As a kid, I always thought of granola as the crème de la crème of cereal—something only very health conscious folks would dare to serve up at breakfast time. I really enjoyed it, honestly preferring it to the sweeter “staple” cereals of my childhood like Apple Jacks® or Cookie Crisp® (yep, I ate a lot of crap cereal as a kid of the late eighties/early nineties). Looking back, it’s no wonder I loved granola, as most of the brands that were available at the time were easily as packed full of sugar/corn syrup/filler as the candy coated breakfast cereals–just with more added dried fruit and nuts.
Once I gained a little more knowledge about food, say around 14 years old or so, I became somewhat of a “granola snob”—gravitating toward the more wholesome brands at the local health food store and eventually went on to making my own. I relished my homemade granola for years, and it provided me with easy morningtime nourishment and effortless snack food throughout my college career and beyond. Until one day, not too long after I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I discovered I also had an intolerance to oats. Even the “certified gluten-free” kind does major damage on my belly/neurons. Bah.
No more granola for me.
Or so I thought. I had been making granola with oats for years and considered it to be a staple in my life. Naturally, I was quite upset by the revelation that I also had to avoid oats on top of gluten. I sulked for quite some time over my loss, until one day I realized how silly I was being. Just because I had to live without oats, didn’t mean I had to live without granola. I merely had to utilize my other favorite breakfast grain, buckwheat, to create something just as tasty. Perfect for those who love granola, but can’t tolerate oats; buckwheat groats make the absolute perfect crunchy, munchy, base for a hearty start to your day. Add in a touch of sweetener, a little binder, and your back in granola business.
Maple Nut Granola (Oat-Free)
Preheat your oven to 300 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the groats into a medium sized bowl and add just enough water to cover. Let rest about 45 minutes, or until most of the water has been absorbed. Drain any excess by tossing into a strainer. Place the groats into a larger bowl and toss with the rest of the ingredients until well combined, but do not overmix.
Spread gently onto the parchment lined paper in a layer about 1/4 inch thick. Bake for 60 minutes, break into smaller chunks (or cut into bars), gently flip over and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until fragrant and crunchy. Let cool completely before serving.
Toss into a bowl along with some berries or cacao nibs and top with unsweetened almond milk for a hearty and healthy start to your day.
Yield: 2 1/2 cups granola