Muesli is like cereal – you can eat it for breakfast (or any time at my house!) 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 right at this table here, soaking up the sunshine and overlooking the olive groves:
Ahhhhh! Who wouldn’t want to keep remembering that when they got home?!?
During most overseas trips I discover a new food habit. In Italy years ago it was muesli. (I already had the wine drinking habit!) I came back from Morocco last November with a raging pomegranate addiction, and started sprinkling pomegranate seeds on muesli and yogurt and … well, everything. The best!
But muesli is not easy to find. Even at Whole Foods the cereal aisle is dominated by cereal. At my local Whole Foods there was one box of muesli. For awhile. Then they stopped carrying it. My muesli obsession fell away. Recently I found muesli at Fresh Market. But it’s a little 12 oz box and its cost seems like it’s priced by the gold market.
So … how to secure an ongoing cost-effective supply chain of muesli into my kitchen?
Granola is easier to find but granola doesn’t cut it. Granola is not muesli. Granola often has sugars and oils in it. I question whether it’s really healthy. I’m in my mid-40s now and can’t eat like I used to any more. Sad fact of plunging middle age metabolisms. So I’m looking closer at hidden sugar, fat and empty calories lurking in my eating habits.
So, to guarantee access to muesli, why not make it yourself? It took nearly 7 years for me to get that bright, now obvious, idea. I’m giving the idea away to you, right away! Here’s typical ingredients in muesli and you can get most of them in the bulk food aisle at Whole Foods and other stores:
Homemade Muesli Recipe
- Grains – 1 heaping bulk bin scoop each of mixed grains like rolled oats, flaked barley, flaked rye
- Seeds – a handful toss of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, other larger seeds you like
- Nuts – a few spoonfuls of nuts to your liking, 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, maybe choose a mix of 2 fruits like dates, apples, raisins, pineapple, cranberries
- Flavors – a handful of dehydrated coconut flakes, a spoonful of savory “breakfast” spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
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 take full flakes and grains from the bulk bin, not ground-down powder. And the mix of different sizes and textures keeps the muesli from feeling mealy in your mouth.
I also choose different textures and colors so it looks interesting too. Like green pumpkin seeds to break up all the brown and beige. And I found the cutest little brown nuts at Whole Foods – they are called hunza sweet apricot kernels and they say “Himalayan” on the label. Just slap Himalayan on the packaging and I’m a sucker and I’ll happily pay too much for it!
You can leave the ingredients raw or lightly toast them. Toasting brings out some flavors (and great aromas too). Spread the ingredients over a baking sheet about 1/2″ thick, then pop them 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. 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?!
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.