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Butternut Bircher Muesli with coconut and lime

April 20, 2016

Do you find yourself looking for inventive ways with vegetables on a regular basis? The thing about shopping once a week from the farmers’ market is that you are often looking for ways to use something up. This is why I cast my eye over a half a butternut squash and wondered idly if it would be OK for breakfast.

At the Movenpick Dead Sea on a recent trip to Jordan, I tucked into their delicious Bircher muesli with relish and remembered how much I loved it. It’s the ideal start to the day if I can remember to get organised the night before. Packed full of fresh fruit (traditionally grated apple) and a good amount of tummy-filling, sustaining fibre, it’s a moreish and healthy way to provide loads of energy until lunchtime. No snacking needed.

There’s a saying going around right now promoting the food pyramid way of eating “breakfast like a king, supper like a pauper”. While I’m not ready to nibble at night just yet, the first bit of advice makes sense for healthy eating through the day without feeling deprived.

So was eating butternut squash raw a thing? I found only one recipe online and tried it out. The bowl looked pretty but it was made with orange juice which delivered far too many bright flavours all clashing together for my tastes. I need a bit of creamy comfort first thing. Next time I swapped the juice for organic coconut milk* and a touch of lime for a tropical vibe and couldn’t get enough of it. You could also use fresh coconut and add the milk plus some shredded meat into the mix – in fact that’s definitely my next thing to try.

Butternut, coconut and lime Bircher Muesli

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 150g rolled oats (sometimes called old-fashioned), wholegrain if possible
  • 400ml organic coconut milk*
  • Juice of 1 small lime (or to taste)
  • thick slice of butternut squash, about 50g, peeled and deseeded
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • raw honey (to taste)
  • optional toppings: seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, yoghurt, compôte, bee pollen, berry powder**


Put the oats into a medium-sized bowl with the milk and lime juice. Grate in the butternut squash, apple and carrot – if you are in a hurry use the grating disc of your food processor, otherwise a box grater or coarse microplane will provide exercise your arm muscles. Stir all the ingredients to combine, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning stir in raw honey to taste and add any toppings you choose.

*Consider the environmental impact of our recent demand for coconut products.

** A friend introduced me to this delicious and nutritious dried wild bilberry powder which is handy if you are out of fresh fruit.

There are so many flavour riffs on Bircher. I asked a few friends for ideas. Dannii of Hungry, Healthy Happy is a big fan and recommends an apple and blackberry version. I should have known that Helen of Fuss Free Flavours would have tried butternut – it sounds super in her sunrise Bircher. Nut butters are particularly handy if you are eating vegan (my teen is this month) so Becca’s banana and peanut butter overnight oats on Amuse Your Bouche is a good suggestion.
Want more butternut inspiration? How about spiced butternut squash muffins with margarita sour cream or fettuce with butternut squash, sage and smoked garlic ?

Linking this to Simple and in Season as making the most of the last of our local, organic veg season here in Dubai.

Just a reminder to join me in the kitchen, on my dog walk and in various parts of Dubai on Snapchat – mycustardpie

Are you an overnight oats fan (Bircher by a different name)? Would love to know what combinations you enjoy? And are chia seeds champion or challenging? Let me know in the comments.

  1. April 20, 2016 7:33 am

    Lovely Sally and nice reminder on the environmental demands of the coconut craze….I am sure there is a glut of other fruits and vegetables that could do with a little more publicity…..

    • April 20, 2016 3:54 pm

      Anything that sources from the tropics in volume seems to have devastating effect. Really believe in mindful shopping on this one. And yes to unfashionable fruit and veg!

  2. crasterkipper permalink
    April 20, 2016 10:48 am

    I have not tried raw squash – sounds delicious & healthy. I’m glad you put the link about coconuts too – I did wonder recently, after reading a certain ‘healthy’ cook book, about the transportation of cashew nuts, which seems now to be a favourite substitute for other proteins, and avocados, which seemed to be in, well, everything!
    I tried to paste a link but it didn’t work, but you might be interested to Google ‘Our cow molly – partnership, University of Sheffield’. Its just a positive story to remember there are still some people in the world with some common sense & initiative!
    In the mean time, enjoy being inventive with your veg box! X

    • April 20, 2016 3:55 pm

      Googling now. There is about to be a cashew shortage I believe – and you are so right it’s in everything… nearly as ubiquitous as the dreaded palm oil.

  3. April 20, 2016 11:37 am

    A great idea! I love coconut milk. So flavourful and stomach-friendly.

    Thanks for the link to the coconut article. Nowadays, I only buy organic, environmentally friendly and fair-trade food (besides, I sort my waste), so I’m happy to learn that I’m doing the right thing for planet earth and its inhabitants.



    • April 20, 2016 3:57 pm

      Food has such an monumental impact on our planet – I’m with you Rosa.

  4. April 20, 2016 1:35 pm

    This looks so pretty as well as being healthy and delicious, I really should try this:-)

    • April 20, 2016 3:57 pm

      Feels comforting and healthy at the same time 🙂

  5. April 20, 2016 1:36 pm

    Lovely recipe – I would love to be organised enough to create this the night before. I do enjoy bircher muesli and you’ve got some great flavours going on here :-))

    • April 20, 2016 3:58 pm

      You are Mrs Organised! It doesn’t take long to put together plus saves time in the morning. A result in my book 🙂

  6. April 20, 2016 4:04 pm

    I love Bircher muesli but I am waaaaay too disorganised to plan breakfast the night before (probably also the reason I never manage to take a packed lunch to work LOL!) The only way I’ve ever had raw butternut is spiralised into noodles but it seemed pretty tasty. Not averse to vegetables at breakfast at all! 🙂

    • April 23, 2016 2:32 pm

      I don’t believe that you are disorganised for one instant! Never had spiralised butternut – one to try.

  7. April 20, 2016 6:31 pm

    Thank You Sally for an idea. In Finland we eat oats cooked, baked, in porridge, in musli, in any forms, and not only at breakfast. It never came to my mind to add butternut squash. This recipe looks simple enough to try and I am a bit of unorganized that I hardly ever remember to prepare my next day breakfast and lunch at night. Definitely will try this.
    With Bilberry powder on top of course :-). If only I could eat with my eyes, your photos are so pretty and colorful, appetizing.

    • April 23, 2016 2:33 pm

      Of course with bilberry powder – had it the other day on my overnight oats and it was delicious!

  8. April 20, 2016 7:16 pm

    It sounds delicious. I’ve never tried raw butternut squash but on your recommendation, will give it a go. I started making museli in the 1970’s because it was hardly ever available in Dubai back then. Unless I managed to obtain a rare pint of milk from Dig Dagga, there was no dairy produce other than powdered milk – ugh – so I soaked the oats in whatever fruit juice I could find. There was always a plentiful supply of bananas.

    • April 23, 2016 2:34 pm

      We take so much for granted here now. I can’t imagine not being able to get fresh milk! Dig Dagga – you lived here in such an interesting time.

      • April 23, 2016 6:23 pm

        Dubai was a pretty hard posting but it was such an interesting place and so different from anything I’d experienced until that time. We did miss things that most Westerners took for granted but I’ve always been grateful for the opportunity to observe, and in some ways become a part of a way of life that has largely disappeared. I gather it’s harder to integrate with the local population now but we were very much a part of the Emirati community, although not all expatriates felt the way we did and only mixed with each other.

      • crasterkipper permalink
        April 24, 2016 7:35 pm

        Have you ever read this book ‘Mother without a mask’ about life in the Emirates (in the 70s if I remember rightly). Not a literary classic, but I found her stories & descriptions very interesting.

      • April 27, 2016 10:52 pm

        Hi, thanks for the suggestion. I haven’t read it but will see if I can get hold of a copy. I’m always interested in writing from The Gulf, especially ones from the period when I was there.

      • April 28, 2016 7:14 am

        I haven’t read it either.

      • April 28, 2016 7:15 am

        No – have heard of it but never read it.

  9. Fuss Free Helen permalink
    April 29, 2016 2:37 pm

    Veggies for breakfast are winners. Grated butternut is so sweet and perfect like this. Wonderful flavours here.

    • April 29, 2016 3:48 pm

      Thanks Helen – extra veg for breakfast eh.

  10. May 19, 2016 9:13 am

    We call this pumpkin in Australia and I love it! I have not tried it in bircher but I bet it adds a great richness.


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