Let's talk granola, seeds and goji berries for a second, shall we? I know there are many recipes out there and it's no wonder why... it's pretty great and handy to have around. Have it as cold cereal, top it on hot oatmeal, non-dairy yogurts or non-dairy ice creams, or simply take some to-go in a small container...it's a great snack or meal that is filling, healthy and just plain good. It's so versatile too. You can pretty much add anything to your base and come out with something wonderful. That happens to be the case here. I have a ton of goji berries in my fridge along with pumpkin (pepitas) and sunflower seeds that needed to be put to good use. A few days ago I ran across this article from Wake Up World entitled, Five Healthy Seeds, which I had posted to the Facebook page. That planted the seed so to speak for this recipe. Seeds are great; especially for those who have nut allergies...they can be a nice alternative. Some of the best seeds in whole form are hemp, sunflower, chia, sesame and pumpkin seeds. Flax seeds are great too but unless they are ground you're not going to get their full benefits as they will pass straight through the body without much notice. As for the goji berries, well I love them because they don't have any added sweeteners like most dried fruits do (I also like raisins for this reason). They are full of anti-oxidants just as other berries like blueberries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries and cherries. Find out more about their nutritional profile from this article from Live Strong, Goji Berries Nutrition.
Granola is so easy to make. Start by mixing your dry ingredients. I happen to add my goji berries to the mix and baked it all together. It came out fine and the berries didn't dry up any more than they were already, but they did lose a little bit of brightness (usually you would add in your dried fruits after baking). This may not be the case for other dried fruits so if you do this with other fruits you may have different result. Feel free to mix in the goji berries straight after the granola is done if your more comfortable doing it that way. I happen to like all the good stuff stuck to the goji berries as well so this was my preferred way.
Then add in your wet ingredients and mix until coated...
Spread your granola on a large rimmed baking sheet, or two if needed. It will go faster if you can lay it out in a single layer but you can also use different sizes of bake ware, like a 9x9, 11x13, etc. It will just take a little longer to cook through if you do, approx an hour or so. (my aplologies for the above blurred shot...it's on my 're-do' list when I make my next batch.)
Once done, pull from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an air tight container of choice. So easy and so good!
Seeds & Goji Berry GranolaIngredients
- 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (I used GF)
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/3 cup goji berries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts or the entire seed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup pure maple syrup*
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (sunbutter), optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine all your dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. Add your maple syrup, sunbutter and vanilla. Mix until well coated.
On a greased (I used coconut oil), or ungreased, baking sheet (use two sheets if you like), add your granola, laying it flat and bake for about 30- 35 minutes, stirring the mixture every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking. If using two baking sheets, you may even like to switch their positions in the oven once after stirring. If using a smaller baking dish such as a 9x9 or 11x13, bake for up to 1 hour or so, or until golden throughout. Be sure to stir the mixture every 15 minutes or so.
Once done, remove from oven and let cool completely before storing in an air tight container of choice. Will keep up to one month.
* The more syrup you use the more likely you are to create larger granola chunks throughout. I only used 1/2 cup in mine and felt it was a nice texture with many clumps. It also was a perfect sweetness for my liking, not too sweet. Add additional syrup to your preferences.
Feel free to add 1/4 cup or so unsweetened shredded coconut to the dry mixture as well.