Eat homemade granola paired with nut milk and fresh fruit, and you have the perfect Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle breakfast. Filled with nuts, fruit, gently spiced, and lightly sweetened with an apple and date puree, it is my favourite breakfast. I aim to make this granola every time I travel to ensure that I have a nutritious start to the day, plus it makes a fabulous, easily transportable snack.
I put all the nuts and seeds in one bowl and soak them for a minimum of 4 hours. As they are fairly soggy when they have been soaked, I allow them to dry out for a while. I have a dehydrator, so I pop them on the mesh trays and dry them for about an hour. That’s all it takes. The nuts and seeds can also be dried in a very low oven for 15 minutes or so. This just takes away some of the excess moisture before making the granola. I will say that it is not completely necessary, but if you don’t dry out the nuts and seeds a little, it will take longer to get the granola crispy.
After all the nut and seed soaking and drying activities, the raw granola comes together quickly. When the ingredients for the granola are combined, all that is needed is to pop it in the oven and set the timer for every 20 minutes, so that it is not forgotten. I’ll say again, “Set the timer.” I have been distracted from the kitchen and the contents of the oven more than a couple of times and have burnt the granola. Yuck. By the way, it is not a good idea to eat burnt granola as the blackened nuts, seeds and oats now contain acrylamide which is carcinogenic.
This granola can also be created as a raw granola if you own a dehydrator. I have included directions for dehydrating the granola below.
1⅓ cups, 170 grams dates with pitted dates
1 large apple, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons orange zest (from one large orange)
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ heaped teaspoon ground ginger
½ heaped teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup,120grams pumpkin seeds, soaked 4 hours, drained & rinsed
¾ cup,100grams sunflower seeds, soaked 4 hours, drained & rinsed
1¼ cups, 130grams almonds, soaked 4 hours, drained & rinsed
1¼ cups, 100grams walnuts, soaked 4 hours, drained & rinsed
1 cup, 120 grams mixed raisins, goji berries & cranberries
2 cups, 200 grams thick rolled oats
Optional: ½ cup raw cacao nibs
What to do
Set the oven to 210ºF, 98ºC
1. Place the almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, oats, and the dried fruits into a food processor and pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
2. Combine the dates, chopped apple, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract, salt, and spices into the food processor. Blend until well chopped but not completely smooth. The mixture will be quite wet.
3. Add the fruit mix to the bowl of dry ingredients. If you choose to add cacao nibs they are added at this time.
4. Combine all the ingredients very well. The mixture will be slightly wet.
5. Divide the granola on two baking trays and place in the oven. Every 20 minutes, rotate the trays and stir the granola.
6. It may take 2 or more hours until the granola is crisp. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. The granola will keep well for up to two weeks (if it lasts that long!).
The photograph above is a batch of the granola which was dehydrated. I allowed it to stay in clumps which made it perfect for snacks.
Spread the mixture on two teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Set the dehydrator to 105ºF, 40ºC and dry for several hours. Check the granola after about 4 hours and if it is dry enough turn the granola onto the screens and continue to dry until crunchy.
Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle Tip: Add 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds to your breakfast portion of granola, and you will be ensuring that you are getting the Omega 3 essential fatty acids necessary for your health.