Monday 25 February 2008

WBB Microwave Muesli

When I lived in a student household many years ago, we went through a phase of making our own muesli. We started following the recipe religiously and then began to throw in whatever we pleased. What made it hard was that we started to use a sweetner (malt extract?) that was very hard when cool and then got runny when warmed. It was not very sweet and probably came from the university food co-op. But it was so hard to work with that it took the joy out of cooking.

I have eaten muesli many times since then – when trying to eat well and lose weight, when not well and unable to eat much else for breakfast, and when trying to find a replacement for our beloved Alpen which is not available in Australia (unless you buy it at ridiculously inflated export prices from a British shop).

I have been seeing muesli on blogs lately and decided to dig out the recipe we made as students. We must have eaten quite a bit of it because I had upsized all the quantities in pen beside the ingredients list. Then I remembered why we loved it. When I moved into that household they didn’t have a microwave and I did. So it was a bit of novelty to be microwaving anything. Now I like the idea of muesli you can make without having the oven on, especially in summer.

But I also remembered why we started experimenting. It is a good recipe but like most muesli recipes, it can accommodate any whim or abundance. Of course I checked out some bloggers’ recipes for some inspiration. Wendy used flaxseeds and lots of sweet spices, Monika used flaked coconut and agave nectar (and she told me no when I wondered if I could used olive oil), Ricki used sunflower seeds and tahini. Tahini? To bind it and help form clusters. Maybe this replaces the oil? Sounds interesting but I gave the tahini a miss as I am not interested in clusters. In fact my recipe instructs me to break up clusters, which I am happy to do (although I feel a bit like a stern school teacher breaking up the fun!)

So the next question was: why did all my fellow bloggers call it granola. Were the clusters typical of granola rather than muesli? Over to see if Wikipedia can tell me if granola is the same this as muesli. According to Wiki, muesli is untoasted (‘dry’) or soaked (‘fresh’). Now, as someone who doesn’t like porridge, the idea of soaking oats is anathema to me, no matter how trendy it might be. Whereas, they say, granola is baked til crunchy. But I have always called that toasted muesli. Maybe it is because the name is no longer trademarked except in Australia.

As usual, Wiki answers one question and then I find all other interesting facts. Granola was revived in the 1960s and associated with the hippie movement. It even made an appearance at the Woodstock Music Festival. It is even slang to refer to hippies. Is this why Neil Diamond called his song Crunchy Granola Suite! Apparently conservatives in the USA occasionally called the left-leaning, granola to indicate they are mostly ‘fruit, nuts and flakes’.

I will still call mine muesli as I always have. I like it with stewed fruit, fruit juice or yoghurt, but never milk. This muesli is so good I am finding myself just snacking on a small dry bowl of it. It is crispy, crunchy, not too sweet and has explosions of tart fruit. One of my delights is using dragonfruit which is purple and seedy. You’ll find out where I got it soon. I also managed to use up some green dyed coconut that has sat in my pantry too long. Who would have believed I could get purple and green into muesli! Any grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruit can be used, so long as the quantities are roughly adhered to.

I am sending this to Suganya from Tasty Palettes who is hosting this month’s Weekend Breakfast Blogging. The theme is healthy eats and there will be an interesting round-up if her idly and sambar is any indication – check out the beautiful photos of the idly plates.

Microwave Muesli
(adapted from Alison Holst)

½ cup agave nectar
¼ cup oil (not olive)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
3 cups rolled oats
½ cup coconut, shredded or dessicated
½ cup wheatgerm
⅛ cup flaxseed
⅛ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup chopped nuts (I used toasted hazelnuts)
½ cup dragon fruit, chopped (or figs)
½ cup apricots, chopped
½ cup sultanas

Put agave, oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a small microwave proof bowl. Place in the microwave for about 2 minutes on High or until starting to bubble. Meantime combine oats, wheatgerm, coconut, and seeds in a shallow microwave dish (I thought we always used a mixing bowl). I didn’t include the nuts because they were already toasted but if not toasted they should be added at this point. When liquid is heated pour into oat mixture and mix.

Place oat mixture in microwave on High for 4 minutes. Stir well. Now microwave for 1 minute at a time and stir after each minute for about 4-10 minutes (I did 5 minutes) until golden brown. Stir in nuts and fruit. Cool. Break up if necessary. Stir in an airtight container when cold.

On the Stereo:
A warm and yeasty corner: Appendix out


  1. I've never thought of muesli as microwaveable. That's a fantastic idea. Sounds yummy! (And sooo much more economical than buying it)

  2. As you know, I love homemade granola, so this will be on my "to try" list (always nice to try something different!). I haven't seen dragonfruit, but it sounds delightful (esp. with that green coconut contrast--reminiscent of the walls in our house before we re-painted!!) ;) Glad that I can sub figs, as I always have lots of those on hand.

  3. Mmmm... I love muesli (or granola, orwhatever) with Greek yogurt, but tend to avoid it as the commercial stuff is so loaded with calories and sugar. I may try your recipe!

  4. Johanna, Thanks a bunch. For the entry and your compliments. Now I don't have to heat a big oven for my morning fuel. Thanks to you. What does dragon fruit taste like? I see my grocery store always carrying it. Its quite pricey, though. Exotic, they say :)

  5. Sounds very heathful and I am always looking for a good alternative to oatmeal and a bowl of fruit. Cannot do the flaxseeds but I am sure I could substitute another seed!

  6. I have just got back into making my own toasted muesli after about a year's break. It's a bit plainer - just rolled oats, a bit of fruit juice, and whatever nut and spice I find in the house. I definitely prefer eating it with yoghurt rather than milk, as you do! The only problem is that a batch lasts little more than a week. :-D

  7. I love, love, love that this uses agave nectar instead of honey or sugar. I can't wait to try this one!

  8. thanks romina - I'd recommend trying muesli in the microwave - feels less overwhelming than all that baking!

    thanks ricki - dragonfruit is a wonderful revelation but I think figs would equally give some different textures if not colours (now I think a wall the colour of my green coconut might even be a bit much for my love of green)

    thanks Ann - I agree with you about the commercial mixes - home made tastes so much better and you know what is in it. I think I partly stopped eating the commercial stuff because it was so sweet.

    thanks suganya (I have a bad feeling I misspelt your name - apologies if I did) - I was more aware of the texture than the taste but it wasn't too sweet (what does purple taste like???)

    thanks Deb - it would be easy to substitute for the flaxseeds - I put them in because it is one abundance I am always eager to reduce or I will never finish the pack

    thanks cindy - I remember making larger quantities in our share house - the amount I made the other night looked smaller when in a container than I expected.

    thanks Mrs W - glad this appeals to your sugar-free diet - got the idea from monika and was pleased to find another use for my agave - it wasn't too sweet at the end either

  9. i was looking out for a simple microwave muesli recipe and came across yours. just tried it and it has come out yummmmmmmm. so much better than the ones available commercially. thanks a lot.


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