Friday, September 23, 2011

No Time to "Cook" Breakfast

I’ll admit, muesli and I don’t know each other. I am a huge fan of overnight oats where you combine rolled oats, milk (I use almond milk) and plain yogurt overnight and simply heat in the morning. Abbie, our newest nutrition nerd, suggested muesli and I pretended I knew what muesli was. I thought muesli was a cold cereal that came in a box but clearly didn’t know. In case you’re unacquainted with this concoction, I’ll let Abbie tell you about it. 

How many times have you grabbed something for breakfast, yogurt’s a popular choice, simply because it’s the easiest thing? This week we set out to debunk the myth that delicious means time consuming. You can put together a hearty, nutritious, flavorful breakfast in minutes the night before you plan on eating it. The key is to have the main ingredients prepped and ready so that all you have to do is mix.
So, on to this magical concoction called muesli. Basically, it's granola, without the toasting and baking. You take a bunch of uncooked rolled oats and other things you like, such as chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and coconut, mix it all together, put it in a sealed container, and walk away. Some of my favorite ingredients to use for muesli are Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats and Unsweetened Shredded Coconut. Various nuts, seeds, and dried fruit should be available at most grocery stores. Look for raw, unsalted varieties. Also look for dried fruit that is fruit only, made without sulfites or sugar.

The night before you want to use the muesli, simply mix a scoop of it with some yogurt and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. You can thin out the yogurt with water or substitute the water with or nut milk, if you prefer. You can use all milk and skip the yogurt but this results in thinner muesli. You can also add a touch of sweetness to the yogurt with maple syrup, honey, or agave.

The next morning, as you wonder how you could possibly find something for breakfast since you have to be out the door five minutes ago, you open the fridge and voila! Breakfast is served.

The following is a combination of several muesli recipes I've gathered in my head over the years, with a special nod to Mark Bittman and Heidi Swanson.

Basic Muesli Recipe
4-6 Servings
2 cups rolled oats
2/3  cup nuts (chopped) and seeds (I used walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used dried cranberries and apricots)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
Plain yogurt
Maple syrup, agave, or honey to sweeten (optional)

*Remember to use whatever nuts, seeds, fruit, etc. that you like.
Combine the oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut and salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a container until you are planning to use it.
When ready to use, for each serving spoon 1/2 cup of yogurt into a bowl. Thin with 1/4 cup nut milk and sweeten with a teaspoon of maple syrup, agave, or honey if desired. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Muesli and place in the refrigerator overnight. Serve garnished with a few chopped nuts or dried fruit.
Do you muesli? What are your favorite fall breakfasts? Any time-saving tricks?


  1. I love the overnight version - so good! I shall try out this recipe for sure!

  2. Nice. I usually grab some Greek yogurt and add a small amount of Kashi's honey almond flax cereal. It's good....I think it's a healthy choice but I am sure there is something lurking in it...even though they claim that it's naturally sweetened :)

  3. Cameo- so many things can be prepped night before: oats/muesli and even smoothie ingredients in blender in fridge. Ayala sounds as though your mixture is kind of like muesli only you can use whole oats/flax vrs packaged if you'd like.

  4. Wow I had no idea about muesli either! Awesome abbie, definitely giving this a shot and passing it along to my granola loving friends.

  5. Yummy. When I was in Austria earlier this year I made sure to get some of that every morning at the hotel's awesome breakfast.

  6. Can you eat it right away or does it have to stay overnight in the fridge?

  7. Natalie, it softens as it sits and sort of melds together so you can eat it as soon as 15 min or let it sit and "steep" depends how you like it.

  8. This sounds amazing! I didn't know this was actually muesli either. I am definitely going to make this.

  9. I eat muesli when I go to Europe. And Le Pain Quotodien. And frankly, I never knew what it was other than it's really good!

    Thanks for the clarification and the recipe!

  10. YUMMY!!! Ate muesli all the time when I lived in Australia. Where do find unsweetened coconut, I have been having a problem finding it. Also, think I am going to add some pumpkin seeds and cinnamon and nutmeg for a fall treat.

    Thanks for the recipe. Can't wait to try it!

  11. Very yummy recipe! I have my dark chocolate muesli that is fabulous, but I heat it up in the morning. I've had cold muesli before with yogurt, but never actually made it so I'll definitely have to try this out!

  12. I have never tried muesli, but I think if I did I would have it just on top of yogurt, not overnight. I tried overnight oats once and I hate the gummy texture. I would prefer it be someone hard (as in, raw, or not soft from sitting in yogurt). I'm not even a texture persona at all, but for some reason overnight oats just give me the creeps. Maybe I've been doing it wrong? I've only tried it once. Perhaps I should give it a try with muesli, but I feel like the outcome would be the same! Either way, I need to try muesli, we do sell it where I Work and it always looks delicious.

  13. Glad to hear such good feedback! I'm making myself a bowl right now!
    Gina - amazingly, it doesn't get gummy. I think cooked oats get gummy, but the overnight version simply soaks up liquid. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

  14. Just had muesli this morning for breakfast. I love it. I read a while back how Chrissie Wellington eats it for breakfast nearly everyday and as a triathlete if it worked for her I was certainly going to try it and I have not stopped eating it yet.

    I also will make the muesli as an overnight oats breakfast and have it in the morning cold. My container of choice is a nut butter jar that was just finished. Perfect for getting that nut butter taste in every bite.