Remember those big boxes of cereal you grew up with? Most of those cereals are heavily processed, carb-y relics of the past.
It’s time to kick those to the curb and level up with a budget-friendly, no-cook, homemade cereal. Discover how to make a big batch so you can start every day strong, with no fuss.
More versatile and more delicious than plain oatmeal, muesli is a staple for my breakfasts. If you haven’t tried making your own, now’s the time!
When I lived in South Korea, I craved oatmeal. Oatmeal isn’t typically grown in South Korea, so it’s a luxury import and kinda pricey!
Funny, because growing up in a big Catholic family, a big pot of oatmeal was on the stove a few times a week. Mom was thrifty and oatmeal was one of the thrifty ways she managed to feed all eight of us kids!
Here’s the thing. As much as I love oatmeal, I don’t always like it cooked. Maybe it’s memories of that big glob of oatmeal from when I was a kid, but the mushiness isn’t my favorite part of oatmeal or overnight oats.
I’ve tried granola but for me it’s too hard. (I know, I’m Goldilocks.) Plus, even when you make it yourself, it requires extra sweeteners and time to cook it, and make sure you don’t overcook/burn it.
Muesli falls in the sweet spot between plain uncooked oats, cooked oatmeal and granola.
Muesli, a Swiss invention, is a combination of rolled oats, cinnamon, dried fruit and nuts. Traditionally, muesli may be served with lemon juice, diced apples, yogurt or cream. Because you don’t have to cook muesli, it’s super quick and non-mushy.
My favorite way to eat muesli is with homemade Cashew Milk and blueberries. With all the varieties of flavors and textures in the muesli, it nicely contrasts with creamy cashew milk and fresh or frozen blueberries. When I don’t have blueberries, I add sliced banana, grated apple or a smidge of maple syrup to my muesli.
This recipe is designed to provide a hearty breakfast for pennies per serving!
The recipe loads up on inexpensive ingredients including the oats, sunflower seeds and flaked coconut. Try going for the organic versions of these because even organic is usually quite affordable.
Dried Fruit and Nut Options: Trail Mix or Other
For each pound of oats, you’ll need 2 Cups (8 ounces) of dried fruit and nuts. If you already have some around, just use what you have on hand. See the notes below the recipe for suggested fruit/nut combinations.
Buying a pre-made trail mix can give you a nice variety of items you might not have on hand. Just read the ingredient list carefully, to make sure there aren’t any sugar, oils or filler ingredients beyond just dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
Two simple trail mixes from Natural Grocers are:
- Tropic Fruit and Nut Mix Organic: dried pineapple, almonds, coconut chips, pumpkin seeds, raisins, sunflower seeds and walnuts
- Mount Evans Trail Mix Non-GMO: raisins, dates, almonds, coconut flakes and sunflower seeds
The downside of using trail mix is that if the pieces are too big, you’ll need to take the extra step of processing them down so the ingredients will be uniform size. I used to skip this step, but really didn’t like biting into a whole almond or a big apple slice in my muesli!
Much better to just process the trail mix for a minute or two before mixing it with the oats and other ingredients!
Let’s get on it!
There’s no cooking or cutting board action in this recipe. So just gather your ingredients and get going.
Process the nuts and dried fruit for a couple of minutes, until most pieces are about the size of a raisin or sunflower seed.
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl and stir until well mixed. Note: If not storing muesli in the refrigerator, do not add flaxseed now. Instead, add it later when serving.
Muesli is a Swiss-inspired breakfast cereal that’s an excellent (dare I say, superior!) alternative to cooked oatmeal, overnight oats or granola.
Grab a pre-made trail mix with good variety to use and get a complex flavor profile variety with little effort. Or change it up every time, with your own combo of dried fruits and nuts.
Muesli make a perfect hot or cold breakfast or snack, anytime. Prepare and store a batch in less than 30 minutes to last you for weeks!
Basic recipe yields 7 Cups, 28 servings. Double it if you love this recipe and have space to store it.
2 Cups (8 oz) trail mix, with any combination of dried fruits and nuts
1 Cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
5.5 Cups (1 lb, 450 g) organic old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 Cup ground flaxseed (optional)
Process trail mix: If your nuts and dried fruit are in small pieces, skip this step. If your trail mix has whole nuts or large pieces, dump the trail mix into your food processor. Process with cutting blade for one minute or until pieces are similar to the size of a chocolate chip or smaller.
Stir: In a large bowl, stir together processed trail mix (or dried fruit and nuts), with coconut, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, salt and oats. Stir until mixed well.
Flaxseed: Ground flaxseed can go rancid when stored at room temperature. So, if you have space to store the muesli in the refrigerator, add flaxseed now. Otherwise, simply sprinkle flaxseed on each portion when serving.
Store: Divide muesli into glass jars, filled to the top and sealed tightly. Store in the refrigerator, if possible. Otherwise, store in a dark cupboard. Keep in cupboard for up to 2 weeks. Keep in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. Test first to ensure quality after prolonged storage.
Cold: Serve 1/4 Cup muesli in a bowl, with 1/3 Cup raw cashew milk or yogurt. Top with shredded apples, sliced bananas or blueberries. Eat immediately or let rest for 15 minutes or overnight.
Hot: Cover muesli with water. Heat on stove or microwave for one minute. Add milk, yogurt and fruit as desired.
Fruit and Nut Combinations: Use any combination of 1 Cup of dried fruit and 1 Cup of nuts or seeds, instead of the trail mix. Examples:
a. Traditional: 1/2 Cup raisins, 1/2 Cup chopped dates, 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 Cup sliced almonds
b. Festive: 1/2 Cup sliced almonds, 1/2 Cup pecans, 1/2 Cup fruit-sweetened cranberries, 1/2 Cup chopped dried apples
c. Tropical: 1/2 Cup macadamia nuts, 1/2 Cup cashews, 1/2 Cup dried mango, 1/2 Cup dried pineapple
d. Budget-Friendly: 1 Cup sunflower seeds, 1 Cup raisins
Super Cute Gift! A pint or quart jar of muesli makes an excellent gift! I look for unique jars at the thrift store for giving homemade food and body products.
Sneaky Ingredients in Store-Bought Muesli, or Why You Should Make Your Own
You might be thinking, Joan, can’t I just buy it? Here’s the thing…
I first encountered muesli in the store. I bought it and didn’t think to make it myself, for quite awhile.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muesli as a breakfast cereal of Swiss origin consisting of rolled oats, nuts, and fruit. So, that’s kinda what I thought I was getting. Silly me.
What I actually found was that the store-bought muesli often has sneaky ‘filler’ ingredients. Why am I surprised? (I couldn’t find the ingredient lists or nutrition info on the store websites. I included the links to Fooducate.com for nutrition info for each.)
Trader Joe’s Muesli: On the front, it says “Made with whole grain oats, seeds, fruits & nuts.” Sounds great! But when you pour it out, you find a good portion of puffed rice thingydingys. These show up in the ingredient list as ‘rice crisp (brown rice, caramelized pear juice concentrate, sunflower oil)’. And you’ll find ‘raisins (raisins, sunflower oil)’. Wait, what!? Interesting that rice, pear juice concentrate and oil aren’t mentioned on the front. 🙁
365 Everyday (Whole Foods brand) Fruit & Nut Muesli: Even the Whole Foods brand has some sketchy stuff. The first (and most prominent) ingredient is rolled wheat. It also has canola oil with the raisins. Oats don’t show up until the seventh ingredient, followed by almonds and walnuts. Someone’s playing loose with their own definition of muesli. 🙁
Even Bob’s Red Mill brands slip in wheat, rice crisps, sugar or oil, depending on the specific muesli type.
So, sorry to break it to you, but it’s just not worth the effort to hunt down a simple store-bought muesli when it’s so easy to make it exactly as you want!