Firsty, vanillamon?! Disclaimer: it's 9pm, I've been doing a bunch of business admin today and so, "cinnamon + vanilla = vanillamon" seems like a winning idea.

I love making my own granola (and secretly hate the word granola, but it's catchier than "crunchy muesli") because it's a textural, flavour-bomb delight. Granolas have had a revival lately, and I think some of that could be attributed to the popularity of Paleo-based diets. (Not sure WTF paleo is? Check out my video about it here.) With commercial granolas and cereals being laden with sugar, salt, sugar under a different name, wheat in five different forms and hydrogenated oils, making your own not only spares you the negative nutrition from store-bought stuff, but it'll save you a pretty penny.

To be honest, you can throw anything into your granola mix. I usually don't measure quantities...more often than not, I just make a mix up based on what's left in the pantry. A general rule of thumb:

  • Use a little bit of oil - it's the key to crunch. Add enough to lightly coat the ingredients but not enough to make a wet mixture. I typically use good quality coconut, avocado or olive oils.
  • Coconut (and pecans) typically take less time to bake than other ingredients. Might seem annoying at the time, but add them in half-way through cooking to avoid having to pick out burnt bits. Can you tell I'm speaking from experience?!
  • Be wary of dried fruits. They are concentrated little nuggets of sugar. Delicious in granola, yes, but if you're also adding maple syrup, honey or rice malt syrup, the sugar grams add up. If you want to add dried fruits, get your hands on some sulfate and no-added-sugar varieties and be light handed ;) Add the with just a few minutes to cook, otherwise they'll caramelise too much.
  • Cook low and slow, and take your granola out juuuust before it's about to go really golden. Much like biscuits and cookies, the granola will continue to crisp up in the tray after it's out of the oven.
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This granola blend is grain, soy and refined sugar-free with lots of crunch and rich, nutty flavours. It's got loads of fibre, which is great for brekky time! Not to mention the healthy fats from nuts, seeds and coconut. It's got a secret ingredient...LUPIN. Hardcore Paleo-ites should omit the lupin as it's a legume, but I wanted to see how it fared in a granola bake. The result? Really well. It adds some additional bulk and is great source of protein with a relatively low carbohydrate profile.

Paleo Vanillamon Grain-free Granola (makes about 500g...maybe a bit more)

INGREDIENTS (ROUGHLY...YOU DON'T NEED TO ADHERE TO EXACT QUANTITIES):

  • 2 cups untoasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup Brazil nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 cup lupin flakes
  • 1/3 cup rice malt syrup (warmed slightly to thin it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder plus 1 tsp vanilla paste (or sub both for 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin space (or just add a pinch each of ground cloves and nutmeg)
  • 1/4 cup coconut, avocado or olive oil

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 160c
  • Line a baking sheet or tray with baking paper 
  • Mix all of the ingredients except the coconut flakes and the oil in a large bowl
  • Add the oil a little bit at a time until it coats the granola pieces
  • Press onto the lined baking tray/s 
  • Bake for around 30 minutes or until almost consistently golden, mixing halfway to bake through and adding the coconut at this time
  • Remove from oven and drizzle 1 Tbs rice malt syrup over the warm granola
  • Allow to cool completely on tray/s before transferring to an airtight container or jar

Enjoy with fresh fruit, your milk of choice and a dollop of natural yoghurt.

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