As a fierce lover of muesli, granola was not high on my list of recipes to create. I first heard the word granola when visiting the US as a young teenager. Enjoying breakfast in a Californian hotel with my Dad, I remember hearing someone say they wanted to order granola for breakfast and I was intrigued! When their breakfast arrived however I was not impressed - a mushy and unappealing bowl.
So perhaps this image stuck and it wasn't until looking to expand my breakfast options that I considered trying my hand at granola. After trialling a few well respected foodie's granola recipes I have created my own combo; balancing the carbohydrates, proteins and fats, sweet vs savoury elements, the texture and the all-important yum-factor!
As well as a traditional breakfast option, this granola works fabulously in smoothies to bulk them up and provide you with extra energy, atop yoghurt and fresh fruit as dessert or alone and out of the jar as I have been caught doing more than a few times now.... Take a container and leave it at work for early morning starts when you don't get time for breakfast or when you are starving and need food immediately.
Although containing carbohydrates (oooohh yes that dirty word!!) this recipe is gluten-free instead electing to include brown rice puffs and quinoa flakes which are both awesome and unique in their own right. I find this a satisfying and easy granola option which is light on the sugar and high on the flavour scale. When trying other granola recipes, the size of the nuts bothered me and so this recipe calls for them to be whizzed or chopped roughly. That way each mouthful is more even and not so dominated by one flavour or texture.
If you have an intolerance of dislike for a particular ingredient swap it out for something else and should the inclusion of grains bother you, omit them. The recipe is packed full of flavour so although it will be different, you would not be ruining the recipe so do your own thing however... I urge that unless you are allergic, to leave the pecans as they offer this incredibly rich, caramel flavour to the granola - heavenly! This granola works well with fruit and yoghurt as well as in or on smoothies, sprinkled over yoghurt and served with my stewed rhubarb or alone. If maple syrup is not your thing, raw honey (unprocessed straight from the hive) works beautifully and if you're looking for a non-sugar granola then exclude this ingredient all together. The recipe will still be delicious.
On the topic of ingredients, like any cooking endeavour, the beginning is always an outlay. If you don't usually use ingredients like those included in this granola recipe then buying them at once will be an expense however if you have the good fortune of living near a bulk whole foods store, this will make it cheaper for you. Allowing you to buy only what you need and not pay for brands or packaging, most even let you take your own containers to fill! The other important point is that once you enjoy these ingredients you will find yourself reaching for them in the weekly shop as opposed to something in a packet and in that way each batch that you make may only require the addition of one ingredient as the rest are already in your pantry.
Many say that eating well costs money though so does the consequence of eating poorly and besides, how much value do you place on the vessel that carries you around each day?
I think that body of yours is fairly priceless, don't you...??
- ½ cup raw almonds / 89g
- 1 cup pecans / 120g
- ½ cup walnuts / 82g
- ¼ cup quinoa flakes / 20g
- 1 cup brown rice puffs / 20g
- ¼ cup pepitas / 32g
- ¼ cup dried mulberries / 29g
- ¼ cup Goji berries / 20g
- ¾ cup coconut flakes / 65g
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds / 33g
- 2.5 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- ½ cup buckinis (activated buckwheat groats and optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees (electric)
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper
- Whizz all nuts in a processor OR chop roughly
- Combine all dry ingredients in the baking tray
- Use two baking trays if necessary to ensure granola is well spread out in the oven
- Pour the maple syrup evenly over the mixture
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden and crunchy
- Allow to cool before serving with homemade almond milk (or your milk preference) and fresh fruit
Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 10 days (if it lasts that long!)
FYI - eating the cluster chunks of granola coated in maple syrup is insanely addictive and delicious... you have been warned.
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