I love oatmeal. There is no doubting that. I will make it for breakfast even if it’s sweltering outside and in, and I have to stand at the stove-top with sweat trickling down my back (I’ll have it for dinner too if I’m lazy). But not everyone would, and as luck would have it, we don’t have to. There is a hot-weather, no-cook alternative to oatmeal…its raw, Swiss, cousin, muesli.
Muesli (or Müesli) was invented by a Swiss doctor called Maximilian Bircher-Benner in the 1900’s. He was quite a rebel, our Maximilian. At a time when meat and bread (a diet high in protein and calories) ruled the table he espoused a diet raw vegetables, fruits, and nuts. He believed that food shouldn’t just be about making us full but, more importantly, about making us healthy. He developed muesli based on a dish that was served to him by shepherds while he was hiking in the Swiss Alps. Maximilian made a similar mixture of raw oats, soaked overnight to soften, with fresh fruit and nuts, and served this to his patients as part of their healing. In Switzerland, muesli is still referred to as Bircher Müesli.
I think Max and I (can I call him Max? Is that too familiar of me?) would have gotten along famously. I love oats, and more specifically, I love muesli. I love Switzerland (and it was in Switzerland where I fell in love with muesli for the very first time). I also believe that food heals as well as satiates. And, I love the name Maximilian. The only thing we would have been at odds with as far as I can see would be the hiking.
Since I don’t have Max with me, I have pretty much had to hunt down a good muesli recipe on my own. I have gone to bed many a times with soaking oats tucked away in my fridge, visions of delicious muesli breakfasts dancing in my head, only to wake up to half-soft oats swimming in a flavorless pool of liquid. Not anymore! I am happy to report that I have found the recipe that works for me…and it’s all thanks to Shelby at Bone, Mugs, & Harmony and her Apple Muesli (which I stumbled upon at the kitchn). This is my adaptation – I’ve reduced the recipe to suit our consumption and I have added that most glorious of summer fruit from our shores…mango.
Apple & Mango Muesli
(adapted from Bone, Mugs, & Harmony)
- 1 apple, shredded
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 2 dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup cubed mango
- 1/2 cup nuts (I used a combination of walnuts and almonds)
- Yogurt or milk to serve
- Extra fruit and nuts to top
- Place the oats, dates, and nuts in the food processor and pulse until lightly chopped.
- Return the shredded apple to the food processor along with the mango and pulse until everything is roughly chopped.
- Place your preferred serving size of yogurt in a bowl and top generously with the muesli mixture. Add extra chopped nuts and fresh fruits on top (I added more mango and banana).
This is the muesli of my dreams – soft and moist yet still feels raw and chewy. The fruits do their job of adding sweetness though you can add the sweetener of your choice if needed. Leela of the kitchn describes the feeling of this as a “deconstructed, fruity oatmeal cookie”, and this is indeed what it tastes like. Another thing I love about this recipe, as opposed to the others I’ve tried, is that no soaking is required. It does acquire a pleasant mellowness after having rested in the fridge overnight but really, I could eat this straight out of the food processor with a spoon. Feel free to try this with fruits other than mango (blueberries were used in the original recipe). Whatever is in season on your side of the world would be ideal. Change the nuts around too, use your favorites or what you've got in your pantry.
The irony of it all is that it actually rained this morning giving everything a much needed cool-down. So a warm bowl of oatmeal would have been perfect. But this muesli is a winner rain or shine!