Steel Cut Oat Granola
This is a healthy and wholesome granola, made with whole grains and sweetened naturally. It’s not too sweet, and is tart and bright. The lemon is the star ingredient
I’d been thinking of how to make a better-for-you granola, with a natural sweetener that added something more than just sweetness… So, in come dates! Besides being delicious, and a source of antioxidants, iron and minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, etc, dates are known for their dietary fiber. Unfortunately, most recipes call for date syrup, that strains it out. By making a chunky date paste, I retained the entire fruit and dietary fiber. Beats refined sugar!
As for the bulk ingredients, if you think of instant oatmeal as the most refined version of oatmeal, steel cut oats are as close as it gets to the most unrefined version. They are oat groats that have been hulled and cut in half / thirds to aid with cooking time. Rolled oats fall in the middle (here's a nifty page that explains it well).
They are very close nutritionally to rolled oats: linked to a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. However, one of its unique benefits is their much lower glycemic load; i.e. how much and how quickly your blood sugar spikes after eating them! And since they take longer to digest, they keep you feeling full longer.
Note: I like the mouthfeel contrast of the steel cut oats and rolled outs; but you could easily substitute the steel cut oats for rolled oats if you’d like! Just keep an eye out for cooking times.
1 ½ cups steel cut oats
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Pinch of salt (scant 1 teaspoon)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup whole dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup water
Juice of ½ lemon
Preheat oven to 325F.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.
Combine pitted dates and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, until dates are soft and falling apart. I had some foam from the dates that I spooned off and discarded. Remove from heat, and mash dates until they resemble a paste. Add remainder of wet ingredients and stir to combine.
Immediately pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated. Spread out onto a lined baking sheet, spreading into an even layer.
Bake for 20 minutes, undisturbed. Take out of oven, and turn granola over, and bake again (this will make a finer granola, vs chunky). Cook for ~20 more minutes. Keep an eye out during its cooking: granola is done when moisture is evaporated, and is golden brown and fragrant.
Let cool completely before enjoying it.
Yields ~3 cups of granola
To serve: This is delicious as is, or with almond / coconut milk, any yoghurt (keep it vegan with cashew, soy, coconut or almond), fresh or frozen berries, bee pollen, fruit, flaxseed, banana, etc!
In picture above: plain cashew yoghurt, frozen blue berries, bee pollen...