Summer seemed to take forever to arrive, the winter just wouldn’t let go of the weather spotlight. Despite its tardy arrival, summer is well and truly upon us and with the warm weather comes a change in how I eat and cook. Summer breakfasts often revolve around seasonal fruit, yoghurt and granola. The last few days have been super scorchio and this morning’s break in the heat meant I was finally able to get into the kitchen to top up our granola supplies.
Making homemade granola cannot be easier and you can tailor the recipe to suit your tastes and pantry staples. I always use oats as my base, however if you are after a gluten-free option they can be replaced with another whole grain, like quinoa flakes or buckwheat. Oats are a wonderful source of soluble fibre, they are easy to digest and help to prevent big spikes in blood sugar levels. Go oats! I used spelt flakes in this batch as I had them in the pantry, they bring a whole heap of nutritional benefits to the party too (fibre, iron, zinc, magnesium and protein), as well as a great nutty flavour. I like to include quinoa flakes as they add a great protein hit. The puffed millet isn’t essential, I had some to use up, however it does add another textural element though, as well as protein, fibre and niacin. Puffed brown rice would work too.
Really, the combination of whole grains is completely up to you. At the end of the day, I don’t choose my grains based on their individual nutrient profile. I go with what is in my pantry and the flavour combos I like. Including wholegrains in your diet though is definitely a good thing, as they deliver plenty of health benefits. They are a wonderful source of fibre, protein, heart healthy fats, B vitamins and minerals. plus they are delicious and pretty budget friendly too.
The same can be said about the nuts, seeds and dried fruit. I like to add chopped almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels, sesame seeds and chia seeds as I always have these beauties in my pantry. Really the type of seeds or nuts that you use is totally up to. use what you have and whatever floats your boat.
The almonds are full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. There is also plenty of vitamin E in almonds, which acts an antioxidant mopping up free radicals produced in the body. I always keep the skin on my almonds as the flavonoids found in the skin combine with the Vitamin E doubling the antioxidant activity. The consumption of almonds has also been shown to reduce the overall glycemic load of a meal.
Sunflower seeds, whilst small, offer a nutritional punch, providing some B vitamins, particularly folate, protein and heart healthy fats. Pumpkin seeds are the mineral warriors of the group, full of zinc, magnesium and iron. The sesame seeds, as well as providing plenty of Vitamin E also provides a good amount of calcium, which is perfect if you don’t have cow’s milk with your granola. I love adding chia seeds to meals as they provide plenty of fibre, protein and some iron, folate and calcium.
When it comes to dried fruit, again it is totally up to you. I always tend to use a few dates, some goji berries or dried cranberries and I will throw in some shredded coconut to the mix too. Sometimes I forget all about the fruit and I don’t miss it one bit.
To help my granola crisp up and become all crunchy delicious I coat the mix with some coconut oil. Due to super hot Summer temperatures, I tend to find my coconut oil in a liquid stage, which is super helpful. If the weather is cooler I melt it first.
My granola is sweetened with a little bit of maple syrup, because we all need a LITTLE sweetness in our lives. It is the minimal added sugar content of my homemade granola that makes this granola way better than anything found in a packet in the supermarket. It is best to remember that the dried fruit, if using, does bring its own brand of added sugar to the party, so factor this into to your day of eating food.
My Basic Granola
1 cup whole oats
1 cup rolled spelt
1 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup puffed millet
1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup sesame seeds
4 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey
3 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from two vanilla pods
1/2 cup goji berries or dried cranberries
6 medjool dates, pitted and diced
Preheat your oven to 160C.
Place the oats, spelt, quinoa flakes, puffed millet, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower kernels, sesame seeds, chia seeds and coconut in a big mixing bowl. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla and mix through until every grain, nut and seed is coated and glistening.
Place half the mixture onto a large baking tray and the remainder onto another large baking tray. Pop into your oven and bake for twenty minutes. Keep checking the granola every five minutes and using a spatula or large metal spoon turn the mixture over gently. I do this whilst the tray is in the oven, however if you are worried about spillage then remove the tray and turn the mixture over and pop back it.
whilst the granola is looking a beautiful golden colour and the smell is wafting throughout the kitchen, it is time to remove it. Let the granola cool a little on the trays before tipping into a big mixing bowl.
Let the granola cool completely and then stir through the goji berries and dates. Store your granola in a large glass jar.
Hopefully, you will enjoy this granola as much as we do. The beauty is in its simplicity and you can change up the ingredients and flavour to suit you. Tag me on Insta #liaburtonnutrition if you make a batch and tell me how you love it.