Ok, I'm just going to come right out and say it. I mean, there's no point in pretending that we're not all thinking about the elephant in the post here! Grain-free granola is FREAKING expensive. I mean seriously, "Can I get a witness"!?! Yet in spite of the cost, I find myself making it again and again and again. WHY? Because I like it. No let's be honest here....I LOVE it.
At least I can honestly say that I don't actually eat a whole bowl full (anymore) like the picture here suggests. I mean, who really fills their bowl to the rim like that anyway? Wait....don't answer that.
Admittedly, I have been known to eat a little bowl of it now and then with some coconut milk or even just by the handful. But these (more moderate) days, I prefer to just add a little granola to my coconut yogurt parfaits, waffles, muffins or morning butternut squash. Ultimately, grain-free granola is pretty much all NUTS, so I've learned to keep it to a handful a day; and my digestion, my body and my wallet all thank me!
So here it is: my family's (current) favorite flavor combination. Lucky for us, we found unsweetened dehydrated banana chips at our favorite health food store. Of course you could always dehydrate or bake/fry your own. Once, we even splurged and got the sweetened ones...now that was a nice treat.
Banana Walnut Grain-Free Granola
Paleo, Grain/Gluten/Dairy & Cane Sugar Free
Ingredients:1 1/2 cup of raw walnuts (the 1/2 cup is set aside)
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw pecans
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 medium/large sized bananas
10 fresh dates, soaked or 1/4 cup honey/vegan sweetener
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup banana chips (we used unsweetened, either would work)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional
Note: Using "crispy nuts" (soaked and dehydrated) will greatly help with the digestibility and nutrient absorption of the nuts. Find out more about this HERE. This recipe will work with any nuts though.
1. Soak the fresh dates in room temp water for 2-3 hours, remove the pits. If you use dried dates the soaking time will be longer.
2. Preheat oven to 200-250 degrees
3. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the Walnuts (the other 1/2 cup is set aside till the very end), 1 1/2 cups cashews, 1 cup pecans and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds. Toss to mix evenly.
4. Add 2 cups of the nut mixture to a food processor. Process the nuts till they are almost the texture of Grapenuts (yes the cereal...with gluten in it, I know). Transfer to a large bowl.
5. Take the leftover nuts (excluding the 1/2 cup extra walnuts) and coarsely chop them. This can be done by hand or with the food processor. Just don't chop them too fine. Transfer to the bowl with the other nuts. Add the raisins and the spices. Toss to combine.
I6. n a blender, add the bananas, soaked dates or honey, oil, water and vanilla extract. Puree till smooth. (takes a little longer if using the dates instead of honey)
7. Pour the banana mixture over the nut mixture and toss the ingredients till well combined. (I find my hands work best for this as the banana mixture can be kind of thick.
8. Bake in a 200-250 degree oven till crispy. Takes about 1 hour (or longer if your oven goes lower for dehydrating). Stir 3-4 times during the process to prevent burning. Or for RAW granola use your dehydrator. Baking times will vary from oven to oven and choice of oven temperature.
9. When the granola is good and crispy, remove from the oven and let cool. Keep in mind that it will crisp up more as it cools too. Add the banana chips, extra walnuts and chocolate chips to cooled granola, toss to combine and you're DONE!
Store in an air tight container. We keep ours in the fridge. Makes about 5 cups of granola.