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This grain-free granola recipe is the best Paleo granola ever. You’ll seriously never need another granola recipe. The best texture, the best digestibility (from soaked nuts), great macronutrients and the best flavors.
My kids get a little naggy when I haven’t made it for a while. 😉
My granola background
I was a vegetarian for 10 years. During those ten years I ate granola every single morning for breakfast. 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.
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?”
For me, sprouted nuts, chunky muffins (like these blueberry or these winter squash), dried fruit and this Grain-free Paleo Granola with raw milk are always considerations. I love these foods! Nuts, seeds, fat. I love the texture of the foods as they crush and crumble in the mouth.
The perfect Grain-free Paleo Granola
I’m sure you’ve eaten a lot of granolas in your life too. There are those where each oat is separate from each other oat, or perhaps two or three cling to each other.
Some 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 (hard-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. Some are quite big, like 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! Grain-free Paleo Granola 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, satisfying, pleasurable, nutty. And yet, it tastes like classic granola!
Brazil nuts and flax seed meal
You can make this granola with any nut, but I do recommend Brazil nuts. Brazil nuts are the best food 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. 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.
As it turns out, Brazil nuts create THE superior texture in this granola. I’ve tried other nuts, and I’m happy to say Brazil nuts contribute the best texture.
This recipe also uses flax seed meal. I give alternatives (below in the recipe) if you’re sensitive to this seed, but flax lends a nice quality. The fat in the seed helps to create the perfect crumble texture.
What other ingredients make this granola so good?
- sunflower seeds — I love how affordable sunflower seeds are, which is great if you plan to make this recipe often.
- fruit purée — For fruit purée, you can also use apple sauce, melon purée or even pumpkin.
- fat of choice — like coconut oil, avocado oil or even duck fat
- maple syrup — or honey for GAPS, or if preferred
- chia seed meal — Ground up chia seeds (I use my coffee grinder to do this) also help to create the right texture, that granola bar type crumble and big clusters.
How is Grain-free Paleo Granola made?
One of the techniques that makes this recipe unique is the soaking of the seeds and nuts.
We soak Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds overnight in salted water to reduce anti-nutrients.
- It’s easier to purée or process nuts that have been softened through soaking.
- Soaking in salted water makes the raw nuts and seeds think it’s time to germinate, which makes them more digestible.
Soaking is easy. Overnight the nuts and seeds soak in the salted water. In the morning, they get rinsed and are ready to use.
This added step makes Grain-free Paleo Granola gentler on the stomach and even more nutritious.
- As mentioned earlier, you can use a different nut than Brazil nuts — such as hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans.
- After the granola is done dehydrating, you can add chopped dried fruit — such as diced apples, figs or dates. Stir it in before storing.
- Add whole or chopped sprouted nuts or seeds if you want some big nut chunks in your bowl — such as hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans or sunflower seeds.
- Add freeze-dried berries to the finished and fully cooled granola, for a berry-flavored granola.
How to eat Grain-free Paleo Granola
- One of the yummiest ways to eat this granola is in this amazing Pomegranate-Coffee Smoothie Bowl: You’ll love the ingredients, flavors! and the overall eating experience.
- Top granola with your favorite milk. Add optional berries.
- Because Grain-free Paleo Granola is broken into big clusters, you can also bring it for a snack, like a granola bar. It’s super good eaten out of hand (no milk needed).
- Eat with your favorite yogurt.
I hope you get to make this former vegetarian’s favorite granola. I know you’ll love it and never need another recipe.
Grain-free Paleo Granola is literally the best granola recipe I've ever eaten! Made with nuts and seeds, I share in this recipe what makes this recipe crumble just right in your mouth, and hold its shape like a granola bar too! SO good!
- 16 ounces Brazil nuts , raw, soaked overnight in salt water (see Recipe Notes below for easy soaking method)
- 2 cups sunflower seeds , raw, soaked overnight in salt water (see Recipe Notes for easy soaking method)
- 1 cup fruit puree (I use watermelon!); okay to also use apple sauce or even canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or raw honey for GAPS Diet
- 1/2 cup duck fat melted, or other preferred traditional fat, like coconut oil or avocado oil
- 1/3 cup flax seed meal or cassava flour (not cassava for GAPS)
- 1/3 cup chia seed meal, (blend 1 cup chia seeds in high speed blender for 10 seconds; then measure out the 1/3 cup, reserving any leftovers in the fridge for next time)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Working in 2 batches place wet, rinsed, (soaked) nuts into blender and pulse to create a meal. Only a few bigger chunks will remain. Dump the nuts as you go into a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the sunflower seeds. Use a spatula to scrape them all into mixing bowl with Brazil nuts.
Add all remaining ingredients into bowl: fruit purée, maple syrup, melted fat, flax meal, chia meal and cinnamon. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
Grease dehydrator sheets or two large baking pans (if you're dehydrating in the oven). Spread granola out into a 1/2" chunky layer. Set dehydrator or oven to 140 degrees. Dehydrate until granola is dry on top but still a bit moist underneath. Use an offset spatula to flip big sections. Return granola to dehydrator until totally dry and crispy. Break into large and small chunks and allow to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.
How to Soak Nuts and Seeds (for Better Digestion) — it's easy!
Place raw sunflower seeds and raw Brazil nuts (or other nut of choice) in a large bowl. Cover with room temperature, filtered water by two inches, and add 2 tsp. sea salt. Stir well to dissolve salt. Leave out overnight at room temperature to soak. Drain in a colander, and rinse well.