Recipe: Half-baked Fruity Muesli

closeupI just couldn’t resist the pun in that title.  Sorry.  But it really is half baked, because I did toast about half of what went into this muesli while leaving the rest untoasted.  The reason for this is that we are about to have a houseguest who has expressed a preference for cereal for breakfast, and has diabetes.  I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable about diabetes as I should be, but to me this sounds like something low-GI is called for, and oats are pretty much the definition of low-GI.

Except that if I’m making muesli, I’d like to make a kind that I’ll eat myself, and I do rather like my muesli toasted.  But toasted means you have to toast it with something, generally either fat of some kind or sugar of some kind, neither of which are particularly diabetes-friendly. 

So I’ve compromised.  I haven’t used any fat, and have used a small amount of apple juice and agave nectar to crisp things up.  And then I’ve added extra, un-cooked and un-sweetened oats at the end, along with the dried fruit, to dilute any inappropriate sweetness.  I know I’ve created something delicious; the question will be whether it is both delicious and something my guest can eat…

Your shopping list

250 g rolled oats, plus 100 g rolled oats for later (proper oats, not the quick kind, please)
100 g flaked or chopped almonds
80 g raw unsweetened pistachios
85 g sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp cinnamon
30 ml agave nectar (or honey, of course)
60 ml unsweetened apple juice (which, lets face it, is plenty sweet already)
60 g dried cherries
60 g dried cranberries
60 g dried apples
60 g dried apricots

Now what will you do with it?

Put your first 250 g of oats into a big bowl with the nuts, sunflower seeds, agave, apple juice and cinnamon.  Mix everything together well, then spread out on a paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 180° for 20-30 minutes (depending on how thin your layer is), checking and turning everything at five minute intervals.  If you used flaked almonds, you will probably need to remove some of these as they cook.  Sorry.  I know it’s a pain.  You could also toast them separately in a dry pan and add back in later.

In between checking the oven, measure your cherries and cranberries back into that big bowl, and chop your dried apricots and apples into the bowl too.  Add in the remaining 100 g of oats.

fruit

Glorious fruit!

When the oven mixture is nicely golden, add it to the bowl with the fruit, mix it all around, and then spread it back out on the baking sheet to cool.

cooling

Muesli on a tray. What more can I say?
(and this is me resisting the urge to make this caption into a doggerel poem consisting of lines that end in ‘ay’.)

Store in an airtight container until you are ready to eat it.  I think this would be fabulous with yoghurt, or as Bircher Muesli, which is where you soak it overnight in water or orange juice so that it swells up and then serve it with fresh fruit and yoghurt.

muesli

Variations

You don’t have to toast this.  If you really want your muesli unsweetened, skip the agave and apple juice, and just mix everything else together.  Easy.

If you are allergic to nuts but fine with seeds, you could skip the nuts and add in pepitas, sesame seeds, etc, and maybe even flaked coconut (I wouldn’t toast this, it will burn like lightning).  Sesame seeds should either be left uncooked or toasted in  fryingpan while you watch them like a hawk!

If you’re avoiding fructose, this is not the muesli for you, but you could always replace the fruit with seeds as above.

This cereal is of course vegan and is hopefully low-GI (depends whether agave nectar is good or bad this week, really).  In terms of gluten, most people with celiac disease are actually fine with oats, provided they are from a gluten-free source, but since oats tend to be produced in the same places as wheat, barley and rye, they can be a problem.  This really is one to ask your doctor about.  But there are a fair number of other rolled grains out there (I’ve heard good things about rolled quinoa) which would work excellently here and make the whole thing gluten-free.

Flavour-wise, the world’s your oyster, really.  Any dried fruit you like the look of, any seeds, any nuts, any rolled grains would work here.  And there’s no need to stick to my proportions, either.  Go wild!

toasty

This is how it looked before I realised that it probably needed some extra un-cooked oats to make it more diabetes-friendly.

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This time last year…

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9 responses to “Recipe: Half-baked Fruity Muesli

  1. How many servings in this portion?

  2. I’m not sure your guest is going to be able to eat this. I just ran it through my nutrition software, and a 50 gm serving (about 1/2 US cup) has 42gm of sugar. I know *I* can’t tolerate that much sugar in one serving, and 1/2 is not a filling portion. I’m sure it’s yummy, but it’s not diabetic friendly. Even if the sugars are mostly low-GI (fructose rather than glucose/sucrose), it’s still awfully high.

    • Thanks very much for the advice, but can I just clarify – did you really mean 42 grams of sugar in a 50 gram serving, or was there a typo somewhere? Because while I accept that the muesli is sweeter than it should be (presumably thanks to all the fruit, as well as the agave and juice), that sounds like it’s 84% sugar, which seems shockingly high, especially as it doesn’t taste all that sweet…

      (ETA: I just ran it through the Food Standards Australia calculator, and got about 38g carbohydrate including 18g sugar in a 90 g serving. I can see I didn’t allow for the apple juice and agave getting more concentrated with cooking, but it’s a big difference, even so. Also, I just want to clarify that I do not doubt your expertise, and really appreciate you taking the time to look this over – I’m just astonished at those numbers and would really like to understand your ‘working out’ a bit better.)

      • Well, it comes up 42gm sugar for 1/2 US cup serving. I may have the weight calculated wrong (I must, since it comes up 60gm total carb – must be 100gm serving, since I get fat+carb+protein = 76gm).

        • So, in summary, still probably too sweet, but not quite as bad as having cake for breakfast!

          Thanks so much for checking and clarifying for me.

          • Toasting the oats and nuts may convert a small amount of complex carbs (starches) to simple carbs (sugars), but not enough to worry about, and won’t change the total carb content.

  3. My weights and volumes are strictly estimates from your recipe and online converters, so my data may be way off base; yours is probably closer to correct.

    • Actually, we’re getting fairly similar numbers if we assume 100g servings, but yes, I imagine an Australian calculator will have a more exact notion of the brands I’m likely to have been using.

      While I’m being annoying and picking your brains, would toasting nuts or oats increase their sugar content (assuming no other sweeteners involved)?

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