You call it ‘kryptonite’, I call it ‘granola’. Give me any oat-y, nutty, sugary crunch topping and a side of non-dairy yogurt, and I’m one content foodie. Forget sprinkles, roll my vegan vanilla scoop in some toasted oats! 😉
Alas, I must admit that granola is not necessarily the healthiest of choices, as most food-realated ‘kryptonites’ are. So…this called for a recipe-test mess in the kitchen! I decided to get all Cutie Foodie by lacing up my most adorable of aprons, and contributing to the year of 2018 #health and #fitness with a batch of granola that doesn’t tarnish gym gains or cause guilt by scooping another heaped tablespoon onto your parfait.
Nothing is worse than buying fresh ingredients and having them (along with the money you spent on them) ruined in the I-don’t-really-know-what-I’m-doing recipe-testing process. I was fortunate that ChefShan Granola was born after only one slightly burnt batch! I’m going to disclaim that my recipe is probably unlike any other granola you’ve bought pre-made, and I’d like to think that the texture difference and sweet cinnamon flavor combination is what makes it so special. I did not walk into the kitchen completely blind, throw a bunch of superfoods from my pantry into the oven and pray it could pass as granola when my phone timer went off.
I haven’t been shy in sharing my battles with IBS and through the Whole30 Elimination Diet (highly recommended), I learned just how badly my digestive system reacts to sugar. While plain ‘ol white sugar has little to not nutritional value anyways, the sweetening agent is anything but to my body. Oats that are essentially soaked and baked in it…enough said. However, I wasn’t going to let a recipe for disaster keep me from one of my favorite foods. So, I made a recipe for success!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 c. organic sprouted quinoa*
*On my Instagram (shameless plug: @the_cutiefoodie) I’ve had people express concerns about eating quinoa in baked form. While quinoa is almost always treated as a grain, it is actually a seed; therefore, when sprouted, you can, in fact, consume it raw. Check the packaging to be sure! This ensures some of the enzymes are released to aid your body in absorbing the proteins and carbohydrates in the most optimal way.
2 tbsp. flaxseed
1/2 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tbsp. agave or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
2-3 second spray of PAM coconut oil spray
2 tbsp. raw cacao nibs
1 c. puffed rice
*Completely optional, but I invented this recipe at a time when I counted calories, and used the puffed rice as a way to make the granola less calorie-dense. However, I still like to add it in there to ‘beef’ it up!
1. If you’re feeling #extraAF like I was, feel free to start by measuring out all your ingredients into cute little ramekins. If anything, it does make keeping track or everything you’re throwing into a bowl a lot easier…and way more aesthetically pleasing! 😉
More importantly, preheat your oven to 375F & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Put everything except the puffed rice & raw cacao nibs into a large mixing bowl. Stir until all the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated with the agave & PAM spray.
*This PAM thing may come across as strange to many, but let me assure you that it had great powers in the health-nola world. Take it from my first-hand experience: spraying this stuff in your bowl to help moisten the ingredients (& maybe another spritz after it’s all laid out nicely on the pan) gives for a great crumbly, cluster effect. If you’d prefer to opt out of the PAM, I’ve skipped the spray before and the taste remains the same!
3. Spread your granola mix evenly onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until your coconut flakes are golden brown & your house smells ahh-mazing! *heart eyes*
4. Remove pan & allow granola to cool completely — no stirring! If you’re impatient like me, simply place the pan in the fridge — even better, the freezer — until it is cool.
5. This is the fun part: crumble your granola until you reach your desired amount of clusters. Also at this point, add in your raw cacao nibs, puffed rice cereal, & possibly some additional cinnamon if you’re feelin’ like it!
6. Viola! You have completed made ChefShan Granola!
It’s great for digestion & made with whole, natural, & organic ingredients that allow you to use it — generously, of course — as a topping, or even as a cereal! Who has the almond milk?!