Who doesn’t love a good granola?
Granola is one of those foods that is hard not to love. There are so many varieties and you can eat straight or stick it on almost anything for a bit of extra yummy crunch, yoghurt, ice cream, banana slices, the list goes on. However, most granolas you get in the market these days are loaded with extra icky stuff like glucose syrup and bulking agents and preservatives. It makes you wonder if granola is so easy to make, why do they need all that other stuff? Increased shelf life and cheaper prices. Yea, no. I’ll just make my own thank you, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
I have recently started a new routine where I’m trying to make sure I eat regularly, starting with breakfast, (side note, check out my article on the Benefits of Routines for Chronic Illness) so I’ve gotten into the habit of mixing a large bowl of coconut flakes with a bit of peanut butter and other goodies like chia seeds and one day it dawned on me that the combo would make a super tasty granola, so I decided to give it a go. After a couple tries, I hit onto a combination that is gluten-free, refined sugar-free and full of nutrition. This superfoods peanut butter seedy granola is creamy AND crunchy with the perfect amount of peanut butter flavour and sweetness and it goes fabulously with ice cold coconut milk poured over the top. Yummm 😍
I think what makes this granola even more special is all the nutrition packed into it. Here’s a little peek at the goodness you’ll find in your bowl.
Oats are naturally gluten free (but make sure you get certified gluten free for your recipe since most are processed in factories that handle other grains containing gluten and so cross contamination can occur) and packed pull of nutrition. They are super high in soluble fibre which helps to lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol, keep you full longer and paired with the magnesium it contains, oats help to keep insulin levels stable. Also, did you know that oat milk actually provides more calcium than cows milk? Extra added tip right there.
Seeing as most people think coconuts are nuts, it’s often surprising for people when they discover that they are in fact fruits and the little brown coconuts we tend to see are actually kernels or seeds. Yes, a coconut the way we typically see them is the seed needed to grow a new coconut tree, that’s why they are so full of nutrition. Coconut, in all honesty, could use an entire blog series to go through all the benefits and uses of coconut. They are truly nutritional powerhouses which is why they are often called the ‘tree of life’ in the Indo-Pacific region where hey originate. They are high in good fats that help to regulate and increase healthy cholesterol, as well as enhance your metabolism. They are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and electrolytes that keep you hydrated and maintain energy levels and can protect against viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections.
Unfortunately, peanuts have gotten a bit of a bad name recently due to more public awareness of a certain toxic mold (aflatoxin) that is known to grow on peanuts (it also affects other crops, not just peanuts) and is extremely carcinogenic. However, if you make sure you source your peanuts responsibly and know how they are stored and manufactured, then you can avoid or limit the risk of aflatoxin contamination, and peanuts are actually quite nutritious for you, including being packed with protein and healthy fats that support good heart health.
As much as I love peanuts, almonds are definitely more praised for their health benefits. They’re a fantastic source of minerals, including zinc, magnesium, and potassium all of which are important for maintains the health of your cardiovascular system. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin E, which supports brain function and healthy skin. Fun fact, eating almonds with skin on allows the flavonoids contained in the skin to work harmoniously with the Vitamin E to more than double their antioxidant power.
Chia seeds are the celebrity of seeds these days. They seem to be everywhere, in your pudding, drinks, salads and sprinkled on pretty much anything and everything. They’ve come a long way from the chia pets we grew up with (yes they are those seeds) and for good reason. Chia are very high in Omega 3 fatty acids making them a brilliant plant-based source for those non-meat eaters. They are also high in calcium and magnesium which is important for supporting good bone health. One of their more unique properties is the mucilaginous fiber (why they get slimy when wet) they contain, which is important for maintaining good gut health, as well as stabilised blood sugar levels.
If chia seeds are the celebrity of the seed world, pumpkin seeds are the quiet stars no one talks about but everyone knows and loves. When I started eating pumpkin seeds for health (not just because they came from the slimy guts of my Halloween pumpkin) I was actually surprised with how high in protein they are. I also discovered that they are an amazing source of zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, iron and essential fatty acids that help to promote healthy cholesterol levels. And to think so many of them are thrown away during the month of October 😢
What doesn’t honey do? Well, not much, it is one of the most useful things we consume as a human race. It is a true superfood and to cover all it’s benefits, again, I’d need and entire post (or two or 3. Another series?). It’s potency and all around goodness is attributed to its high levels of Vitamins C, D, E, K, and B-complex, plus the beta-carotene, minerals, enzymes, and essential oils. And, fun fact, did you know it is the only food we consume that is created solely by insects?
So now you’re excited about tucking into this fast nutritious bowl of granola, I best give you the recipe huh?
- 2 cups Gluten Free, Organic Oats
- 1 cup Medium Desiccated Coconut
- 1 cup Flaked Almonds
- 1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/4 cup Chia Seeds
- 1/4 Peanut Powder (See note below)
- 1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar or Muscavado
- 1/3 cup Peanut Butter
- 1/4 cup Coconut Oil
- 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup Honey (Agave or Maple Syup for Vegan)
- Sprinkle of Himalayan Pink Salt
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- Mix together oats, coconut, almonds, seeds, sugar and peanut powder until well dispersed.
- Melt coconut oil and mix with the 1/3 cup of honey and peanut butter. Pour over the top and mix to combine well.
- Spread granola mixture over a baking tray or two (depending on size) so that you have a layer about 1/4-1/3 inch thick. Drizzle reserved 1/4 cup of honey over the top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Stir once halfway through to keep from burning.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least a half hour before breaking up into chunks.
- Store in airtight container.
- Peanut powder is defatted peanuts crushed into powder form. It may also be called peanut flour (however this is not to be confused with peanut meal which is just crushed peanuts, a bit like almond meal) or peanut butter powder/powdered peanut butter (a lot of these contain added sugar so be aware of that). You can now find peanut powder in both the US and UK.
What are your favorite ways to eat granola? In the morning with almond milk? Sprinkled into Coconut Yoghurt in the afternoon? Straight from the jar by the handful after a workout? Come join the conversation on Twitter and let me know how you plan to enjoy this Peanut Butter Seedy Granola. @Hanker4Healthy