Posting a paleo recipe on what is generally a plant-based blog? That’s right folks! Gird your loins – we’re about to break free from some labels.
Seriously, though. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Paleo eating and I think there is a lot about Paleo to admire and adopt. Based on my (albeit beginners) understanding, Paleo is all about real, whole foods, minimal/no sugar, no additives or processing, low-starch vegetables, no gluten – or for that matter – no grains or flours, and no dairy.
Putting aside your feelings about the consumption of animal products, which is most certainly part of a Paleo diet, you have to admit this way of eating removes most of the major allergens – dairy, gluten, and soy – and for some people, that could be just the ticket back to optimum health.
Plus, one of the best things to adopt from Paleo, I think, is the emphasis on real foods – foods that come from nature, and are unrefined and unprocessed. These foods are generally highest in beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants. Paleo encourages people to think creatively about where a whole food can be used instead of processed food.
Paleo also is really good about promoting the health benefits of nuts and seeds, while also acknowledging that these plant-based foods benefit from some tweaks to make them optimally digestible by the human body. Nuts and seeds contains phytates (so does soy, for that matter), and the concern is that these compounds might bind to essential nutrients and prevent their absorption, effectively rendering the iron/zinc/magnesium/etc. content of your nuts useless to you. Soaking is one of the methods that helps reduce phytate content. Roasting also helps. So does sprouting.
So, this granola is the double whammy – soaking then roasting. It’s a phytate buster. And it smells DIVINE while it’s in the oven.
Now, full disclosure: because the nuts are soaked first, I would say they are more chewy than crunchy. The coconut, on the other hand, is very crunchy. Nevertheless, if soaking isn’t at all your thing, you don’t believe in phytates, or you only like crunchy nuts in your granola, skip the soaking step.
This Paleo granola recipe is from a cookbook I picked up at the library called “The Part-Time Paleo Cookbook.” I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe – I reduced the amount of sweetener and oil, and doubled the coconut, for extra chew. and fibre. I also soaked the nuts, and of course, I couldn’t resist adding some cinnamon.
I invite you to dabble a little in the Paleo world with this granola! And remember: unabashedly pick and choose from any dietary plan, no matter the name, and figure out what works best for you. That’s more important than eating according to a label.
Plant-Based Paleo Granola with Figs & Honey
- Author: The Part-Time Paleo Cookbook, with tweaks by Eat Well, Live Vibrantly
- Recipe Notes: grain-free, soy-free, naturally-sweetened, high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats.
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 3-4 dried figs, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons raw honey (or if you prefer, maple syrup)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Soak almonds and cashews in filtered water for 4 hours or overnight.
- When ready to proceed with ready, preheat oven to 300F.
- Thoroughly drain water from nuts, and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
- In a large bowl, combine nuts with coconut, figs, orange juice, coconut oil, raw honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and stir in dried cranberries.
- Let cool and store in an airtight container. Serve over coconut yogurt or with some almond milk!
© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly