Friday, November 22, 2013

Banana granola with raisins & walnuts

I haven't bought cereal in a while now, reaching instead for homemade granola with yogurt or milk and my morning coffee. I love the recipe I began making about a year ago, which gets its crunch from the addition of a whipped egg white (tip courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook). But recently we had a few very ripe bananas, and instead of baking a loaf of banana bread, I decided to mash one into our weekly granola. Best decision!
naturally sweetened banana granola
full of grains and protein = happy start to the day
The consistency of the banana, mixed with a little tahini, oil, and honey, resulted in a perfectly crunchy, clumped together granola, without the addition of a whipped egg white. I added raisins and chopped walnuts after baking the granola, which gave it just the right level of sweetness and crunch. Feel free to leave out the coconut if that's not your bag, and to use peanut or another nut butter instead of tahini (ground sesame seeds) if you'd like. I've also used coconut oil in place of the rice bran oil, which is delicious. The ground flaxseed and chia seeds, along with the oats, add plenty of protein and fibre-- this stuff will keep you full till lunchtime. 
oats, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, and coconut with banana, tahini, and honey
I'm also planning to try a sweet potato or pumpkin version of this granola later this month (just in time to cure any ex-pat Thanksgiving blues!)... I imagine a mashed sweet potato / pumpkin will offer a texture and sweetness similar to the banana in this recipe. I hope you enjoy this version as much as we did: the hubs has dubbed it the best granola yet.

Banana granola with raisins & walnuts
makes about 3 cups

1 large ripe banana (or 2 small bananas), mashed (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon oil (rice bran oil or coconut oil work well)
1 tablespoon tahini (or peanut butter, almond butter, etc)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground sea salt
3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup coursely chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the banana, oil, tahini, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well to combine. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir well so that everything is evenly coated in the banana mixture.

Spread the mixture evenly onto a large cookie sheet (or two medium sized cookie sheets). Bake at 150C / 300F for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden, taking the tray out halfway through the baking time to flip the granola over with a large spatula and stir it around a bit on the cookie sheet so that it bakes evenly. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool, then sprinkle the raisins and walnuts over the granola. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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