I’ve never been a big cereal fan. I grew up eating it – everything from corn flakes to Cheerios to raisin bran – but if given a choice, I’d rather have something else. (A frittata, pancakes, muffins, smoothies, or maybe all of those things!) However, I make an exception when it comes to granola. In my mind, granola is not the same thing as cereal.
Especially when granola doesn’t mean oats. I like oats (the gluten-free ones, of course), but I really can’t tolerate them much. So I substitute. Who said granola had to mean “made with oats” anyway? I hereby declare the definition of granola to mean “any combination of dried fruit and crunchy yummy healthy stuff, commonly served for breakfast or as a snack.” Sound good? Okay. Let’s move on.
This granola is packed with nutrition, as it is nearly raw and made with sprouted buckwheat. Sprouting increases the digestability of grains, nuts and seeds, and if you’re like me, you could use all the digestive help you can get. Besides, sprouting buckwheat is super-easy, and once dehydrated into granola, it’s light and crisp and delicious. What’s not to love?
Yes, I said sprouting buckwheat is super-easy. Because it is. I am a newbie when it comes to sprouting anything. In fact, the idea kind of scared me – I was worried I’d kill my sprouts or otherwise screw it up. Needless to say, my fears were unwarranted, as buckwheat is one of the easiest things to sprout, and it’s a relatively quick process.
To sprout buckwheat: Start with some raw buckwheat groats. I buy mine in bulk from Amazon, as I use the groats quite frequently to make granola like this as well as grinding them into flour. (Raw buckwheat, ground into flour, is much milder in taste than the traditional store-bought buckwheat flour, which has a strong flavor that is disliked by some.)
Place those groats in a colander with holes small enough to not allow the groats to fall through. Rinse the buckwheat, and then place in a bowl or container and cover with at least 2-3 inches of water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Drain the groats into a colander and rinse thoroughly. Place colander over a large bowl (or something to catch the water as it drips off). Cover with a cotton towel and allow to sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Rinse again and allow to sit for 4-6 more hours. Do this every 4-6 hours for about 24 hours, or until you see little tails sprouting out of your buckwheat.
(By the way, I successfully sprouted my buckwheat even though I didn’t rinse every 4-6 hours, which is what is recommended. I would rinse it right before I left for work, and again as soon as I got home – and that was more like 10 hours. It still worked like a charm. So if you can’t be home in time to rinse, don’t stress. In my experience, you can push the envelope a bit.)
Buckwheat sprouts – see the little tails? (forgive the quality, this is an iPhone photo!)
Once your buckwheat is sprouted, then you can use it in your granola recipe. This recipe is more of a guideline. I can see endless variations just by substituting the dried fruits, using other fruit purees in place of applesauce, or even adding nuts in place of the sunflower seeds. The sky is the limit on this one. I loved the basic, familiar flavors of cinnamon and raisin, and both ingredients supply ample sweetness, making it easier to keep the amount of added sweetener down. The end result is crisp, crunchy granola that’s tasty as a snack, but in my opinion, even better in your favorite non-dairy milk.
Sprouted Buckwheat Granola with Cinnamon and Raisins (gluten-free, dairy-free, optionally vegan, nut-free, soy-free)
2 c raw buckwheat groats, sprouted according to the directions above
1 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c chia seeds
3/4 c raisins
1/2 c dried apricots or dates, chopped
1 T cinnamon
scant 1/2 t kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/4 c honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
In a large bowl, gently toss all of the ingredients together until well-mixed. Spread granola out onto two Teflex-lined dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 110 degrees for about 10 hours or until granola is crisp. Store in air-tight containers.
(No dehydrator? While I haven’t tried it, I imagine this granola would do well at the lowest temperature in your oven. Just spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on the lowest setting (mine goes down to 170). I imagine it will dry out more quickly, so you might check it in 4-5 hours and see how crisp it is.)
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.