Grain-Free Granola

This crunchy, sweet, salty granola is highly addictive. Beware.

This recipe was inspired by and adapted from www.paleocupboard.com.

I love granola. Problem is, the store-bought variety can be laden with tons of icky additives and extra sugar. So why settle when making your own is so easy? You can add rolled oats to this recipe if you like grains. Otherwise this grain-free recipe is just as crunchy and versatile as it is delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds or marcona almonds 1 cup raw cashews 1/4 cup raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (no shell) 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 3 tbs. melted coconut oil 3 tbs.-1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 tsp. sea salt * pinch cinnamon and nutmeg (optional) *1/2 cup raisins or your favorite dried fruit such as blueberries, craisins, currants, golden raisins, goji berries, chopped apricots or figs...(optional) *NOTE: Get creative here. Just about any nut or seed would be suitable to use. Just listen to your taste buds!

Method:

Preheat oven to 275 F.

Place the almonds, cashews and coconut flakes in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times to break into smaller chunks.

Combine the coconut oil, raw honey/maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Add the seeds, nuts and coconut flakes and stir to coat.

Spread the granola mixture evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once about half way through the cook time.

Remove from heat and add the dried fruit of your choice (if desired) and sprinkle with sea salt.

Spread the mixture evenly on the cookie sheet and allow to cool for about 20 minutes or until hardened, and then break into chunks and enjoy.

Granola on a cookie sheet

Benefits:

Almonds: Almonds are a Supernut. High in monounsaturated fats (associated with reduced risk of heart disease), almonds contain high amounts of vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium. They are also high in protein, which makes them an ideal snack. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Cashews: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids. What's more is that about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same monounsaturated or "good fat" found in olive oil. This super nut is also packed with copper, manganese, magnesium, and tryptophan (the "feel good" amino acid"). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is excellent source of manganese and a good source of zinc, both of which are important to promote a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that maple syrup can also be useful for muscle recovery and immune system support. See here for more health benefits and nutritional info.

Pepitas (Hulled Pumpkin Seeds): These babies are packed with zinc and vitamin E, but are also excellent sources of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. They are also very high in protein. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.

Raisin: Raisins are high in fiber witch can aid in relief of constipation. They a good source of iron (thus helping with anemia), arganine (which can enhance libido and aid with sexual weakness). They also contain calcium and boron, both of which are crucial for proper bone health. See here for more health benefits and nutritional information.

Sunflower Seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds will supply significant amounts of vitamin E (the body's primary fat-soluble antioxidant, which is also an anti-inflamatory and cardiovascular health superstar), magnesium (which has been said to help reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke), and selenium (helpful for DNA and cellular repair). See here for more health benefits and nutritional information. Many suggest that soaking nuts (and grains, legumes, and seeds) before consuming them enhances their nutritional quality.