Maple, Hazelnut and Amaranth Granola
Here’s a super tasty, delightfully crunchy, and exceptionally nutritious granola to start off the day. One more selling point: amaranth, an ancient, gluten-free grain, will keep you feeling satisfied much longer than other cereals. I like to fill a bowl with fresh fruit (berries and peaches in summer, apples or bananas in winter), milk, soy milk, kefir, or yogurt and about ⅓ cup of this granola. And when I need a quick pick-me-up, like right now, I eat a big spoonful of the granola directly from its container.
Roasting amaranth with hazelnuts and maple syrup delivers an irresistible mix of buttery, caramelly, toasty and malty flavors. Steve, who doesn’t like me to mess with his breakfast, immediately replaced our usual granola with this one. He now points out (gently) when it is running low, in hopes I’ll make a new batch soon.
This recipe came about after my dietician friend Melinda Dennis asked me to speak at her upcoming gluten-free retreat, with a request that I introduce the attendees to amaranth. Amaranth is a good addition to any healthful diet, with its abundance of very high quality protein. It’s also loaded with vitamins and minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are essential for bone health.
You can find amaranth at Whole Foods Markets or order it from Bob’s Red Mill. Once you have a bag of these tiny grains, try toasting 2 tablespoons at a time in a hot pan very briefly (about 20 seconds), and then keep on hand to add instant crunch to salads and soups, or cookie, bread and muffin batters.
I particularly like hazelnuts in this recipe, but use any nut you like. Serve this with fresh fruit and milk, soy milk, kefir or yogurt. If you follow a gluten-free diet, choose oats and amaranth that are labeled gluten-free.
Makes about 8 cups
5 cups (1 pound) rolled oats
1 to 1½ cups untoasted hazelnuts (or other nuts), coarsely chopped
½ cup whole grain amaranth
⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
⅓ cup dark maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine the oats, nuts, amaranth, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and mix to blend. Add the oil and maple syrup and mix to coat the dry ingredients evenly.
Spread the granola out in a large baking sheet (no need to grease the pan). Bake until golden brown and the kitchen is perfumed with the inviting aroma of toasting ingredients, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Transfer the granola to a covered container. If a little sticks to the pan, free with a metal spatula and add to the container. The granola will remain fresh for about a week.