Jun 232014


Multi Grain Hot Cereal

Commercially available gluten free multi-grain cereal is mighty tasty, but not especially cheap. I make my own by combining odds and ends of whatever grains I have in the pantry that need to be used up. Sometimes there’s only a little bit of flour, rice or rolled oats left in a package. Rather than keep the entire bulky package in the pantry, I add the little bit to my jar of multi-grain cereal and shake to blend. It’s a handy way to use up pricey gluten free grains, so nothing goes to waste.

Over the years we’ve found that adding some amount of protein to this cereal makes it keep you full longer. I usually add soy flour or soy grits, which are reasonably priced at my local Health Food Co-op,  or coarsely ground textured vegetable protein (TVP). You wouldn’t think TVP would work as a hot cereal, but it blends right in with everything else, adding a bit of texture, but not really tasting of anything except cereal. Another option is to stir in a spoonful of peanut butter while the cereal is cooking.

Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Cereal

Choose 3 or more of the following:

FLOURS & MEALS–These are used as is. They do not require processing in the blender.

  • Cornmeal
  • Grits
  • Millet Flour
  • Rice Flour
  • Buckwheat Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Soy Flour

CEREALS–These are used as is. They do not require processing in the blender.

  • Rolled Oats (gluten free)
  • Oat Bran (gluten-lite, not gluten-free)
  • Soy Grits
  • Brown Rice Farina or Cream of Rice

GRAINS–These should be processed in a blender or a coffee mill,  1/4-cup at a time, until finely ground. Some of these, like rice, take quite a bit of grinding, so be patient and give them long enough in the blender to get small.

  • Brown or White Rice, regular or instant
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat Groats
  • Quinoa

MISCELLANEOUS–These may be processed in a blender or coffee mill if desired.

  • Unflavored TVP (surprisingly good)
  • Finely chopped peanuts
  • Finely chopped sunflower seeds
  • Ground Flax Seed (purchase pre-ground)

Multi-Grain cereal is made by combining a variety of grains and cooking them as hot cereal. The cereal turns out best if all of the foods have similar cooking times. This is accomplished by grinding the longer cooking grains, like rice, into small bits so they will cook in a short amount of time. I use a blender for grinding these grains. They don’t need to be ground into flour, just ground into smallish bits so they will cook in about 10 minutes.

The process is simple–all of your chosen grains are combined in a resealable plastic or glass container. I use a clean mayonnaise jar to store mine. The ratio of grains isn’t that important. I usually use roughly equal amounts of each grain. But if I have an abundance of any one grain then I add more of it to use it up. After sitting on the shelf some of the coarser grains may work their way to the top of the heap. A gentle stirring or brisk shaking of the cereal container will distribute everything evenly again. Store on the pantry shelf or in the refrigerator.

For one large serving I use:

  • 1/3-cup Multi Grain Cereal
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups water.

For 4 average servings combine:

  • 1-cup Multi-Grain Cereal
  • 1/2-teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups water

Use the smaller amount of water first and then add more if you think you need it. Water can’t be exact because different grains require different amounts of water to make them tender. I have found that usually 1-part cereal to 3-parts water seems to do the trick. If the cereal gets too thick then add extra water to thin it. If the cereal seems too thin, then turn up the heat and let some of the moisture evaporate. Watch the cereal so it doesn’t burn. Stir frequently while cooking.

In a saucepan combine the required amount of cereal, salt and water. If desired add a small pat of butter or margarine. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer the cereal for about 10 minutes or until it’s thick and the grains are all tender. Serve hot with vegan margarine, soymilk, rice milk, almond milk or whatever milk you choose.

If you like you may add cinnamon or nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice while the cereal cooks. 1/2-teaspoon cinnamon is enough for 4 servings. A hearty dash of cinnamon will do for 1-serving.

Fruit can be added while the cereal cooks. Dry fruits like raisins, chopped prunes or apricots, cranberries and dates are all delicious. You may need to add a little more water since dry fruit will soak some up as it cooks. Apples and bananas are our favorite fresh fruits to add to hot cereal. Peel the bananas, but leave the peel on the apples. Cut either into small pieces and add to the cereal while it cooks. Canned fruits such as applesauce, chopped peaches or crushed pineapple can also be added. Since canned fruit is already cooked some people spoon it over their cereal right before eating, others cook their fruit in with the cereal. Both methods work fine.

If you like your cereal sweet then try topping it with sucanat, brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, jam or jelly. Peanut butter or tofu cream cheese can be stirred into the cereal at the table. Both are good with molasses or jelly.

This cereal is marvelously versatile and sturdy enough for even beginner cooks. It’s one of the best ways I know to use of odds and ends of grains that are aren’t earning their shelf space.

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