Jump-start your summer mornings

These make-ahead chilled oats with berries are the perfect start to a long summer day

Photo: Dianna Walla
Combining two beloved staples of the Norwegian diet, oats and berries, these overnight oats with berries provide a hearty, nutritious start to the day with very little effort required before the coffee kicks in, thanks to a few brief minutes of effort the night before.

Dianna Walla
Tromsø, Norway

One of the most common summer activities in northern Norway is berry picking. Families gear up with buckets and drive out of the cities to their favorite (sometimes secret) spots to collect wild strawberries, blueberries, lingonberries, or cloudberries, depending on the season. Some berries are more elusive (cloudberries, which grow in the boggy areas near mountains at northern latitudes, are especially prized) while others are more prevalent (like strawberries or blueberries).

Since summer has finally arrived in northern Norway, I decided to celebrate its arrival by combining two of my favorite staple ingredients in the Norwegian diet: berries and oats. Oats are everywhere in Norway, and while warm oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, it’s decidedly less appealing when the summer mornings are warm in our east-facing apartment.

My solution? Chilled overnight oats, which have the additional benefit of being quick to prepare the night before so they’re ready to eat when you wake up in the morning. While this recipe uses some non-traditional ingredients, the combination of oats, berries, and favorite spices cardamom and cinnamon still manage to give it a distinctly Nordic flavor profile. It’s easy to tweak the mix of spices or toppings to suit your own taste, however, so feel free to experiment and find what you like best.

Photo: Dianna Walla

Summer Berry Overnight Oats
for the oats:
1⁄3 cup oats (I prefer rolled oats, but you can use any type you prefer)
1⁄3 cup unsweetened skyr or Greek yogurt
1⁄3 cup unsweetened almond milk or other plant-based milk
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. chia seeds
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ cup fresh berries (I’ve used blueberries, but feel free to substitute your favorite)

for the topping:
additional berries
bee pollen* (optional)
pinch of cinnamon

Combine ingredients for the oats in a jar and stir to mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least three hours (an airtight container works best). When ready to serve, sprinkle toppings over the top and enjoy immediately.

*Some people may suffer an allergic reaction to bee pollen, so if using for the first time, an allergy test is recommended. Feel free to omit or substitute with seeds or crushed nuts instead to add texture.

Dianna Walla is a writer and knitwear designer living and studying in Tromsø, Norway. She writes about baking at cakeand­vikings.com and about knitting at paper-tiger.net. Find her on Instagram at @cakeandvikings.

This article originally appeared in the June 30, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.