Growing up, I had an intense passion for breakfast cereal. At breakfast, I would create a small fort with two cereal boxes separated by a carton of milk, and I’d hide in my fortress and read the back of the boxes while slurping down at least two large bowls in a sitting. And it wasn’t just breakfast. After school snack? Cereal. And as I grew, mindless study snack in college? Cereal. Weeknight dinner in my first apartment out of college? Cereal.
When Alex and I started eating all whole foods, I resolved it was time to kick the cereal addiction. Not that cereal is “bad”, but I wanted to decrease my dependence on this food group and work on replacing it with whole grains instead. (Also, I was tired of grocery store clerks saying “You like cereal, huh?” when I checked out massive quantities of the stuff.) Switching to an entirely new breakfast tradition helped immensely, but I still found myself craving the cereal experience as a comforting treat.
So how to make non-processed, whole foods breakfast cereal at home? Oats, the original breakfast cereal. Oatmeal and granola are two of my favorites, but I started getting lazy and eating raw oats with milk and a bit of maple syrup. Turns out this is a real thing called muesli: a mixture of raw oats, dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. Instead of toasting the ingredients like in granola, they’re eaten raw with milk (regular, almond or soy). It might sound odd to those accustomed to breakfast cereal, but it is one of my favorite foods on the planet, probably because of the tradition of my cereal past.
Granted, I typically throw random oats and seeds in a bowl, but a fancy muesli like this one is well worth the time for a flavorful breakfast treat. This recipe combines dried apricots (since our pantry was abounding), crystallized ginger, and pumpkin seeds with oats, toasted almonds and toasted coconut for an unexpected mix of flavors. The recipe is completely customizable so feel free to sub in your favorite nuts, seeds, or dried fruits. We top it with almond milk, and if they’re on hand, some fresh berries. If you’d like, you can add a bit of maple syrup, but this mix is sweet enough that it doesn’t need it. I also like to add a small pinch of kosher salt to enhance the flavors. It’s so simple to put together, it’s almost a “non-recipe”, but I love that it’s a thing; and the perfect thing to satisfy my sentimental cereal+milk cravings.
We used Califia Farms almond milk and fresh blackberries from Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market. Another way to eat muesli is soaking it in milk overnight; we prefer the texture fresh. This is a great option for vegan / plant-based, vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free breakfasts.
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- ⅓ cup pepitas (roasted, if possible)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- A few pinches kosher salt
- Almond milk, to serve (we used Califia Almond Milk)
- Fresh berries, to serve (optional)
- In a large skillet over moderately low heat, toast 1 cup almonds until fragrant and lightly browned, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, then wipe the pan with a paper towel to remove any almond skin.
- Add ½ cup coconut flakes to the warmed pan and toast until golden, stirring constantly, for a minute or two. Cool the almonds and coconut flakes.
- Chop 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger and 1 cup dried apricots.
- When the almonds and coconut are cool, mix together with ginger, apricots, 3 cups oats, ⅓ cup pepitas, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and a few pinch kosher salt. Store in an airtight container; stores a few weeks, but is best fresh. Serve with almond milk. If desired, top with fresh berries.
This recipe was developed for Califia Farms.