I was a vegetarian for 10 years, (until, during my second pregnancy, I craved meat so badly I couldn’t ignore it any longer). During those ten years I ate granola every single morning for breakfast, with only a handful of exceptions. It was my favorite food, and I made it homemade. I also tried several store-bought brands.
Truth be told, my favorite granola was the Quaker brand I’d grown up with, because it was made with lots of fat; so it crumbled just right in your mouth, unlike the fat-free granolas that were soon to emerge on the market.
For lunch most days as a vegetarian I ate whole grain bread topped with a hugely thick spreading of peanut butter and good quality jam or honey. I loved seeds and nuts and dried fruit and grains, but never could get enough.
My youngest likes to play the “What Would You…” game. One of his favorite questions is, “If you were stranded on a deserted island for the rest of your life what 10 foods would you choose to have on the island with you?” We all love thinking about food, so we gladly comply.
For me, sprouted nuts, chunky muffins, dried fruit and this granola with raw milk are always considerations. I love these foods. I love nuts; I love seeds, I love fat. I love the texture of the foods as they crush and crumble in the mouth.
The Perfect Granola
I’m sure you’ve eaten a lot of granolas in your life. There are those where each oat is separate from each other oat, or perhaps two or three cling to each other. UGH>keep those away. Not interested.
There are those with small clusters of oats that stick together a bit. Some of these are very crunchy, usually the ones that are made with fruit juice and not enough fat. Neither their flavor nor their texture nails it.
There are those with good clusters of broken oats and a nice texture; but they are very sweet, too much sugar.
And then there are those granolas that are close to perfect, pretty good, but not great. They may get soggy in your milk, break up a lot, or be too this (chewy) or too that (crunchy).
And then there’s this recipe. It’s the best granola I’ve ever eaten; and it’s grain/oat-free! The clusters are as big as you want them, always of importance. Some are quite big, huge chunks of granola bar. Some are small, as small as you like, because you can break it up into your desired size before storing it.
The texture is granola-sublimity! It completely holds its shape in milk; the clusters stay like granola bar chunks. But when you put it in your mouth it breaks up just right; it crumbles under pressure. That sensation!
The flavor…is happiness, seriously: it’s the perfect sweetness; it’s satisfying; it’s pleasurable. It’s nutty. And yet, it tastes like classic granola.
Brazil Nuts and Flax Seed Meal
You can make this granola with any nut BUT I highly recommend Brazil nuts. They’re the best source of selenium, which is great for thyroid health and great for general detoxification. The nuts soak overnight (easy-peasy) before you make this recipe, so their nutrients are bio-available and easy to digest. But from a flavor and texture perspective, Brazil nuts have finally found their calling!
You know, at Christmas time, when there’s a bowl of nuts out, which ones always get picked over and left behind, right?! I used to eat them because I felt sorry for them: the Brazil nuts. They’re big; and their texture is kind of mealy and weird. They can never be chewed down all the way because of their unusual fiber-chew.
But then this granola came along recruiting. As it turns out, Brazil nuts create THE superior texture in this granola. I’ve tried other nuts, and I’m happy to say that it’s Brazil nut’s day in the sunlight. Not only are they selenium and detox king, they also rock the crumble texture of this most pleasurable breakfast, lunch and snack food.
This recipe also uses flax seed meal. I give an alternative (cassava flour [and coconut flour may work, too; but I haven’t tried it]) if you’re sensitive to this seed; but flax is part of what puts this recipe over the top. The fat in the seed helps to create that perfect crumble texture. The alternative still turns out yummy, for sure. I made a hazelnut-cassava version that we all liked and fought over (not really, but almost)… and yet, if we’re going to be very snobby about the best of the best granola, I hope you get to make the very original version with Brazil nuts and flax.
Behold, Next Week
Hold on to your hats. There’s a mighty wind blowing in from next week; and it’s going to use this granola recipe to knock even your socks off… For now, I hope you’ll get making this vegetarian-turned-meat-lover’s-favorite-granola-for-her-whole-life…but keep a little on hand for next week’s rapturous treat… Until then, smooches, friends!