Eat Well Jul. 15. 2014

Cherry Cardamom Bircher Muesli

Jul. 15. 2014
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of NS and Creator of The Method

Sweet, tangy, cool and warm all at the same time.

It’s summer. I’m taking every chance I can at incorporating my favorite summer fruits and vegetables this time of year and enjoying them in everything! Last summer I shared a delicious Tart Cherry Chia Pudding that oozes cherry flavor; today I’m sharing a unique twist on my classic Nourishing Muesli, Cherry Cardamom Bircher Muesli. This recipe has quickly become my favorite summer breakfast and even dessert, it’s raw- no fuss with cooking- easy to digest, tastes amazing, contains fiber, protein, and packed with antioxidants from the cherries.

I love this combination of flavors in this bircher muesli, it’s sweet, tangy, cool and warm at all the same time from the warming spices used and the way it’s prepared. I love adding traditional ingredients to this recipe such as lemon juice, oats, fruit, and nuts/seeds with a global twist by incorporating cardamom. Bircher muesli this time of year is lovely, it’s cool and refreshing since there’s no cooking or heating involved. It contains a healthy dose of fiber, healthy fats, plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, and is incredibly simple to whip together. You can even make this for a quick breakfast by making it the night before and storing it in the fridge until the next morning.

Muesli is the new granola, but what about bircher muesli?

I’ve talked at length about what muesli is on the Nourishing Muesli post in comparison to good ole’ granola, but in a nutshell, muesli is simply uncooked granola sans additional oils and sweeteners. All that’s required is a large mixing bowl to combine your favorite nuts, seeds, grains, and dried fruits in any ratio you prefer– I like to keep my mueslis with a higher ratio of nuts and seeds to carbohydrates. SO, what is the difference between bircher muesli and regular muesli? Bircher muesli is the swiss version of what many of us simply call overnight oats; my Mulberry Soaked Oat Porridge is a perfect example of a bircher muesli; although technically porridge is served warm/hot. Regular muesli is dry, bircher muesli is not as it’s typically made with cream and lemon juice and is eaten after all the ingredients have had time to soak.



Traditionally apples are used in bircher muesli, since we’re in the thick of summer and cherries are ripe and in season, it was an easy decision to replace apples with cherries (and it makes for some beautiful food photography and presentation, right?). Cherries are an amazing fruit to get to know if you’re a recreational athlete like myself, athlete, or anyone who suffers from inflammation. Cherries are truly a “super”food when it comes to fighting inflammation in the body, these little red beauties have been shown to help decrease muscle inflammation, reduce workout recovery time, and play a role in supporting our cardiovascular systems.



Let’s take a minute to chat cardamom

Cardamom is one of my favorite warming spices to use in baked goods, breads, cookies, porridges, and recipes like these. There are a couple of varieties of this spice, black and green cardamom, both contain pods and seeds. Cardamom is a widely used spice in seasoning mixes and solo especially in Eastern cultures and an India both in sweet and savory dishes. Some folk and traditional medicines even use cardamom to help treat digestive issues, mouth infections, and kidney stones; although the research from an evidence-based perspective is lacking. Nonetheless, it’s a delicious and unique tasting spice to get to know. Let this recipe be your first introduction if you’ve never tried it before or a unique way to enjoy it for all you current cardamom lovers.

How to make your own ground cardamom

Start by crushing the pod with the back of your hand or peeling the pod with your fingers. Then peel the outer shell of the cardamom pods, in this case the green shell. You’ll be left with tiny black seeds, these are what you’ll be grinding. Using a grinder or a mortar and pestle (check my kitchen tools page), until the seeds are ground. Store in an air tight jar or spice jar, like the ones I use here!

Tweet this! // Did you know that cardamom is the third most expensive spice, following saffron and vanilla?

I hope you all enjoy this quick and healthy breakfast recipe as much as I have been. Be sure to share this recipe with others if you love it and keep tagging me in all your lovely remakes of the recipes, I LOVE seeing your pictures on Instagram and facebook 🙂

Have a beautiful day,

xx McKel

The Recipe

Serves 2



1 cup gluten-free old-fashioned oats

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 cup fresh cherries, sweet or tart cut in half

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tablespoon raw unsalted almonds, chopped coarsely

1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom

pinch of sea salt

serve with fresh cherries, halved


Mix all the ingredients in bowl until combined. I like keeping the cherries in halves, but you can “mash” them with the back of a fork to soften, then stir.

Soak ideally for 2 hours or until soft about 30 minutes, overnight works well if you want to make it ahead of time.

Enjoy cool or room temperature.

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