Bee pollen’s been popping up everywhere — on health food menus, perhaps as an additive to your acai bowl — and you’re probably wondering, “Why on earth would I eat pollen?” As it turns out, bee pollen is a superfood: a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey, wax and bee secretions with more protein per gram than any animal product. It’s packed with B vitamins, and it contains all 22 essential amino acids.
Bee pollen’s health benefits are many. For example, its complete proteins can help boost energy and aid in muscle synthesis. It’s been used as a natural remedy to soothe seasonal allergies. Even better, bee pollen is high in antioxidants, which boost immunity and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals linked to chronic disease.
Bee pollen is easy to add to your diet. You can buy it in little granules and eat it plain, or add it to sweet and savory dishes alike. By itself, it tastes floral, slightly sweet and slightly bitter, with a condensed powdery texture. But when you add it to your dishes, the flavor is generally undetectable.
For this recipe, we add bee pollen to another trendy nutritional powerhouse: overnight oats. In case you’ve missed the Instagram rage, this easy-peasy breakfast is basically heat-free oatmeal. Allowing the uncooked oats to soak overnight (or for up to seven days) breaks them down into a softer consistency that’s similar to that of traditionally cooked oatmeal. You can spruce up overnight oats in a million different ways, so you never get bored eating the same old thing day after day.
The recipe for these overnight oats gives you that bee pollen nutrient-packed kick in an easy, on-the-go breakfast or snack.
1/2 cup oats
2/3–3/4 cup milk or non-dairy alternative, such as coconut milk
1 tablespoon hemp hearts (optional)
1 tablespoon of your favorite nut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon bee pollen, plus more for topping
1/2 teaspoon agave syrup (optional)
Dash cinnamon (optional)
The best way to make overnight oats is in a portable jar, such as a Mason pint jar or parfait jar. They’re easy to grab and go, but any sealable container works.
Start by adding the oats, hemp hearts, nut butter, vanilla, bee pollen, agave, and cinnamon to the container with a splash of milk. Give everything a good stir, ensuring the nut butter is incorporated with the rest of the ingredients.
The agave and cinnamon are optional. If you’re avoiding sugar or don’t like your breakfast too sweet, skip the agave. Cinnamon’s just a matter of preference. The peanut butter adds a creamy, almost savory note, and the berries are sweet enough to balance out that flavor.
Once the ingredients are mixed, add the milk and berries. (Breaking up the berries beforehand lets the berry juice seep into the oats as they soak.) Adjust the quantity of milk according to desired thickness. If you’re unsure, start with less milk; you can always add more in the morning.
Store the Mason jar in the fridge overnight (for at least eight hours or up to seven days).
When you take the overnight oats out, give them a good stir and check that they are the right consistency. If they’re too thick, add more milk bit by bit until they reach the desired consistency. Top the oats with berries and a sprinkle of bee pollen. Grab a spoon, put the jar in your bag, and enjoy on the go — or pour into a bowl for a leisurely meal.