When we were holidaying in the States a few years back I discovered American granola that tastes un-fucking-real. And granola, it’s muesli, so it’s a health food right? Sadly, wrong. Most commercial granola or toasted muesli is a wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to nutritional value (or lack thereof) and is often loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats. But despite all that I still love that shit so I’ve come up with this cleaned up, gluten free superfood loaded version that’s full of flavour and crunch without all the crap.
My husband snorts with derision at the word ‘superfoods’, and I have to admit that although the term itself does sound like a bit of over-effusive wank, what it’s really referring to is nutritional density and that is something I agree with. It’s the basis that I build my meals on; selecting ingredients that are going to give me the biggest bang for my dietary buck in terms of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. And whether you want to call them superfoods or not, when you look at the health benefits and nutritional punch that many of the foods in the category pack, it starts to look like a pretty convincing argument for including some of these guys in your diet.
The key superfood ingredients in this recipe are Quinoa, Buckwheat and Amaranth, which are all often mistakenly lumped into the grain category but are in fact seeds or pseudo-grains. All three are gluten free and high in dietary fibre to keep you feeling full and aid digestion and, as low GI carbohydrates they deliver a great sustained energy boost without sending your blood sugar up the shit. But wait, there’s more, at around 13-15% protein these clever little not-grains just keep getting better. Quinoa and amaranth also boast a complete amino acid profile to supply your busy little body with all the essential building blocks it needs to make protein. Toss in anti-aging antioxidant powers of manganese, high levels of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and cholesterol lowering properties and it’s all starting to look pretty damn impressive right? Correct, because it is.
Lucuma and Maca are two other interesting characters in this line up and although I’ve listed them as optional I’d seriously encourage you to give them a nudge.
Lucuma is actually a Peruvian fruit that looks a bit like the love child of a nashi pear and a mango. In its dehydrated powder it’s a great way to get all the health benefits in a concentrated and versatile form. The sweet flavour makes it a great low GI sweetener, it’s a fantastic source of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals, packed with beta-carotene, niacin (B3), vitamin C, iron and provides a calcium level similar to milk. With all of that going on you can see how a little goes a long way.
Maca is a root from the radish family again most commonly available in powder form. This clever guy is what’s known as an adaptogen which means it adapts to your bodies metabolism and individual needs particularly to boost energy, create a balanced hormonal system and enhance libido – there’s a bow-chicka-bow-wow bonus for you! It has a delicious toasted caramel flavour that works well to add depth to sweet dishes.
And when you bring all of those power packed ingredients together and toss in a few more for good measure you get this gorgeously toasty, roasty, crunchy Pseudo-Grain Superfood Granola. Sounds like something a comic book superhero would eat for breakfast right? A bowl of pseudo-grain superfood granola to transform into an arse-kicking defeater of villains and defender of good against evil and stuff. I always thought I’d make a pretty awesome superhero, I’m sold.
Get this stuff
1 C puffed quinoa
1 C puffed amaranth
1 C puffed buckwheat
½ C goji berries
½ C raw almonds
½ C shredded coconut
2 T lucuma powder – optional
2 T maca powder – optional
½-1 t cinnamon or more according to taste
2 T coconut oil
1 T rice malt syrup
Do this with it
Combine the quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat in a large bowl. Toss the goji berries, almonds and coconut flakes into the blender and give it a few short blasts so you have a coarsely chopped mixture, you still want some decent chunky texture so don’t get carried away and turn it into a powder. Add it to the grains that aren’t grains along with the lucuma, maca and cinnamon and toss it all around.
Now for the bit that’s going to make it turn into a glorious golden toasty roasty granola. Melt the coconut oil and rice malt syrup together then pour over the granola mixture and give it all a really good mix to get all the dry ingredients coated.
Pour it all onto an oven tray and bake at 120 degrees fanbake for 15 minutes stopping to give it a shuffle around every 5 minutes to stop it burning. For the love of good granola keep a close eye on it and set a timer, this is temperamental stuff and it’s a fine line between perfectly toasted and ‘ah motherfucker it’s fucking fucked’ burnt.
Store in an airtight container and use it as a cereal with fruit, yoghurt, milk or chia pudding, as a smoothie topper or just as a cheeky crunchy snack by the handful.
And is you want to know how good it really is here’s the proof. It’s too good to wait to photograph, empty bowl and looking for seconds good. That’s damn good.