Ping’s Super-Crunchy Super Granola

Super-seedy means super-crunchy!

At lunch, presiding over a mountain of plump and juicy shrimp & yellow leek dumplings, my good friend Ping was telling me about her “paleo” diet, whereby she eats a fairly restricted diet of lean proteins, healthy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes. No refined sugars or flours. Based on her description, it’s a pretty solid approach to healthy eating, although (she admitted) it was pretty ironic we were discussing it over a gluten-laden early lunch at 101 Noodle Express, an amazing SGV outlet for Shanghainese beef rolls, crab dumplings, cold soy-poached chicken, and hand-made noodles in spicy beef broth. But our Ping knows her shit; that is, her food knowledge is broad and impressive and so, when she mentioned her diet, I pricked up my ears.

Now I love granola. If you know me at all you know I’m not a huge fan of cereal. No Captain Crunch fanatic am I; breakfast-wise I’m a sausage-and-over-easy man of the old school. But I LOVE grains — I do like oatmeal, I do like flax, I adore quinoa, although saying such a thing could probably get a man killed in less-populated regions of Mississippi. So when Ping mentioned her “paleo” granola, I knew I had to make it. It’s my kind of thing. Heck, it’s not even the granola itself, but the making of the granola. I’m a man who needs his projects.

It looks good already!

Ping described the granola in pretty specific terms, although without measurements — oatmeal (I assumed rolled oats), flax seeds, chia seeds, pepitas (shucked pumpkin seeds), quinoa (preferably red), any kind of dried fruit, any kind of nuts, and then tossed with maple syrup, coconut oil, and maybe honey if you prefer it sweeter. It all sounded perfectly delicious to me. And it all sounded very healthy.

The list of ingredients is like a who’s who of super-foods.

  • Oatmeal: Helps to lower cholesterol. High in fiber and protein.
  • Flax seeds: Reduces cholesterol. Helps reduce colon-cancer risk. Etc.
  • Chia seeds: Loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids. Makes cute potted plant animals.
  • Pepitas: Rich in minerals. Inflammation reduction. Reduces cholesterol.
  • Quinoa: High in magnesium. High is fiber. Rich in antioxidants.
  • Coconut Oil: Aids in digestion. Bolsters immune system.
And that’s all before adding healthy dried fruits or nuts!
When Ping asked if I wanted the recipe, I was extremely glib. Yeah, don’t bother. It’s no problem, I can make it. Which is true, since I’ve made all kinds of granola before. On the way home from lunch Regina and I (and baby Vivian) stopped off at Sprouts Market to pick up the necessaries from the bulk bins. Rolled oats and all the grains. Coconut oil and maple syrup.
When I got home I realized I was perhaps a bit dismissive of Ping’s recipe offer. Maybe the recipe would be helpful? Specifically what was the ratio of dry ingredients to wet ingredients? I texted my friend.
Ping didn’t respond right away so I just jumped in and made the granola as I saw fit. Below is my recipe, improvised on the spot. Just as I got my batch in the oven, Ping texted me her recipe, which I’ve posted as well. There are some differences, but I’m sure hers tastes as good as mine. The batch I made was freakin’ delicious!

I prefer my coconut oil virginal.

Ping’s Super-Crunchy Super Granola (My Version):

  • 4 cups rolls oats
  • 1 cup flax seeds
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup red quinoa
  • 2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • 2 cups dried blueberries
  • 20 medium dried apricots, diced
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup local honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine all the grains, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in a big bowl. In a small pot melt the coconut oil and whisk in the maple syrup, honey, vanilla, and dried spices. Spoon the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and toss with a big mixing spoon to get it all well coated.
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and spread out the uncooked granola.
Bake in a preheated 250º for about ninety minutes or until the granola has nicely browned. Allow the granola to cool on the sheet pans until it comes to room temperature and then remove to store in an airtight container. Keep in mind that the granola, although browned, may still appear wet and loose when you take it out of the oven. It will harden as it cools.
Now this is a huge batch of granola, yielding nearly 15 cups. You may wish to cut all the quantities in half for a more manageable yield. I gave away half this batch to a health-conscious friend, who pronounced it excellent!

And I prefer my honey local.

A note on honey. I like to use local honey if I can find it. I feel it’s important to support local purveyors for one thing, and I’ve read that eating local honey can help reduce allergies to local flora. That rule might apply only to raw honey, which this was not. But I like to make the effort, nonetheless.

Raw granola seconds before the bake.

Ping’s Super-Crunchy Super Granola (Original Version):

  • 2 cups dry oats
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablsepoons flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid form)
  • 1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips (optional)
Mix all the dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a big bowl. Mix the liquid separately  and then combine with the dry ingredients. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 225º F for one hour.
Allow it to cool and then mix in the chocolate chips. Viola! Yummy granola!

Golden, toasty, tasty, crazy-good: Ping’s super-crunchy, super granola.

I hope you try either version. Both are very healthy and very tasty!

Get your grains going on!

3 thoughts on “Ping’s Super-Crunchy Super Granola

  1. Pingback: Raw Super-Crunch Granola Bars! | OMNIVOROUS

  2. Well, you should do it!

    And use WordPress as your platform. I used to be on Blogger but I found WordPress more versatile and my blog traffic increased after I switched. When you create your blog start simply — start with a basic template and add widgets gradually until you figure out what you want to say and how you want to reach people; if you’re not super-savvy with computers get help from someone who is.

    Get people to read your blog. You want to link all your posts automatically with Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn. Anything you can do to drive people to your blog is good. If you get on WordPress get on the Reader and follow a bunch of other blogs that you like; it’s a surefire way to network and expand your audience. People who write blogs tend to also read blogs and share other people’s posts. I don’t have a huge audience, but I have a dedicated group of followers. And I’m having a fun time doing it. I just wish I had more time to write!

    Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect at first. My blog has changed and grown over the last couple of years as I’ve improved my writing style and found out what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it. It’s going to be kind of demoralizing at first when you start posting and NOBODY is reading your shit! But take heart and keep at it.

    Good luck!

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