Grabbing A Healthy Snack
With summer travel on the horizon, it’s time to consider a snack that will make any trip more enjoyable. When I travel, granola usually makes it along for the ride. An easy and healthy snack to prepare — and a lifesaver when your only option is the typically grim airport food.
There is an endless array of granola on the market, but the best granola is the one you make yourself (added bonus, homemade granola makes the house smell super fragrant — cinnamon and spice). I like to add a few less ordinary ingredients to the mix.
Have you ever tried adding millet, popped amaranth, chia or flax seeds, and/or barley (kamut, spelt, or rye) flakes to your granola? How about tahini or other nut/seed butters?
Let’s dive into how to make this healthy organic homemade tahini granola recipe, shall we?
Gathering Your Ingredients:
Do you have a grocery/natural foods with a bulk foods aisle? The bulk foods section is ideal for gathering ingredients to make granola (among other things); just a little of this and that, or now that I reconsider, maybe not such a good thing, as I typically come home with much more than I initially planned.
Nonetheless, you can find all sorts of interesting ingredients in the bulk aisle of your grocery/natural foods store to elevate ordinary granola into something decidedly more flavorful.
Today’s batch of healthy organic homemade tahini granola recipe contains several traditional ingredients and a few unusual ones to mix things up a bit.
Spruce Up Your Healthy Organic Homemade Tahini Granola Recipe
Here are a few ingredients to help spruce up your homemade granola:
- Millet: Although often used as the main ingredient in bird seed, millet is not just, “for the birds.” Millet adds a really nice crunch to granola when baked in the oven.
- Popped Amaranth: A tiny “pseudo-grain” with a lot of character and a robust nutritional profile. You can pop the seeds in a hot pan (or wok) to bring out the amaranth’s inherent nuttiness. It’s fun to watch the seeds pop all over the place, turning from their natural brownish color to white, like little firecrackers. To avoid burning, make sure to pop the amaranth in small batches. Once the amaranth begins to pop, it just takes just seconds, and then the “fireworks” are over.
- Chia Seeds: Yes, chia, the same seeds used in chia pets; chia seeds are touted for their nutritional superiority (high in alpha-linolenic [omega-3] fatty acids and all that jazz).
- Barley Flakes: Or other flakes such as kamut, spelt, rye; similar in texture to rolled oats, but with more crunch.
- Tahini or other nut/seed butters: A nice addition to any granola; you could also use peanut, almond, or cashew butter. The seed/nut butter acts as a “glue” to help form large granola clusters.
- Honey: Look for raw (unpasteurized) honey at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Depending on what the bees are feeding on you can find all sorts of distinctly flavored kinds of honey, including blueberry, buckwheat, clover, and orange blossom — to name a few.
My favorite way to enjoy granola is with some thick, whole milk, Greek yogurt, seasonal fruit (strawberries would be perfect this time of year), and a little drizzle of honey on top.
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup barley (kamut, rye, or spelt) flakes
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (such as pecans, almonds)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup millet (or substitute ¼ cup popped amaranth)
- 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup neutral tasting olive oil or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality (preferably local, raw) honey
- 1/2 cup seed/nut butter (such as tahini or peanut butter)
- Dried fruit (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, millet, barley flakes, chia (or flax) seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Combine the oil, honey, and tahini (or peanut) butter in a small pot and mix well. Heat over low-medium heat, about 1 minute, stirring until just warmed through. Drizzle the mixture over the granola and mix well.
- Distribute the granola onto two baking sheets. Bake in the oven (upper and middle racks) for about 40 minutes, mixing the granola and rotating the trays every 10 to 15 minutes until the granola turns golden brown. Remove from the oven, mix in the dried fruit (if using), and spread out evenly, and allow to cool.
- Note: The key to forming large granola clusters is to allow the granola to cool completely before removing from the baking sheets. While still warm, gently press down on the granola (with the back of a baking sheet) to help it clump together.
Do you have a favorite way to make homemade granola?