Miiiight have found my new favorite recipe of all time (sorry, Crispy Pesto Gnocchi Skillet.) The actual best, mind-meltingly-delicious, make-this-NOW, grain free granola. I am obsessed!!!
I pinky promise to not talk about gestational diabetes from now until the baby arrives, but with this pregnancy complication has come a whole new appreciation for nutrient dense, “power foods”. Whole foods that are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals and more importantly, serve a purpose other then tasting good, like nuts and seeds.
We all know that a handful of nuts a day is beneficial for overall heart health, but pecans and almonds especially, which are included in this grain free granola, also help reduce inflammation in the body (something a person with Celiac Disease definitely needs,) aid in weight loss (something I can attest to with experiencing slower weight gain this pregnancy,) and can help lower and/or stabilize blood sugar levels. That said, GIVE ME ALL THE NUTS.
Seriously though, lately I’ve been obsessed with researching different kinds of nuts and their health benefits – it’s mind blowing. Apparently brazil nuts are so good for you that you can pop four or five and think of them as “supplements”. I love it! Of course it doesn’t hurt that nuts are also lower in carbs and make an excellent base for this low sugar, grain free granola that I’ve been trying not to eat by the fistful over the past few of weeks. It is INSANELY yummy, and full of crispy clusters and crunch.
So what does grain free mean, exactly? It means this granola recipe doesn’t call for oats, which most classic granola recipes do. I love gluten-free oats as much as the next gal, but they’re high in carbs which I need to be smart about right now. Trust me, this granola is better without them.
Unsweetened coconut chips, raw pecans and pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, and chia seeds are tossed with a mixture of pure maple syrup, coconut oil, and lots of cinnamon and vanilla. I love sweet granola but have found that the coconut chips plus lots of cinnamon and vanilla trick your tongue into thinking it’s sweeter then it actually is. That said, the addition of mini chocolate chips and/or raisins would be divine in here.
I’ve been sprinkling grain free granola into Greek yogurt or eating a small bowl with almond milk for snacks and/or breakfast almost every single day since my GD diagnosis, and reaping the rewards. I FEEL healthier eating foods like this. Probably because I am! You in too?
This recipe couldn’t be simpler – in a large bowl stir together 1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes/chips, 3/4 cup each sliced almonds and raw pecans, 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt.
Here are the raw pumpkin seeds I use. I’ve been putting them in/on EVERYTHING lately. Super good sprinkled into salads, oatmeal, in this granola, and I’ll also grab a pinch or two anytime I need something to crunch on. The price tag makes me gag but the bag is enormous, plus these babies are truly a super food. Locals: I get them in HyVee’s Health Market.
Next microwave 4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup) plus 1 Tablespoon coconut oil in a small dish until the oil is melted, 25-30 seconds, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Pour the maple syrup mixture over the nut mixture then stir to evenly coat and spread onto a silpat covered half sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees or until the almonds and coconut are light golden brown (any darker and the granola could taste burnt) stirring a couple times.
Let the granola cool completely then store in a Ziplock bag or airtight container for 3-4 days. Like I said, this granola is perfect to enjoy with milk or sprinkled into yogurt – so, SO good!! I hope you love it – enjoy!
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The Best Grain Free Granola
The Best Grain Free Granola is sweetened with pure maple syrup and is full of crisp, crunch, healthy fats, and nutrition. Enjoy with milk, sprinkled over yogurt, or by the healthy handful!
- 1-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut chips/flakes
- 3/4 cups sliced almonds
- 3/4 cups whole raw pecans
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- big pinch salt
- 4 Tablespoons real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees then line a half sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine first 7 ingredients (coconut chips through salt) in a large bowl then stir to combine. Add maple syrup and coconut oil to a small bowl then microwave for 25-30 seconds to melt the coconut oil. Stir in vanilla.
- Pour the maple syrup mixture over the granola mixture then mix well to coat. Spread onto prepared sheet pan then bake for 15-20 minutes or until almond slices and coconut chips are golden brown (don't let them get too dark) stirring twice. Granola will crisp as it cools.
- Cool completely on sheet pan before transferring to a Ziplock bag or airtight container. Will stay fresh for four days or so on the counter.
Adapted from Epicurious.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.