Since becoming gluten intolerant, granola hasn't been that easy to come by. I also make it harder on myself to find granola since I'm allergic to coconut, and avoid products with high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. That makes it difficult to find granola in stores. (Although http://www.lovegrownfoods.com/ offers what I've heard to be stunning gluten-free granola without HFCS or poorly processed oils online and in Aspen, CO!) So, I took things into my own hands.
Check out what's front and center in my pantry! Some lovely and healthy homemade granola. I was inspired by Elise's quinoa granola recipe, and modified it a bit to suit my silly coconut allergy and used applesauce to replace most of the oil.
And my-oh-my, is it addicting! This granola is loaded with about 10 grams of protein per cup, and has hardly any sugar. Each component of this granola has health benefits. Buckwheat and oats lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and are full of protein and good whole-grain carbohydrates. Both buckwheat and almonds reduce your risk for gallstones. Quinoa bestows us with complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. All three grains boast antioxidants.
Who wouldn't want a handful of something so darn healthy?
Before making my granola, I soaked the oats, quinoa, and buckwheat overnight. in some lemon juice.
Soaking grains is something I've been learning more about, and while I don't do it all the time, I wanted to talk a bit about why it might be something you want to try.
Grains are full of vitamins, minerals, and other goodies. But they also have phytic acid. Phytic acid, according to Sally Falon in Nourishing Traditions, "combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, clocking their absorption. Whole grains also contain enzyme inhibitors that can interfere with digestion."
In order to help "neutralize" these enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid, you can soak grains like millet, quinoa, rice, and oats overnight with 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt. These ingredients are acidic and are what helps the neutralization process.
Although this seems like a lot of trouble, soaking grains in acid allows your digestive system to better absorb all the great nutrients that are naturally found in grains. When you're ready to use the grains, rinse them, and then cook them like you normally would.
One bonus is that they'll cook a lot faster and be a bit more luscious using this method. Different grains should be soaked for different amounts of time. Buckwheat, brown rice, and millet need to be soaked for 7 hours, and since they don't have a high phytate content, it isn't a big deal if you aren't able to soak them. Oats have the highest level of phytic acid, and it's recommended that you soak them for 24 hours.
Now, back to the granola...here's the recipe!
Crunchy Quinoa Granola
inspired by Elise at Hungry Hungry Hippie
- 1 cup gluten free oats
- 1/2 cup buckwheat (I used raw buckwheat, not kasha)
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used almonds and walnuts)
- 1/2 cup seeds and dried fruit (I used a trail mix in the bulk aisle)
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons ginger (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Yields about 5 cups of granola.
Have you had any experience with soaking grains?
If you're interested in reading more about soaking grains, my resources for this post were: