Muesli is like cereal – you can eat it for breakfast (or at my house, any time!) but without the processed sugars, preservatives and other fake chemical stuff that’s often in cereals. It’s natural and it’s good for you. I got the muesli habit during a Tuscan vacation. I would eat muesli, yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast at this table here, while soaking up the sunshine and looking at the olive groves and the villa’s gardens:
Ahhhhh! Who wouldn’t want to keep remembering that view when they got home?!? Every time I eat muesli the way I prepared it in Tuscany, it brings back this vacation feeling, even when I’m standing in my Chicago area kitchen in the middle of winter.
During most overseas trips I discover a new food habit. In Italy years ago it was muesli. (I already had the wine drinking habit!) In South India, it was dosa, vada and idli. I came back from Morocco with a raging pomegranate addiction, and started sprinkling pomegranate seeds on muesli and yogurt and … well, everything, even creative pizzas.
But muesli is not easy to find near my home, and whenever I do rarely find it, it has way too many raisins in it, and it’s expensive.
So … how to get affordable raisin-free muesli?
Why not make it yourself? It took nearly 7 years for me to get that bright idea, now obvious. I’m giving the idea to you, right away! You can get most of the ingredients for this muesli recipe in the bulk food aisle at Whole Foods:
Homemade Muesli Recipe
Get one or more items from each of the following five categories:
- Grains – Get several different grains like rolled oats, flaked barley, flaked rye. Get 1 heaping bulk bin scoop of each grain.
- Seeds – Add a handful of several different larger seeds like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pepita seeds. Look for larger seeds. We’ve also added flax seeds into the mix.
- Nuts – A scoop of nuts, like almond slivers or crumbled walnuts. Choose softer nuts that aren’t too hard on your teeth.
- Dried fruits – Toss a handful of dehydrated fruits to your taste. You can mix several different fruits like dates, apples, raisins, pineapple, cranberries, apricots, cranberries.
- Flavors – Be creative. Add a handful of dehydrated coconut flakes, a spoonful of savory “breakfast” spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice.
For about $8 at the Whole Foods bulk bins, we get enough ingredients for a few dozen breakfasts.
Choosing for Texture and Good Looks
I choose a mix of textures so there’s not too much powdery flaky stuff. That wouldn’t feel pleasant to eat. That’s the main complaint people have about muesli – they say it’s dry and mealy. Not this recipe! I make sure I get full flakes and full grains from the bulk bins, not ground-down powder. Also, a mix of larger sizes and crunchy things will help prevent muesli from feeling mealy. For example, I found the cutest little crunchy nuts at Whole Foods – they are called hunza sweet apricot kernels and they say “Himalayan” on the label. Just slap the word “Himalayan” on the packaging and I’m a sucker, I’ll buy it!
I also choose different textures and colors so it looks interesting too. Like green pumpkin seeds and red dried cranberries to break up all the brown and beige.
You can leave the ingredients raw or lightly toast them. Toasting brings out some flavors, and great aromas too. Spread the ingredients about 1/2″ thick on a baking sheet, then pop the baking sheet in a 300-degree oven for about 10 minutes. I left mine in longer. Just keep a close eye – you want it to brown just a bit but not start burning. You can toss it mid-way through the oven time if needed.
I actually just found out while researching homemade muesli recipes that you can eat muesli hot or soaked. I’m sorry I can’t offer much advice about that. I’ve always had a weird thing (okay call it a quirk!) that I don’t like any liquid at all on my cereal. I don’t get how people can put milk in their cereal! It seems so gross to me because I don’t like milk, and the cereal gets mushy. I have to eat cereal dry. So there’s that.
Annnnnd … I loathe raisins. I will spend a lot of time picking them out of muesli so not a single raisin falls into the bowl. It’s really irrational. So the beauty of homemade muesli is you can make it the way you like it! Save yourself all the raisin-picking-outing time.
I always throw fresh fruit on my muesli/yogurt combo: diced apples, pomegranate seeds, blackberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, maybe diced honeydew. You can see I’m thinking of fruits that aren’t too juicy … because the muesli/cereal can’t get wet and mushy, right?!
So the muesli stays mush-free, I add yogurt on the side. You can use any yogurt you like. I’m partial to Stonyfield low fat or no fat “smooth and creamy” – either plain or french vanilla.
I hope you try this muesli recipe! Enjoy!!