While I am not an "early riser" per se, I love mornings. They're my favorite time for meditation (hence the inclusion of my moonstone mala, up top), a peaceful time where the lake near my home is still, a quiet time for productivity, and time for breakfast! I have always loved a crunchy bowl of cereal in the morning (preferably with a side of cartoons!)... and while I preferred my Cocoa Puffs dry as a kid, I grew to prefer granola topped with fruit and plant-based milk as an adult. Unfortunately, even "healthy" granolas are high-sugar and loaded with grains, even the "wholesome" versions of which tend to have a moderate or high glycemic load. So, I formulated this grain-free granola to provide the taste sensation without the blood sugar spike (and ensuing acne, in my case). I love it served exactly as pictured with a hearty helping of in-season, low-glycemic fruit.
Let's have a good look without the almond milk...
VLGL granola incorporates unsweetened, shredded coconut and sliced almonds for crunch, hemp hearts, walnuts, and ground flaxseed for omega-3s; cinnamon and nutmeg for that classic, cozy flavor; and a little bit of agave nectar for sweetness and to form the classic granola "clusters." Agave nectar is low-glycemic due to the fact that it is almost entirely fructose, where the glycemic load is a measure of how quickly eating a food will raise blood glucose levels. Healthcare professionals caution against the overconsumption of agave, as it is a processed, caloric sweetener, but because it is the one "real sugar" sweetener that does not cause my acne to flare, I use it in small amounts in recipes such as this where the taste and texture of stevia, my preferred sweetener, will not produce the desired result. If you are concerned about the use of agave, consult your healthcare professional, and feel free to experiment with stevia (but know that it likely will not form clusters as does the agave). On the other end of the spectrum, if you are accustomed to super-sweetened store-bought granola and wish to produce that result, increase the agave.
Now, let's add that tasty, moo-free milk...
I used unsweetened almond milk, here, but from coconut to hazelnut to cashew and more, there are so many delicious dairy-free milks on the market now. Which do you like with your breakfast? Comment and share!
RECIPE: Grain-Free Granola
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup sliced, raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/8 cup raw hemp hearts
- 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoon blue agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon liquified coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients from coconut to flaxseed, and mix gently until evenly distributed.
- In a separate, small bowl, combine agave nectar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until well-combined.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the coconut mixture, and mix very gently until well-combined.
- Spread the granola onto the cookie sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt across the surface of the granola.
- Bake for 5 minutes. Stir, and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until a golden color is reached. Be careful not to burn!
Serve with love, fresh fruit, and your favorite plant-based milk.