I’ve lived in the UK for 4 months now. In that four months I’ve realized how it sometimes takes getting out of your own culture to learn more about it. Seeing the States from the view across the pond has been…a mix – sometimes humorous (our portions), sometimes embarrassing (our politics), sometimes affirming (our optimism). One small thing I recently ran across that made me chuckle was in Joanna Blythman’s What to Eat. In it she calls granola “European museli’s sweet and oily US cousin”. Sweet and oily. Ugh. It’s so true! It’s almost like the bran muffin- because it has bran and no icing we trick ourselves into thinking it is okay to eat a cupcake for breakfast. Be that as it may, I will stand by granola having it’s place in the “health food” category. This is why…
- Granola is great to add to otherwise less palatable food…plain yogurt anyone? I know some people that love yogurt as is, but I need to help it a bit for my tastebuds to consent.
- It’s about the add-ins. They can make or break your granola’s “health factor”. I have seen granolas replete with sweetened coconut flakes and milk chocolate. C’mon. If you’re going to do that, just eat an Almond Joy.
- Granola is meant to sprinkle, not to bowl in contrast to Europes museli which is meant to bowl. Now, I have been known to opt for a tiny bowl of granola when my friends are having their dairy-ful desserts I’m woefully banned from. But again- I consider it a dessert in that portion! A sprinkle of granola on a baked apple? Yes, PLEASE!
- There are a ton of nutritional pros. At least you are getting in protein, fiber, calcium (especially with this recipe), vitamin E, and other great nutrients that chocolate cake would not provide despite having the same amount of fat and a bit more sugar.
That being said, the base of granola- oats – can be problematic for some people. I have had some clients with celiac that react even to the oats that claim to be gluten-free. Sadly, for them porridge and granola are out. The porridge replacement is taken care of in this post, and this oat free granola offers an absolutely gluten-free alternative to regular granola. I dedicate it to those clients of mine who had the most sensitive of tummies.
And, flip- I’m not going to lie, it took a while for me to get this right. The key to an oat-free granola, I found, is to reduce the amount of liquid you use. My theory is the oat-containing version takes more liquid because the oats absorb a bit of the liquid, whereas the flaked almonds that I use to sub for the oats are dense in oils and therefore repel the liquid as well as the fact as they have less surface area? ?? ??? I actually haven’t a clue, but I do know once I increased the ratio of dry to wet ingredients, I got a much better result.
Without further ado…
OAT-FREE CARDAMOM SPICED GRANOLA
2 c flaked almonds
3/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c buckwheat
1/2 c cashews
1/2 c walnuts
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
3/4 t salt
1/2 c dried apricots, chopped
1/4 c dried cherries, chopped
3 T cocoa nibs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all nuts and seeds together in a bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup, oil, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt- or better yet, whisk it all together right in a glass measuring cup- why dirty another dish? Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix throughly ensuring everything is well coated. Roast granola for 35-40 min until it is a lovely toasty brown color. Sneak a few bits. Mix in the chopped dried fruit and cocoa nibs.