and I ultimately choose one to fine tune.
Sometimes, after all is said and done, I find myself returning to a recipe that I didn’t initially choose or post on my blog over and over again. Such is the case with this easy, hearty, versatile meal-in-a-jar.
The central ingredient is a convenient and healthy blend of oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and a few other wholesome odds and ends — otherwise known as muesli. Prepared muesli varies from one manufacturer to the next. (By the way, this is not a sponsored post!) I really like the combination in Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten-Free Muesli. (Bob’s Red Mill has a non-GF option, but I prefer the blend in the GF version.)
You’re bound to appreciate this streamlined, prep-ahead recipe for it’s year-round simplicity and health appeal. Doctor it up as seasonal produce allows.
I listed my favorite basic toppings in the “for serving” section. A few extra options are noted in the recipe notes and in the text below. I especially love the simple addition of almonds just before serving for the crunch they provide.
Chopped dates provide a subtle sweetness and texture that I also adore. (Hint: Keep a container of tender, naturally sweet Medjool dates in an airtight container in the fridge. They’re the king (queen?) of the date family and will stay fresh for months. Even if you don’t think you’re a date person, you may be surprised that they can really add something special to sweet and savory dishes, and they provide a welcome fruit option over the colder months.)
If you’re curious as to why these are called “Bircher” muesli jars, read the fourth paragraph in this post. (Just a little trivia that will make for great mealtime conversation.😉) For other ways to enjoy muesli, you could try Muesli Baked Oatmeal and Chewy Granola. The second recipe is written with rolled oats but can be replaced with an equal amount of muesli for a delicious twist.
9/19/18 Update: I now have a recipe for homemade Toasted Maple Muesli ⇩⇩ that works wonderfully well in Bircher and overnight oats, and like granola, is delicious enough to enjoy on its own.
For a barebones prep much like the Swiss do it: In a jar or bowl combine equal parts muesli with milk of choice OR combine one part muesli with two parts yogurt. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (When using the yogurt option, I really enjoy using a non-Greek vanilla yogurt for it’s thinner consistency and flavor.) Grated apple is often stirred in just before serving.
- 1/3 cup (39 grams) muesli (I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Muesli when using store-bought or homemade Toasted Maple Muesli)
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (or sweetener of choice to taste)
- A pinch of sea salt
- For serving: 1 tablespoon each toasted slivered almonds, shredded coconut, and chopped dates (about 1 large Medjool date or 2 Deglet Noor dates, pitted) 1/2 a banana, chopped*
Mix the muesli, milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and sea salt in a 12- to 16-ounce jar. (The larger size makes it easy to mix the extras in the morning.) Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, add the almonds and other add-ins, give the mixture a good stir, and enjoy!
- *You may omit or substitute any of the toppings if you don’t care for them, and feel free to add other toppings according to season and preference. Grated apple is traditional (the Bob’s Red Mill muesli does contain some dried apple), and chopped fresh peaches and berries are delicious when available.