I get ridiculously excited about new food discoveries, Amaranth is my latest! In this granola, I have ‘popped’ Amaranth grain first, which is very quick and fun to do. You just pop a small amount at a time, takes 10 seconds or so to do and you have a very tasty and interesting addition to your granola. I used Suma’s Amaranth, one of the many ingredients in my box of goodies they recently sent me as part of the Suma Blogger’s Network. I’ve also used their macadamia nuts in this recipe.
Something I noticed about granola recipes and store-bought granola, they almost always use oil and either add syrup or actual sugar. Granola needs neither, it already has enough fats from the nuts and seeds, and the dried fruit and grains give it more than enough ‘sugar’. To add refined version of fats and sugar makes your otherwise healthy breakfast just another junk food. The oil is obviously used more as a binding agent, something to get the granola to hold together a little bit, to create the much-loved clusters. So how do we get that result, without the unwanted oil? Will omitting any maple syrup or other sweetener result in a tasteless bunch of grains and nuts?
Happily, you can definitely get clusters and flavour without the oil and added sweetness. I used soaked and blended dates to create my own date ‘syrup’, a very thin one, which helped bind the ingredients, and give just enough extra sweetness without any refined syrups or sugars. I pressed the granola into my pan, quite firmly. Then halfway through cooking I broke it up and turned it a bit to get even cooking and to create clusters. It worked wonderfully well and this way you can have the nutty sweet breakfast cereal without the sugar crash afterwards.
Note that I add the dried fruits after baking the rest of the granola mix. If you add the chopped dried fruits and bake them, they burn and this spoils it a bit. Just add as soon as it comes out of the oven.
The great thing about a recipe like this is, if you don’t have one of the ingredients, it is really easy to substitute, you’ll get a slightly different flavour but the ratios of nuts, cereal and dried fruit will still be the same. You do need oats, and for this particular recipe the amaranth is a great addition too. But if you’ve got different nuts to what I have used, don’t worry too much. Ditto with the dried fruit, although I think the cranberries give a nice tartness to it.
The nuts I like to chop half quite chunky but then half very finely, so I get nuts in every mouthful. I also chop the dried fruit, rather than leave whole, for the same reason.
Feel free to switch the chia seeds for your own favourite too. I eat a tablespoon of ground flax seeds every day, so I didn’t want to add any of those particular seeds here, see Dr Greger’s Nutrition Facts website for why I like to eat flaxseeds everyday.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Makes around 5 cups
Keeping Time: up to 1 week.
- 1 cup popped Amaranth, about 1/4 cup uncooked grain
- 3 cups Gluten-free Oats
- 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup chopped raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped cranberries
- 4 medjool dates
- 1 cup water
- Soak the medjool dates in the water for 20 minutes.
- Heat oven to 180C, line a baking tin with baking parchment, I use a sponge roll tin.
- Heat a frying pan for a couple of minutes until nice and hot, get a bowl ready for the popped amaranth.
- Then pop the 1/4 cup amaranth grains, a few tablespoons at a time. It takes about 10 seconds to pop, careful not to burn it.
- Add popped Amaranth to a mixing bowl with the all other ingredients except dried cranberries and raisins- they tend to burn if cooked- and the soaking dates.
- Take the soaking dates and water, and blend until it is a thin date syrup.
- Add the date syrup to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Press the granola firmly into the prepared baking tin. Place in the oven.
- After about 5-7 minutes, as the granola is just starting to brown, remove from oven and break up a bit, roughly turning over and creating clusters of mix.
- Bake for a further 5-7 minutes or until golden- don't overdo this.
- Remove from oven and add the raisins and cranberries. Mix well.
- Once cool, place in an airtight container.