Chocolate & Blood Orange Nutty Granola
Before we kiss goodbye to blood oranges for yet another year, I wanted to honour their deliciousness with one last post! And in my eyes, there is no better flavour combination than chocolate + orange, so this healthy granola is an absolute win win! My kids (like all kids I would imagine) have the sweetest of teeth and would happily eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they could. So this is a sneaky way of getting in a ton of plant-based protein, loads of fibre and some complex carbs for longer lasting energy; all under the guise of having chocolate for breakfast! It is a great way to start the day for kids and adults alike, although this batch doesn’t last particularly long in this house!
I also made this because I am off to New York next week for a girls trip which on one hand, I am ridiculously excited about. But on the other guilt-ridden hand, I feel so awful about leaving the kids (and to a lesser extent, the hubby!), that I am trying to fill the house with food they will love to keep them going for the week. And this is a good’un because it lasts for ages, and is a super speedy yet nutritious breakfast option for all of the family to enjoy (without me, sob!).
I always mix up what kind of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit I use. That way, I don’t bored and it gives us a greater nutritional variety. For example - in the base, I normally to switch between using regular wholegrain oats, buckwheat flakes and quinoa flakes; but this time I used rye flakes as they are very high in fibre and have a low GI. With the nuts and seeds, I tend to rotate between flaked almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds and buckwheat groats. There are so many to choose from, and they all work brilliantly, so it really just depends on what you have lurking in the back of your kitchen cupboards. And for the dried fruit, I swap between raisins, cranberries, goji berries, mulberries, chopped dried apricots and dried figs. It is also nice to change up the flavours too, so I sometimes use turmeric, ground ginger or cinnamon, as well as this delicious chocolate version too.
The other nice thing about making granola, is there really is no need to obsess about exact quantities – it’s more of a generous sprinkle of nuts here and a handful of seeds there. I used loads of different types of nuts and seeds in this recipe but it can be majorly simplified by just using a couple of each instead. One portion provides 335 calories, 11g of plant based protein, 7g of fibre and only 5g of sugar. Those macros are just incomparable to anything you could ever buy in the shops. And it’s the high protein and fibre content that actually helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, especially in comparison to shop-bought breakfast cereals.
So all in all, it is a pretty great way to start the day! It also works brilliantly as a mid-afternoon snack sprinkled on top of some yogurt or a chia pudding for a mid-afternoon pick me up.
NOTE – I have been experimenting with various so-called healthier sugar alternatives and in doing so my quest has lead me to use Yacon Syrup. Yacon syrup is extracted from the roots of the Yacon plant. It has a low glycemic index and is much lower in calories than traditional sugar, which makes it a great choice for diabetics or those looking to cut down on their sugar consumption in general. It contains something called fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which acts as a prebiotic that supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. I'm fairly new to using it, so if any of you have any experience with it (good or bad!) then please let me know!
· 350g Oats – I used Rye Flakes
· 75g Pumpkin Seeds
· 75g Sunflower Seeds
· 75g Blanched Hazelnuts
· 50g Flaked Almonds
· 50g Coconut Oil
· 3 tbsp Yacon Syrup (or Maple Syrup) – or more if you want sweeter
· Juice & Zest of 1 Blood Orange (approximately 70ml)
· 30g Hemp Seeds
· 30g Sesame Seeds
· 30g Milled Flaxseed (I used Linwoods)
· 25g Chocolate Protein Powder or Raw Cacao (I used “That Proetin” Brown Rice Protein With Cacao)
· 45g Dried Goji Berries
· Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
· Mix together all of the rye flakes (or oats), nuts and seeds and distribute evenly between 2 roasting dishes.
· In a small saucepan, add the orange juice and zest, syrup, coconut oil, and chocolate powder; and heat for 5 minutes.
· Spoon by spoon, pour the liquid over the nutty rye mixture, and combine well, making sure that it is all coated.
· Cook in the oven for half an hour or until brown and nicely toasted, mixing frequently to prevent burning and to create an even colour.
· Once cooled, add the goji berries and store in a large airtight container.
· Will keep for 3 weeks.
Calories – 335
Protein – 11g
Fat – 20g
Carbohydrates – 30g
Fibre – 7g
Vitamin A – 18%
Iron – 14%