Nick off tooth challenging granola. If you're tired of grinding your teeth on over-baked, processed, ready-made granola then you'll welcome this recipe from my forthcoming book Supercharged Food; Eat, Yourself Beautiful, because it not only tastes amazing, but will save you on dentist and doctor's bills too.
It strikes me as odd that many packaged granolas have received health-food cult status considering the ingredients they contain. Store-bought varieties are often laced with sugar and brimming with bad fats which you might like to give a wide birth to next time you're browsing the supermarket aisle.
Not only that, it's the front of the packets covered in bad marketing jargon that are teeth clenchingly horrifying. Note to corporate advertising executives next time you say "Let's have a little pow wow before everyone heads out tonight" about your latest mumfluencial peace, love and granola campaign, please remove the following words from your vocabulary: Low fat, light and tasty, slow release, natural flavours, wholesome and naturally indulgent.
Imagine if we actually spoke to people the way advertisements spoke to the general public?
Special note to Sanitarium, your new byline "It's what's inside that counts" couldn't be more true. Well done on that one. But, let's have a look at what is inside your Light ‘n’ Tasty Berry Granola which "provides a delicious combination of succulent sweetened cranberries, mixed berry fruity pieces and wholesome grains".
Cereals (70%) [Wholegrain cereals (54%) (oats (31%), wheat), corn, rice], sugar, sunflower oil, almonds (3.5%), dried apple (2.5%) [contains preservative (221)], corn maltodextrin, salt, wheat gluten, barley malt extract, flavours, minerals (calcium, iron), vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate).
Well, those sweetened cranberries have kind of left a sour taste in my mouth now that I have read the ingredients panel and find that it's full of sugar, sulphites, additives, preservatives, inflammatory fats and maltodextrin. Sulphites such as 221, can cause allergy and hay fever like reactions, wheezing in asthmatics, hives and in severe cases anaphylactic reactions. Additives such as maltodextrin which comes from treated grain starch, is hydrolyzed by adding enzymes and acids, filtered and purified. It is cheap to make and gives fat-like body to food products and replaces good fats, increases their shelf life, and mixes well with other ingredients.
Although it's not a technically a sugar, maltodextrin has a glycemic index of 130 which is almost double the amount of table sugar at 65 and it's perfect for cereal companies to use as they can promote and label the product as containing no sugar. High levels of maltodextrin intake have been associated with an increased risk for developing hypoglycemia and some people can have an allergic reaction to it because of the base starch, glucose that maltodextrin is derived from. Reactions can include swelling of the throat and neck, hives, skin rashes, heavy sweating, and difficulty breathing. Yikes!
Whipping up a batch of this wholesome granola will bring out your real inner earth mother (or father!), plus it moonlights as a cheeky nibble during the day.
It's beautifying too, a quarter of a cup of walnuts can give you nearly 95% of your daily omega-3 requirements, and the huge amount of B vitamins they contain can not only help reduce stress, but keep your skin looking young, delaying the occurrence of fine lines and wrinkles.
It's so easy to make your own and swap out ingredients – as long as you stick to the basic mix you can make this granola an amalgam of whatever toasted level of crunchiness you like. If you like a lighter granola, add puffed buckwheat or brown rice puffs and top with chia or flax. Store in a sealed glass jar in a cool dry place. Enjoy.
300 g (101/2 oz/11/2 cups) quinoa or brown rice flakes
90 g (31/4 oz/3/4 cup) chopped walnuts
75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) dried cranberries
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons almond flakes
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) coconut oil
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) rice malt syrup, or sweetener of your choice
1/2 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
15 g (1/2 oz/1/4 cup) coconut flakes
almond milk, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Combine the quinoa, walnuts, cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas, almond flakes, flaxseeds, cinnamon and
nutmeg in a bowl and mix well to combine.
Place the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until it has melted. Add the rice malt syrup and vanilla and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well, ensuring the dry ingredients are coated thoroughly.
Transfer the granola to the baking tray in a single layer, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps that form. Remove from the oven, add the coconut flakes, and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool.
To serve, place in a bowl and top with almond milk. It also tastes great on its own.
This granola keeps for 4 weeks in an airtight container in a cool dry place.
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