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Grain and Gluten Free Granola

Perhaps the title doesn't inspire rapturous visions of breakfast for you. Grain-free, you're thinking. Hmmm...

Perhaps the open-minded among you will say, "Well, it's healthy, so you have to give it a pass." And I know some of you, those a bit more protective of your mealtimes, will shrug it off as yet another blogging phenomenon destined to be lost to the annals of internet flotsam.

But here at the Joy Kitchen, we do not tolerate bad food whether it's healthy or not so much. Healthiness is no excuse for bland or unappetizing food, and we stand by that here. This granola recipe is no different.

The Joy of Cooking has been at the forefront of home cooking for years. Don't laugh, it's true. Back in the '70s, Marion not only included recipes for how to use tofu, but she even included a recipe for making tofu from scratch. We have sections on how to cook on the hearth, preserve, pickle, and ferment, and grow your own herb garden.

We don't include these things as an aspirational model for how you should conduct your kitchen; Some impossibly bucolic scenario involving a chicken coop that is actually a scale model of your gorgeous farmhouse. We include these things because we know for a fact that many of our devoted readers actually need this information and appreciate having it at their fingertips.

All of which is why we're trying to branch out into new areas of cooking--because we know you're trying to do the same thing. Many of you have expressed a desire for more gluten and grain free recipes, and we totally hear you. But as I said earlier, it has to taste good, and, frankly, there's a lot of poor to mediocre gluten free baking out there. We're just not willing to go there.

However, I have good news for you today. Granola. And it's delicious. I would pit it against any store-bought granola, whether it's gluten-free or not. And for those of you trying to avoid grains, this granola is packed full of nothing but nuts and seeds. It contains no refined sugars and, for the dairy-free or vegan among you, I use olive oil instead of butter. Whoa, look out!

Essentially, it's a protein-rich breakfast that will keep you full until lunchtime. It's also a great recipe to tweak--use honey instead of maple syrup or sorghum, and use whatever nuts and seeds you have on hand. The keys to success for this recipe are baking it long enough (you want it very dark and caramelized--on the verge of burning almost) and adding enough salt. A granola without enough salt lacks depth and tastes flat.

Otherwise, make this recipe yours.

Other articles you might enjoy: Basic Granola, Muesli With Raspberry Coulis, Coconut, and Pistachio, Homemade Yogurt

Grain and Gluten Free Granola
Makes about 6 1/2 cups

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet:
           1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
Bake until toasted and fragrant, about 4 to 7 minutes. Be vigilant. Coconut can turn to ashes in a flash. Remove the coconut to a bowl to cool.
Once the coconut is toasted, increase your oven's heat to 350˚F. Combine in a large bowl:
           1 cup sesame seeds
            1 cup pumpkin seeds
            1 cup sunflower seeds
            1 cup chopped raw almonds (you can also use slivered or sliced if that's what you have)
            1 cup chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts, but really any nut will do)
            1/2 cup olive oil
            (1/2 cup hemp seeds or ground flax seeds)
            1/4 cup sorghum syrup or unsulfured molasses
            1/4 cup maple syrup
            1/4 cup poppy seeds
            3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
Spread evenly on the same baking sheet you used for the coconut and bake, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 to 35 minutes or until very deeply golden brown and caramelized. Allow the mixture to cool slightly on the baking sheet (if you like chunky granola, let it cool completely on the baking sheet--it will knit together and you can break it apart with your hands). Combine it with the toasted coconut and allow it to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or jar.

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