Simple oil-free and vegan toasted muesli flavored with orange zest, maple syrup, coconut and vanilla.
Europe has often struck me as an ill-fitting jigsaw puzzle. As though someone bought dozens of different puzzles, took a piece from each and tried to create a new picture. But as economically and culturally diverse as Europe is, there’s one thing that virtually all European countries appear to have in common: muesli.
On the few occasions that I’ve traveled around Europe, literally every hotel I’ve stayed has offered muesli for breakfast. In Rome the breakfast buffet included chocolate cake, in Stuttgart there were pretzels, York provided vegetarian sausages (until they ran out), and one hotel in Paris even brought out giant cinnamon doughnuts.
But they all offered at least one type of muesli. And cornflakes, for some reason. Why anyone would select cornflakes from a breakfast buffet is beyond me.
Muesli is granola’s healthier cousin. It’s often just made from rolled oats, nuts and dried fruit. Sometimes there’s also sugar, sometimes bran or wheat flakes are thrown in, and occasionally you’ll even find a few chocolate chips in your muesli.
To prevent this muesli from being boring – because, let’s face it, muesli can be pretty darn boring – I’ve added orange zest, maple syrup, shredded coconut and vanilla extract for flavor. Sliced almonds and pecans bring the crunch factor, and the dried blueberries are there because I permanently have berries on the brain.
This muesli isn’t overly sweet because I wanted this breakfast to be actually healthy, as opposed to the sort-of-healthy-but-really-not status of many cereals. There’s also no oil or butter involved even though we’re toasting this muesli.
While milk is muesli’s usual accompaniment, I maintain it’s infinitely better with yogurt and plenty of chopped fruit.
One of my favorite ways to eat muesli is to layer it in a tall glass with Greek-style vanilla yogurt, sliced banana and berries. Alternatively, it makes a nice crunchy topping for a bowl of oatmeal, overnight oats, chia pudding or banana ice cream.
Or, of course, there’s a third option: make like a European hotel and set up a breakfast buffet.
- 2 cups (200g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (30g) shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup (35g) sliced almonds
- ¼ cup (25g) chopped pecans
- 4 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (55g) dried blueberries
- 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, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, chopped pecans and orange zest.
- Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup and vanilla extract, 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 lightly golden.
- Allow the muesli to cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the dried blueberries and store in an airtight container.
- Enjoy the muesli with yogurt and fruit, or with milk.