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A Healthier Granola Recipe

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There are few grocery store granolas to write home about. None of them have enough satisfying chunks, too many have unchewable dried fruit and nearly all have too much sugar and fat, too little protein and not enough flavor. Even though the ingredient list would have you believe the contents are cookies masquerading as granola, these aren’t even delicious cookies worth eating.

The good news: Making your own granola is easy, satisfying, fills your house with amazing baking smells and — with this healthy, protein-rich, naturally sweetened recipe — guarantees an inspired, delicious breakfast (or snack).

The recipe below leaves room for custom adjustments so you can make your own great, everyday, healthy granola. Here are a few things to note about how this crunchy, chunky, granola stands out from the rest:

NATURAL SWEETENERS

The recipe below calls for runny honey, but you could also use maple syrup, coconut syrup, date syrup or make your own date syrup.

  • Date Syrup: Combine 1 cup maple syrup + 6 dates. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat then transfer the mixture to a blender, food processor or use an immersion blender and puree until smooth. Add necessary quantity to the recipe and save the remainder for your next batch of granola.

SUPERFOODS

In addition to oats, this recipe calls for cacao or maca powder.

  • Maca is a root found in Peru that, when ground, delivers minerals and a hit of protein. Adding maca imparts a nutty flavor.
  • Cacao is derived from cocoa beans (the same beans you’d use to make chocolate,) and adds antioxidants, minerals and healthy fats. The cacao tastes more like bittersweet chocolate. (Be sure to use cacao powder not cocoa powder in your recipe. Cocoa powder has added sugars; cacao powder does not.)

HEALTHY FATS

Adding a small amount of flaxseed oil to your granola helps boost flavor, digestibility and adds valuable omega-3 fats your body requires to be at its best. If you don’t have or can’t find flaxseed oil, you could use olive oil or liquified coconut oil.

A SUPER-POWERED SECRET INGREDIENT

You know that cloudy liquid that comes out of a can of garbanzo beans when you strain them? That’s aquafaba and it’s pretty weird looking and pretty awesome. High in protein, aquafaba can be whipped into a meringue-like texture that helps to bind together this granola without using extra oils or sweeteners (and without leaving any weird aftertaste behind).

Super-Powered Everyday Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (180g) rolled oats, not quick cooking
  • 5 tablespoons cacao or maca powder
  • 1/4 cup (35g) sunflower seeds (or cashews, pepitas or almonds)
  • 1/4 cup (35g) white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup (5g) puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup (44g) cacao nibs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) aquafaba (from a can of garbanzo beans)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) runny honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar or date syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (35g) unsweetened toasted coconut flakes

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325°F (163ºC) and place a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, cacao or maca, seeds, puffed cereal, cacao nibs and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using an electric mixer), whip the aquafaba on high speed into floppy peaks. (This can take 5 minutes or so!) Use a spatula to gently fold in the flaxseed oil, honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients, and mix until uniform.

Transfer the granola onto your baking sheet. With a spatula or oil-rubbed hands, pat the mixture into a thin, solid, single layer. Try to get it as thin as possible, this results in the best crunchy texture after baking.

Bake for 15 minutes, then stir, pat down again, and bake for another 15 minutes. Be aware of the smell of your granola baking — when it starts to become fragrant and toasty smelling, you’re almost there. Stir one more time, assess and (possibly) bake for another 5–10 minutes. Keep a close eye on the whole baking process, the granola can burn in a flash, (and it’s hard to see it toasting if you’ve chosen to use cacao!) The key is knowing when to pull the granola from the oven. You need to go long enough to get crunchy granola; pull it too soon, and your granola will still be tasty, but will lack crunch.

Remove from the oven and stir in the coconut flakes. Allow to cool completely before serving or storing; this can take an hour or two. Store in an airtight glass jar to keep the granola crunchy.

Serves: 8 | Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 234; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 151mg; Carbohydrate: 31g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 12g; Protein: 6g

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