Ever since I discovered My New Roots, I’ve been experimenting with whole grains and other whole foods. (Incidentally, I discovered My New Roots via Suits star Patrick J Adams’ Instagram feed. So now we know Mike Ross likes his whole grains!)
What I love about the site is that Sarah breaks things down and explains why something is good for you- she doesn’t just preach about what to stay away from. She tells you why goat’s milk digests quicker than cow’s milk. Sweet potatoes aren’t just loaded with beta-carotene, they help digestion. Buckwheat is not a grain, but a seed!
I read about the benefits of buckwheat on Sarah’s blog, and began using buckwheat flour for muffins and pancakes. She posted a granola recipe earlier this year using buckwheat groats, and I was toying with the idea of making my own. I’d actually been toying with the idea of making my own granola for a good year now, but I’d still end up buying those Nature Valley or chocolate chip Quaker Chewy Granola Bars at the store. (Which are probably as healthy as a Pop Tart.)
This obsessive idea that I would “one day” make my own granola led me to bookmark no fewer than 13 articles and recipes related to the art and craft of granola-making in my Evernote. Each time I’d come across a granola recipe or tutorial, I’d feverishly read it and clip it, like it would disappear if I didn’t lock it away in my digital safe. But I finally got my granola on today.
This week, when I went grocery shopping, I picked up a large jar of granola, examined it and put it back. I had just crossed a shelf with packets of buckwheat groats and rolled oats. My laziness took a backseat and I figured I might as well just take an hour out of my morning and bake my own granola already, especially since everything I needed was right under my nose.
Now the inspiration for this post comes from Sarah B, but the recipe is from Food52, one of my favourite cooking resources on the web. It’s quick, uncomplicated, and the Food52 version is vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free. I adapted it to suit what I had in the kitchen- so this one is sugar-free, but not vegan or gluten-free. (I’ve used honey in this recipe, which is considered an animal product by many.) The banana is a wonderful addition- it binds the granola together and keeps it pleasantly moist, without getting sticky. Plus, the combination of banana, cinnamon, ginger and walnuts makes this taste like banana-bread flavoured granola…and that can’t be a bad thing, right?
It may seem like a lot of trouble- you know, compared to just hopping down to the store and buying granola off the shelf- but I think it’s worth it. The most time-consuming task for me was chopping the almonds, but if you have a nut-grinder than you can create some nut rubble in a few strokes. The dates needed pitting and chopping, but nothing monumental. And the good thing about doing it yourself is that you get to decide how fine or chunky you want the pieces. So no more cursing boxed granola that has specks of dried fruit that can literally slip between your teeth.
SUGAR-FREE BUCKWHEAT GRANOLA (Adapted from Food52.)
- 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2cup mixed seeds and nuts (I used watermelon seeds, walnuts and almonds)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 ripe banana, mashed well
- 2 tablespoons oil (I used canola, but Food52 suggests olive oil/coconut oil/almond butter)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 cup chopped dates, raisins and dried fruit
- Preheat oven to 170° C
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat, rolled oats, seeds + nuts, and spices.
- Add the mashed banana, oil, and honey/maple syrup to the dry ingredients and mix well so that everything is coated.
- Spread the mixture evenly across a baking sheet lined with Silpat and bake at 170° C for 20-30 minutes, until fragrant and golden. (You should gently stir the mixture at the halfway mark.)
- Transfer to a bowl and fold in the dates, raisins and dry fruit.
- Cool before transferring to a container.