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Cereal Beyond the Bowl

by Lorna Sass

When the Vancouver-based organic company Nature’s Path asked me to develop recipes using their breakfast cereals, I was thrilled. I loved the company’s dedication to whole grains and was already enjoying their cereals.

But like most people, I was enjoying the cereals right out of the bowl, either doused in milk or tossed with yogurt. Once I started thinking of the cereals as healthy, fast-food ingredients, there was no stopping me.

Because the cereals are only lightly sweetened, they work in savory dishes as well as sweet ones. Here are a few of my favorite recipes. Go to www.naturespath.com for dozens of others.


Nature’s Path Instant Oatmeal Pancakes

1 large egg or egg replacer
2/3 c. well-shaken buttermilk
2 packages Nature’s Path® Hemp Instant Hot Oatmeal
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
Maple syrup, honey, or preserves, for serving

1. In medium bowl, lightly beat egg or egg replacer. Blend in buttermilk. Stir in oatmeal and baking soda.
2. Let sit for 2 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat a heavy griddle or large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush a light film of oil on top. When oil sizzles, ladle on 1/8 cup (2 TBLS) batter per pancake, allowing space for spreading. Cook until tops are dry around edges and bottoms are speckled golden brown.
4. For best results, shove thin spatula under entire pancake to flip. Continue cooking until second side is speckled brown. Serve immediately with syrup, honey, or preserves.

Makes eight 3-inch pancakes


SmartBran™ Fruit & Flax Muffins

Considering that this recipe is vegan—it has no butter or eggs—it has amazingly good texture and is very light.


1 1/4 c. SmartBran™ cereal
1 3/4 c. unsweetened apple juice
5 tbs. Nature’s Path® Flax Plus™ Flaxseed Meal**
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. unbleached white flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice or cardamom
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil (plus more for greasing muffin tins)
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. dried cranberries, blueberries or raisins

1. Set rack in center and preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a small bowl, stir SmartBran™ into 1 cup juice and set aside for 15 minutes to soften.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
4. Grease 12 standard muffin tins with oil.
5. In a medium bowl, beat flax meal with remaining 3/4 cup apple juice for 1 minute. Blend in oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add SmartBran™ with unabsorbed juice and beat for 30 seconds. Pour liquid into dry ingredients. Add cranberries. Stir until just blended; do not over mix.
6. Divide batter among muffins tins. Bake for 7 minutes. Rotate muffins tins front to back. Continue baking until muffins spring back to a gentle touch and a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
7. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edges and un-mold. Cool to room temperature and eat within a few hours, or freeze for up to 4 months.

Yield: 12 muffins

* This recipe suitable for vegan diets.
** Or grind 3 tbs. of whole flaxseed.


Mesa Sunrise Black Bean Casserole

1 can (15 ounces) black beans
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
1 c. pimento-stuffed olives, drained and sliced crosswise
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt (add less if using salted beans)
3 cups Nature’s Path® Mesa Sunrise cereal
4 oz jalapeno jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 2 tightly packed cups)

1. Place rack in middle and preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a large rectangular casserole about 2 inches high.
2. In a bowl, combine beans (with liquid), tomatoes (with liquid), corn, olives, oil, chili, oregano, and salt to taste.
3. Evenly distribute 1 cup Mesa Sunrise on bottom of dish. Layer about 1/3 of bean mixture on top. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on beans. Make two more layers of cereal, bean mixture, and cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove foil. Continue baking until center is hot and casserole is bubbly, about 5 minutes more minutes. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut into large squares or scoop up with a large spoon, and serve hot.

Serves 6


SmartBran™ Mediterranean Salad Toss

Use these crisp, zesty, nutritious nuggets instead of croutons to add lots of fiber and great taste to your green salads.

1 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. ground oregano
1/2 tsp. ground rosemary
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 c. Nature’s Path SmartBran™ cereal

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a sheet pan or lipped cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In a small bowl, blend together the oil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic, powder, and salt. Place the cereal in a bowl. Drizzle the seasoned oil over the cereal and toss to coat.
3. Pat into a single layer on the sheet pan and bake in the center of the oven for 3 minutes. Stir. Continue baking until aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes more. (Take care not to burn.) Transfer to a plate, and cool to room temperature. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

Yield: Makes 1 cup (recipe may be doubled)

Copyright, Lorna Sass, 2007


Lorna Sass is the author of WHOLE GRAINS EVERY DAY, EVERY WAY, which won a 2007 James Beard Foundation Award in the "healthy focus" category. Her website is www.lornasass.com. Sass is also the author of Pressure Perfect: Two Hour Taste in Twenty Minutes Using Your Pressure Cooker.


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