My nutty granola is not your traditional recipe – there are no oats included. This grain-free version is a mixture of nuts and seeds coated in egg whites, spices, and natural sweeteners.
Store bought granola can be hard on your digestive system, not to mention many of them contain too much sweeteners and are usually made with vegetable oils (read why other fats are healthier).
Grains and nuts need proper preparation to break down enzyme inhibitors that make them hard to digest. Oats and nuts are high in phytic acid and the phytase enzymes that helps break it down is not abundant in our digestive systems. Phytic acid also binds with minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc that can lead to mineral deficiencies in high phytate diets (too much grains and high fiber foods that are not properly prepared).
I soak all my nuts in salted water overnight and dehydrate them in the oven or dehydrator. The soaking process activates phytase enzymes and reduces the nut’s phytic acid – making them easier to digest.
I chose to use egg whites in my recipe since I always have so much excess egg whites waiting in my fridge to be used (from homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, or smoothies). But coconut oil and butter are good options as well. I was inspired by Sally Fallon’s Holiday Pecans recipe in Nourishing Traditions that used egg whites as a coating and decided to make my granola with a similar method.
Once you have the basic ratio of 1 egg white per 2 cups of nuts/seeds, endless variations are possible. For an egg-free version, omit the egg whites and add more butter or coconut oil.
8 cups mixed nuts, preferably soaked and dehydrated
4 large egg whites (1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons maple syrup (1/4 cup) or to taste
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
2-4 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
Optional add ins; dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots, goji berries), crystalized ginger, and coconut flakes.
1. Beat or whisk egg whites with the maple syrup, vanilla extract, and spices in a large bowl until combined.
2. Chop up nuts to desired size – a food processor makes this easy – and mix into the egg mixture.
3. Butter or oil the insert of a slow cooker and pour in the nut mixture.
4. Turn on the slow cooker to high and cook granola, stirring every 15-20 minutes, until the coating dries (about 2-3 hours).
5. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container. Any dried fruit or additional mix ins can be added after it cools.
Note: I prefer making granola with a slow cooker when I’m already home and in and out of the kitchen to stir it. To prepare in the oven, pour mixture into a greased baking pan and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, or until granola is dry, stirring occasionally to brown evenly.
This post is linked to The Healthy Home Economist | Monday Mania, GNOWFGLINS | Tuesday Twister, Girlichef | Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, and Kelly The Kitchen Kop | Real Food Wednesday – Low-carb/Grain-free edition.