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Easy NT Friendly Cold Cereal/Instant Oatmeal

cold cereal instant oatmeal

Okay, real food lovers, I’ve got a recipe for you. Amazingly versatile, it’s a cold breakfast cereal and quick-cooking hot oatmeal rolled into one.

And, to top it all off, it’s inspired by Nourishing Traditions (a FoodRenegade Must Read).

I don’t know about you, but I was addicted to cold breakfast cereals. I went for the “healthy” brands like Kashi, Back to Nature, or Mom’s Best. Even after deciding to only eat sprouted, soaked, or fermented grains, my family still had a hard time giving the morning ecstasy up. Our turning point was learning that the process of extrusion — so useful to make all those fun breakfast cereal shapes — makes the oils in the grain go rancid. The image of my beloved, healthy breakfast cereals being deodorized to hide their vile secret sent shock waves through my system.

We stopped eating cold cereals cold turkey.

That’s when I started wondering how to create a cold breakfast cereal that was wholesome. Plenty of folks make homemade granola, and I supposed I could go that route.  But soaking the rolled oats only to dehydrate and bake them again later seemed like work.

I’m lazy.

So, this is what I came up with. The great news is that when it’s cold and served with raw honey and milk, it’s an entirely raw and fermented food!

Easy NT Friendly Cold Cereal/Instant Oatmeal
4 cups of steel cut oats (where to find quality oats & grains)
1 quart of yogurt (where to find good yogurt)
1 cup of dried fruit (I use raisins)
1 cup of unsweetened coconut slivers (where to find coconut products)
1 cup of seeds or nuts (I use raw sunflower seeds) (where to find raw, soaked, or sprouted nuts & seeds)

Mix the oats and yogurt in a large bowl, cover, and let sit overnight. In the morning, mix in the other ingredients. Keep stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks.

TO SERVE COLD: Scoop into bowl, drizzle with raw honey, pour in raw milk. Enjoy!

TO SERVE HOT: Mix equal amounts of cereal and water in a bowl.

For quick-cooking hot oatmeal, mix equal parts of cereal and water in a bowl.

For quick-cooking hot oatmeal, mix equal parts of cereal and water in a bowl.

Microwave on High for 3-6 minutes, depending on your microwave and desired consistency. Or, cook on a stove until boiling or desired consistency is reached. Add a pat of butter, a dash of cinnamon, and a drizzle of raw honey or maple syrup. Stir and enjoy!

Voila! Quick-cooking, convenient, Nourishing Traditions friendly hot oatmeal.

Voila! Quick-cooking, convenient, Nourishing Traditions friendly hot oatmeal.

ETA: Please note the secrets to this recipe are twofold. 1) Use equal parts of steel cut oats to yogurt. This way you can make this in whatever quantity will keep your family in cold and hot cereal for two or three weeks, and 2) Sweeten with honey or maple syrup — not unrefined sugar or stevia. You need a strongly flavored sweetener to blend well with the sour of the plain yogurt and make the cereal pleasantly tangy.

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

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42 Responses to Easy NT Friendly Cold Cereal/Instant Oatmeal
  1. Amber
    December 10, 2008 | 5:50 pm

    That looks yummy! I’m currently hooked on a boxed granola that’s more expensive and much higher in sugar than any kind I could make myself, but I’ve been too afraid of the labor involved to try to make my own. Yours looks way easier. How much does it make and how do you store it? 8 cups of steel cut oats sounds like a lot for one person.

  2. KristenM
    December 10, 2008 | 6:01 pm

    This makes enough to feed my family of four for about two or three weeks. I’d say it takes up roughly the space of a gallon, and I store it in the zipper-sealed plastic bags I get when buying bulk food items at my grocery store. I’ve got to reuse them somehow, and this is a good fit.

    You could easily halve the recipe.

    THE KEY is to use equal parts steel cut oats to yogurt. So, 4 cups oats, 4 cups yogurt. 2 cups oats, 2 cups yogurt. Then, you basically just add coconut, nuts, and dried fruits to your taste.

    You DEFINITELY want to sweeten with honey, though, when you serve it b/c otherwise it’s too tangy!

  3. debbie
    March 28, 2009 | 1:28 pm

    I had never thought of serving raw oats soaked in yogurt! It’s funny because this is how I start my NT-friendly Baked Oatmeal… although it’s not raw, I find it easy, delicious and nutritious. I like to eat it cold with milk; my husband prefers eating it toaster-oven warmed as a bar with his morning coffee. My 2 1/2 yr old son eats it anyway I give it to him – but usually picks out the raisins first! One of the best things about it is the minimal amount of honey required to sweeten it.

  4. Lisa Imerman
    July 23, 2009 | 7:20 am

    This is interesting. Not sure I would enjoy uncooked oats, but sounds interesting. I must say, I don’t agree with the microwave book (and is very un-WAPF to use the microwave) but could easily be made on the stove like we make our oatmeal porridge.

    If you want another cold breakfast cereal idea that is WAPF approved, there is a set of handouts from a lecture that Sally Fallon did for our chapter. There is a chapter leader who created this cold cereal that is NT compatible. Sally says it is very good.

    You can find the recipe handout on our website for our chapter. http://www.htnetwork.org and click on the link for Growing Connections, then scroll down to the May 30th event and there is a link for the recipe document

    • Patti
      February 19, 2013 | 2:03 pm

      Lisa, that event/document is no longer available. Would you be so kind as to post it?

  5. Emily
    October 22, 2009 | 7:59 pm

    Kristen,

    Hi! When you’re soaking overnight, are you leaving the oats and yogurt out at room temperature, or letting them soak in the fridge? Are there pros/cons to either way? I’ve been using the fridge, just in case.

    Thanks!

    • KristenM
      November 21, 2010 | 12:35 am

      I always leave them on the counter at room temperature. Fermentation slows down almost entirely in cool environments. Those lactic-acid producing bacteria much prefer warmth. Furthermore, you need a warm, acidic environment to help pre-digest the grain.

  6. Melissa
    August 26, 2010 | 2:03 pm

    Do you know where I can find out about the extrusion process and it going rancid? I tried to Google it, but can’t find anything that talks about. Thanks!

  7. Destin Joy Layne
    December 16, 2010 | 12:39 am

    Hi and question. First, great post! Second, is it advised to wash the oats or drain the liquid after fermenting them? i usually cook them in a porridge (after fermenting) and ive been wondering whether the yogurt and soaking water should be cooked or drained.

  8. Maria
    March 1, 2011 | 1:05 am

    Thank you so much for this great idea! Like you, I think making granola is a bit too much work. I made a half batch of this recipe a few days ago and I’ve been having some almost every day – either for breakfast or an evening snack. I usually eat it cold with milk and it tastes just like granola – only chewier. It’s delicious hot, too! Unfortunately my little boys didn’t care for the coconut (it is pretty chewy for them), but that’s okay – more for mom! I may try toasting the coconut next time to see if they’ll like it any better.

  9. Cottonpickinfarm
    March 3, 2011 | 4:39 pm

    I used to make almost this exact recipe back in the 80′s. Got the recipe from our newspaper. They called it:

    Swiss Museli.

    Equal parts Qats and yogurt
    Chopped fresh apples, with peels left on
    your choice dried fruit
    Nuts, if desired (sliced almonds were great!)
    honey to sweeten

    Mix together, and let sit in your refrigerator. Use as desired for cold or hot cereal.

    The only change I’d make now is to mix oats and yogurt together and let sit on my counter overnight. I’ll be making this for our family of six today!

    Thank you for this reminder of a former favorite!

  10. peggy
    March 3, 2011 | 7:08 pm

    Is there another liquid you can use other than yogurt, such as kefir water? Both of my little ones have severe food allergies to dairy. It would be so great to find an alternative to cold cereal in the mornings (they also have egg and nut allergies!)

    • Deborah
      March 4, 2011 | 4:58 am

      Something must be in the air…I just had a craving for the wonderful Swiss style museli. Checking for recipes I found some soak in yougurt and others say in fruit juice. I tried pinapple and mixed in yougurt, just this morning. I found that with yougurt it need more yougurt than the 1 to 1 ratio . I once read that yougurt can be tolerated by people with milk allergies…it escapes me exactly why…

      • Michele @ Frugal Granola
        May 7, 2011 | 2:26 pm

        People who are lactose-intolerant can often handle yogurt that has been fermented a long time (12- 24 hours) to remove the lactose. However, this is not the same thing as a true milk allergy. People who have a caesin (milk protein) allergy would still not be able to eat dairy yogurt. (Coconut yogurt is a delicious alternative!) :)

  11. Yelena Silverman
    March 4, 2011 | 9:48 pm

    I LOVE your blog, but I was surprised that you suggested using a microwave to nuke all of that super healthy food. You don’t still use a microwave, do you? Experiments reported in a medical journal (The Lancet 12/8/89) show that it alters food enough to cause, upon ingestion “structural, functional and immunological changes” in the body. Microwaves transform the amino acid L-proline into D-proline, a proven toxin to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

  12. Abbey
    March 7, 2011 | 4:24 pm

    Made this over the weekend and it’s a huge hit with the hubby. I may get him off instant grits after all.

    Now, off to start making yogurt…

  13. Astorienne
    March 13, 2011 | 2:26 pm

    So amazingly delicious – and so easy! Thank you for this beautiful breakfast.

  14. Kari
    March 19, 2011 | 2:26 am

    Once you soak the oats over night in the yogurt do you store them in the fridge until used up? I really appreciate this post! I have been desperately looking for cereal alternatives. Thank you!

    • Kari
      March 19, 2011 | 2:28 am

      Ha! Silly me! Just re-read the article and saw the answer to my question!

  15. Su
    April 2, 2011 | 12:29 pm

    This is probably a silly question but your recipe says ‘Keep stored in your refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 weeks.’ Does that mean it has to sit there 3-4 weeks before you can eat it, or that 3-4 weeks is the limit to how long you can store it before it goes bad?

  16. pb
    July 14, 2011 | 10:26 pm

    Can’t tell you how thrilled I am to stumble onto your website searching for ALL organic/healthy substitutes and recipes (have several of my own to share later!) My question is – what are you’re feelings about using a microwave? I notice you use it in your recipes. I’ve read & researched a lot about it. My gut tells me we haven’t seen the end-of-the-story about it’s harmful effects. Love to hear what you have to say… ps – I’m older and have observed many emerging maladies I believe are the result/manifestation of technologies/products, etc not present a few generations ago… Hello Alzheimer’s… Thanks for your reply (& dedication to healthy eating!!!) pb

    • KristenM
      July 14, 2011 | 10:30 pm

      In general, I don’t use a microwave. For the last two years, I haven’t even owned one. That said, I’m still not convinced they’re awful/terrible/bad for you. What I do know is that even the best ones seem to heat VERY unevenly, and so I *never* use them to cook anything. At most, I used it to reheat small portions of foods when it didn’t seem worth it to dirty a pot or pan for the stove. These days, though, I use a countertop convection oven for the same purpose.

  17. Crystal
    July 29, 2011 | 7:45 pm

    What does NT and WAPF mean? I’m new to looking at this site and found my self browsing at recipes.

    • Heather
      November 4, 2012 | 12:43 pm

      WAPF….Weston A. Price Foundation

      NT….Nourishing Traditions

      I realize this is a year and a half late but it was bugging me so I had to look it up lol

  18. Jennifer
    August 5, 2011 | 8:53 pm

    Where did you read/find that the oils in cold cereal go rancid and have to deodorized? I have not been able to find any information.
    Thanks!

  19. wendy
    August 18, 2011 | 9:30 am

    Hi – Love this site – just joined! Since we’re talking cereals here, I would just like to share mine with you. I keep a jar in the fridge that has a mix of:
    ground flax, sesame seeds, spelt or oat bran, raw sunflower seeds, hulled hemp seeds (lots of this!), raw pumpkin seed and some crushed walnuts.

    RECIPE: Although the above mix is quite delicious all on it’s own – with fruit and maybe plain yogurt added, I start of with a half cup of organic kamut flakes in my bowl (to give it a granola feel) and then add an equal amount of my mix.
    THEN: Instead of adding milk, I pour in a layer of delicious apple cider. Then, I add some coconut oil on top. The reason for the apple cider to start is to prevent the oil from hardening on the bottom of the bowl on contact. Then, you add some fruit or raisins and a dollup or two of plain yogurt (optional) and then, top up with more apple cider (or cut it with water if too intense for you). No other sweetener is needed for this cereal. Your jar of mix could contain any combination of seeds or chopped nuts that you enjoy – and it tastes great!

  20. BlessedCP
    August 28, 2011 | 8:19 pm

    Can we use kefir instead of yogurt? I am new to kefir and am not sure of its usages beyond smoothies and substituting for buttermilk in baking. :-)

  21. Angela
    January 20, 2012 | 8:25 am

    This sounds wonderful! I only wish I could get my hubby on board. He is a die hard Kashi fan! He won’t eat yogurt either, but my daughter and I will definitely have to try it. With hubby I try to go as real as I can get without him giving me a hard time. He’s an adult afterall (and I have to live with him…lol).

  22. Rachel G
    June 24, 2012 | 11:57 am

    For the people who asked about oils making cereals rancid

    I don’t know about breakfast cereal, but I have read about processing flour. Basically, if you crush the whole kernel of the wheat, the oils will make the flour go rancid in a few weeks. In order to make the flour last on the supermarket shelf, parts of the kernel are removed. With whole wheat (or is it whole grain) flour, some of the parts of the kernel are added back in.

    I read about this is a book called Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley.

  23. Susan H
    November 26, 2012 | 9:28 pm

    Hi Kristen,

    I make this all the time and absolutely LOVE it. But I find myself out of steel cut oats, but with plenty of regular rolled oats. Would you recommend trying this with the rolled kinds? I’m afraid the consistency might not work as well.

    Thanks!

    • KristenM
      November 26, 2012 | 9:34 pm

      I don’t know. If I were you, I’d experiment with a small bit instead of making a large amount.

      • Susan H
        November 30, 2012 | 2:28 pm

        thanks, I actually haven’t tried it yet. Too chicken. The one time I did add some regular oats to the steel cut ones, the regular oats didn’t seem to have the right texture. Maybe I’ll get brave, though…

        Thank you for responding, and for all that you do!

        • Patti
          February 19, 2013 | 2:09 pm

          Have you tried it yet?? (with rolled oats)

  24. Allison S
    February 6, 2013 | 1:40 pm

    Made this in my dorm room for a quick and filling breakfast! I made mine with slivered almonds, chia seeds and dried cranberries and LOVED IT! Way better than the lame breakfast options in the dining hall.

  25. Erin
    March 27, 2013 | 12:34 am

    Hi there

    I agree! If you are going to the effort to make a nutritious breakfast, don’t waster the nutrition by putting it in the microwave! Not good for you!

    Great recipe tho-thx!

  26. jen
    April 7, 2013 | 3:29 pm

    I am confused… I thought when you soaked oats you were supposed to drain that liquid off and even rinse the phytic acid off before cooking them? is that true? I immediately thought of that with this recipe because there is no draining or rinsing? can somebody please help correct me? thanks :)

    • Michelle
      May 16, 2013 | 12:57 am

      Nourishing Traditions, p. 452: “Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.”

      There is actually a chemical change to the phytic acid so it no longer binds with minerals. So there is no need to rinse.

  27. Sue
    June 8, 2013 | 11:34 am

    Can I do this with other grains in addition to the oats? I’m thinking farro, kamut, or wheat berries…

  28. Rebecca
    June 17, 2013 | 2:02 pm

    Do you store the oats in the yogurt IN the fridge overnight, or on the counter? Can I cook them on the stove? I don’t have a microwave, and I have no intentions of buying one….I LOVE oatmeal though…Like, it is my favorite grain…and I used to eat oatmeal every single day….

  29. Sarah`
    August 26, 2013 | 1:51 pm

    Do you have a how-to on soaking rolled oats and dehydrating them for real food granola — we have also ditched cereal but one of the things that my oldest will eat is granola. Any leads are appreciated!

  30. Kati
    November 15, 2013 | 2:34 pm

    This is a great post! I’ve been thinking about oats lately, and was going to try using kombucha to ferment them, as I can’t tolerate casein. Maybe I’ll get goats yogurt instead.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.