February 18, 2012

Chewy Cherry Granola

 Last week I ordered chia seeds from Chiaseedsdirect.com. A few days later, 4 pounds of chia arrived on my door step. I don't think I fully comprehended how many chia seeds I was ordering until I opened that box.

For those of you who only think of chia seeds as what you plant on a chia pet, guess what! You can eat them! Chia seeds are extremely healthy - check out these stats! They have healthy omega-3 fatty acids, complete protein, & lots of B vitamins. They don't have a strong flavor, which makes them versatile in cooking & baking.

One thing to note - when chia seeds come in contact with liquid, they form a gel. This makes them perfect for chia eggs, but also means that in most baked goods they will absorb moisture & thicken the batter.

So now, lucky for all of you, I'm on a kick to find ways to use all 4 pounds
I'm not really into chia pudding, although I've only tried pumpkin & I think chocolate would probably rock.

I love adding chia seeds to my oatmeal, but at 1 Tablespoon a day, 4 pounds worth will be rancid before I make it through 1 pound.

Of course, I could freeze some, but that would defeat goal #2 for 2012. I think I still will freeze 2 pounds, but for the rest, it's time to start being creative!

All that, just for some simple granola.

This recipe is filled with nutrients including plenty of omega-3's, fiber, & antioxidants. It's low in fat unlike many granolas (and the fat it does have is healthy fat!). It's also low in sugar. Most of the sweetness comes from the cherry puree, the rest from a spot of honey, both of which are natural sugars & have plenty of nutrients.

If you don't like nuts or are allergic, feel free to eliminate them. We have lots of walnuts, so that's what I used, but I think almonds or hazelnuts would be delicious, too. It would be great without nuts, too.

And for those of you who didn't just purchase 4 pounds of chia seeds, feel free to add some extra oats, flax or wheat germ to compensate. It'll still be good, I promise.

Chewy Cherry Granola
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
Yield: 6-7 cups

4 c old-fashioned oats
1/4 c ground flaxseed
1/4 c wheat germ
1/2 c chia seeds
1/2 c chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 T honey
2 T coconut oil, melted (or substitute canola oil)
1 T vanilla extract
2 c cherry puree (about 1 lb of cherries, fresh or frozen)
1/2 c dried cherries
1/2 c coconut flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine oats, wheat germ, flax, salt, cinnamon & walnuts in a large mixing bowl. Using a food processor, blend pitted cherries until pureed. Stir in coconut oil & vanilla. Add the honey to the oat mixture. Once combined, stir in cherry puree mixture.  Make sure everything is evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a large baking sheet (or use 2 baking sheets, depending on size). Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 7-8 minutes. Granola should be slightly golden when it is done. As granola cools, it will become slightly crunchy. If you prefer your granola to be very crunchy, bake it for about 10 minutes longer.  Fold in dried cherries and coconut flakes. Store in a sealed container for 1-2 weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I bet that IS a lot of chia seeds! Are you sure you can't spare a few to diy a chia pet? I really think you should. ;-)


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