This Paleo Granola is loaded with healthy nuts and seeds. It's also crazy delicious, and you won't believe how easy it is to throw together!
"Paleo Granola?" "No thank you." That's probably what I would have said, not long ago.
Do you ever have to eat your words? How about your thoughts? Just wondering... cause I never have that problem.
Oops, excuse me, I might have to stop writing this post because, well, I can't see the screen anymore; my nose is growing. Really long...
Okay, to be honest, I do have that problem
occasionally quite frequently.
For example, there was "Google". I remember my son, Nick talking excitedly about Google. It seems like it was a hundred years ago (I mean really, who remembers life before Google?), but it was only about fourteen or fifteen. "What in the world is Google?" I asked him, "That is probably the dumbest word I ever heard".
Then here's a really embarrassing one. When my daughter, Cait announced seven or eight years ago, that she was going to start a blog, that was another dumb word. "Blog?" I mean really, who dreams up words like that?
I'm the dumb one here! Not only do I now have my own blog, but I'm infamous in our family as, "The Google Queen". In fact, a few paragraphs ago, I googled "When did Google start?", so I wouldn't sound so dumb when I told you how many years ago it was that I thought Google was dumb. Sheeeesh!
I have to admit, the same thing occurred when I learned about the "paleo" diet, which promotes "Returning to the diet of our early (paleolithic) ancestors.", meaning lots of lean protein, seeds nuts, berries, fruit, etc. There's nothing wrong with this concept, in fact, we should all be eating more of these healthy foods. There are, however, lots of restrictions with the paleo diet. The exclusions include all refined and processed foods, most grains, legumes (beans and peanuts), dairy, fruit juice, tubers (sweet and regular potatoes) and salt.
I would describe our dietary philosophy here at The Café more along the lines of "balance". We eat healthy for the most part, with a few fun indulgences thrown in. But we do enjoy most of the things that are on the "no-no" list for paleos. We love whole-grain breads and oatmeal, eat lots of Greek yogurt and peanut butter, enjoy fresh orange juice, use all kinds of potatoes (both sweet and regular) and absolutely love bean soups, chilies and all kinds of international cuisines that have legumes (beans) as a staple. And then there's sugar (a refined food product). Although we try to limit our intake, my nose would be crashing through my computer screen, yet again, if I said we didn't enjoy sweet treats (quite obvious in my last post - Best Ever Chocolate Pound Cake).
All this to say, I haven't really given recipes labeled as "paleo" a whole lot of attention, thinking they would be a little too extreme for my more middle-of-the-road style of cooking, and probably not super tasty either. Until now, that is.
Last week I found myself eating my words/thoughts (once again!). My sister, Annie sent me a recipe for Paleo Granola. My first thought was, "Hmmm, probably not." But Annie is one of the most wonderful cooks I know, and in her email, she said, "It's really delicious. I like it better than our fabulous granola recipe."
To myself: "Better than our old standby granola we've been making for a zillion years? Really?"
So I tried it. "Oh, my word!" is what flew out of my mouth when I snitched a little handful right off the sheet pan. It's crunchy, sweet and utterly delicious! I've made it a couple more times, and each time, I adjust it just a bit. The original recipe calls for 3 teaspoons of cinnamon which was a lot for our taste. I reduced the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon and added a pinch of cloves and ginger. I added some extra seeds and nuts and also reduced the coconut oil slightly, with great results.
We've been enjoying this paleo granola on yogurt and oatmeal as well as snacking on it right out of the jar. And speaking of snacking, try this: slice a banana in half, lengthwise. Smear it with peanut or almond butter and scatter a handful of this paleo granola over the top. It's fantastic, and also makes a delicious, quick, and very satisfying breakfast-on-the-run. This same little technique is also great on crisp apple slices.
So there you have it, probably the best granola you've ever had the pleasure of meeting. And, dumb me, I would have turned my nose up at it, if it hadn't been for my sister. Thanks, Annie! I'm truly "eating my words" because I have a feeling that this recipe will go into our "All-time favorites" folder. But you know what? I really don't mind eating my words, if it involves something as crazy delicious as this Paleo Granola.
Now, if I could just figure out a way to keep this nose of mine out of trouble! Hmmm..
Café Tips for making this Paleo Granola...
- Feel free to experiment with different types of nuts and seeds. Keep the total proportion about the same, but have fun with your favorites. A favorite combination of ours is 2 cups sliced almonds, 2 cups slivered almonds, 1 cup broken up pecans, 1 cup sunflower seeds and ½ cups sesame seeds.
- The spices are quite flexible. We like this combination, but you could also use nutmeg, allspice, pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice in amounts to suit your taste.
- Sometimes I make it with no spices, just a little extra vanilla, it's wonderful that way too!
- One last thing, if you like your granola more clumpy, don't stir it right after it comes out of the oven. Just let it cool on the sheet pan and then break it apart.
- If you like it looser, give it a good stir when it comes out of the oven and again after about 10 minutes.
- 2 cups blanched sliced almonds
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pepitas shelled pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup ground flax seed or flax seed meal you can also use almond meal in place of the flax
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup honey
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ to 1 cup dried cranberries raisins or other dried fruit
Preheat oven to 275˚F. Lightly grease a sheet pan or, for easy clean up, line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. If you use foil, lightly grease it.
Combine all the nuts and seeds as well as the coconut in a large bowl.
Over low heat, combine honey and coconut oil until heated through. (You can also heat the honey and coconut oil in the microwave on high heat for 90 seconds.) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon and cloves, ginger and salt.
Pour over nut/seed mixture and mix well. Be sure to scrape all the good honey/oil mixture that's left in the bowl. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown (may take longer, depending on your oven), stirring every 15 minutes to keep granola at the edges of the pan from burning. Watch carefully after 30 minutes as ovens vary. Once the granola is a nice golden brown, remove it from oven and allow to cool.
Add dried fruit after granola has cooled.