After being dumped on with snow, I have this craving to turn on the oven. One of our favorite snacks or breakfast food is grain-free granola. The smell is homey as it crisps up in the oven. This does take some forethought, and requires planning ahead. Here are the steps to making this delicious treat.
Step One: Soak your nuts! The outside of a nut is coated in anti-nutrients. In nature, this outer layer of toxic substance keeps the nuts (and legumes and seeds) from pesky critters, bacteria, fungi, and the like from killing the plant. Once harvested, this coating allows the nuts to be stored for a very long time without turning rancid or moldy. The most known anti-nutrient found in grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes is phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. So when you eat something which has not been properly soaked to remove this toxin, these minerals get flushed right out of your body without being absorbed in your gut, which in turn leads to mineral deficiencies. By soaking, you break down the phytic acid which leads to better absorption and digestion. Nuts also have enzyme inhibitors. These are handy in keeping the nuts from sprouting prematurely. However, they also inhibit our bodies from properly digesting nuts (and seeds and legumes, by the way.) When you soak nuts, these inhibitors are neutralized and unlock all of the fantastic enzymes to do their job and help our gut by aiding in the digestion process. I read this excellent article which goes into more detail about the why behind soaking. Bottom line: don’t skip it!
Step Two: Dehydrate the nuts. This is best done in a dehydrator for about 8-20 hrs, until nice and crunchy and no longer chewy. I’ve done this in the oven at the lowest temperature, which is not ideal, as the temperature really shouldn’t go above 150 degrees. Plus, I rarely don’t need my oven for 24 hours.
Step Three: Make the granola. Pulse the nuts in a food processor or Vitamix, then toss with ingredients.
Step Four: Bake. Line mixture on parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, stir, and bake for another 10 minutes.
Step Five: Store and enjoy!
Grain-Free Vanilla Maple Granola
4 cups of pre-soaked and dehydrated nuts
3 T melted coconut oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1 t sea salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sunflower/sesame seeds
Get creative with your ingredients! I’m not exact with anything when it comes to most things culinary, so this recipe is approximate and can be tweaked to your liking. More/less sweet, more/less nutty, etc.