A nutty, lightly sweetened toasted muesli made with maple syrup – and it’s both oil free and vegan.
While I’m always sad to wave goodbye to the holiday season, there’s something exciting about starting a new year. It’s time to celebrate all the achievements of the previous year, forget all the mistakes (or ideally, learn from them), and be prepared to make this year the best it can be.
Besides, while Christmas may have passed, they’ll be plenty more to celebrate this year. Before you know it, it’ll be Chinese New Year, then Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Pancake Day (perhaps one of the best days of the year), Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day… and so on.
Also, there’s an Olympic Games to see and a US presidential election to watch with either excitement or horror.
I thought I’d start the New Year with a simple toasted muesli. If you’re unfamiliar with toasted muesli, it’s basically a healthier version of granola. Well, it’s supposed to be, anyway. Sometimes toasted muesli and granola are virtually identical.
Unlike granola, toasted muesli (generally) doesn’t have ‘chunks’ or ‘clusters’. So if you’re all about those big chunks of granola, then, uh, sorry – maybe Vanilla Almond Granola or this Spiced Pumpkin Granola are more up your alley.
In summary, toasted muesli is essentially the mid-point between classic, unbaked muesli (also called ‘natural muesli’) and granola. It’s much tastier than classic muesli because, let’s face it, raw oats can taste a bit like sawdust. But at the same time, it’s not as sugary (or addictive!) as those clusters of granola that call my name all afternoon.
Since there aren’t any chunks, toasted muesli typically contains less oil than granola. My version is completely oil-free, and relies on a small amount of maple syrup for sweetness.
While some people prefer their toasted muesli sans sweetener, I maintain the maple syrup is 100% necessary. The liquid helps the muesli toast in the oven, and makes an enormous difference to the taste. Unsweetened cereal is not for me. Just no.
For texture, flavor and general nutty goodness, there’s some shredded coconut, almonds and hazelnuts in this muesli. If – for some baffling reason – you’re not a fan of hazelnuts, they can easily be replaced by chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, cashews, or really any kind of nut. Except for coconut (which, despite the name, isn’t a nut at all).
I usually take a ‘eat and let eat’ approach to serving suggestions, but there are a few things that I’m unusually particular about. One of them is this: muesli shouldn’t be eaten with milk. Yogurt is a much better accompaniment. A good tasting yogurt, that is.
Vanilla, honey and berry flavored yogurts will always be my favorite, but if you enjoy the tartness of plain yogurt, then who am I to disagree? Dairy or non-dairy, whatever works for you.
The point is: creamy yogurt is a million times better than thin milk. Case closed.
Last of all, I hope you’ve had a fabulous start to the year! If not, then there’s still plenty of time for the year to improve (which has to be one of my favorite things about January).
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? You may recall that I resolved to eat plenty of pancakes. And I’m happy to say that I’m on track with that one!
- 2 cups (210g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (60g) chopped hazelnuts
- ⅓ cup (35g) sliced almonds
- ⅓ cup (25g) shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (55g) chopped dried peaches
- Preheat the oven to 320°F (160°C). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, chopped hazelnuts, sliced almonds, shredded coconut and cinnamon.
- Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup, and mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the muesli is golden.
- Allow the muesli to cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the dried peaches and store in an airtight container.
- Enjoy the muesli with yogurt and fruit, or with milk.