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 MixNon-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.
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.
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!