This post was created in partnership with Nuts.com.
Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, we thought we would share a festive breakfast/brunch-friendly granola recipe, prepared with extra care and love. There are millions of quick granola recipes out there – there’s stovetop granola and oven-baked granola, done in every flavor possible. In an effort to always keep things fresh and new, and not to repeat recipes that are already widely available, we thought we would share our favorite granola-making technique that isn’t as widespread: activated granola. It takes more time and planning, but is very worth it in our opinion, and perfect for showing some love to mom :)
Activation = germination, which is the beginning process of sprouting. When raw nuts and seeds are activated, they are soaked in water, which awakens the life within them and kickstarts the development of a sprout. Think of a seed falling from a plant into moist soil, being rained on, and then sprouting into a new mini copy of that plant. It’s the same deal with the nuts and seeds that we eat, since they are made by plants in order to continue spreading. Activated nuts and seeds carry all kinds of benefits, like being easier to digest and more bioavailable.
For this granola, we won’t be soaking the nuts and seeds long enough to see actual sprouts emerge, but we will bathe them enough to wake them up, or activate them. Because they are soaked, the nuts and seeds need to be dried in the oven at quite a low temperature for about 3 hours, which is where that aforementioned element of extra time and care comes in.
Activated granola also has a crunch that is far superior to regular granola. It’s still perfectly crispy, but feels incredibly light and airy, while regular granola can sometimes be so crunchy that it feels like rock candy. This airy texture alone is so worth the time. Another great thing about granola in general, is that it keeps well and can be jarred up and gifted, in case your mom likes snackable gifts.
We’ve been dreaming of making a worthwhile sweet and savory granola recipe for some time now, and this one really hit the spot. The sweet elements come from maple syrup, coconut butter and dried mango, while the savory ones are provided by miso, sesame oil, tamari, and nori (which is optional, if seaweed is not your thing). There’s of course a variety of nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes. It’s also grain-free, in case anyone is sensitive to grains, but you won’t miss them at all, we promise. It’s truly dreamy.
You can use any number of nuts and seeds for this recipe. We used pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds, along with three (!) kinds of walnuts from our amazing partner, Nuts.com. We knew that different types of walnuts existed, but we went this whole time thinking that they all generally the same. It wasn’t until we tried Nuts.com English walnuts, red walnuts, and black walnuts side by side, that we realized that they are all amazingly unique and different. English walnuts have that walnut flavor and look that most people associate with walnuts, while red walnuts have the most vibrant, red skin color (see the photo above). Black walnuts are a whole different story. We were seriously blown away by their flavor. They look like walnuts with darker skin, but they smell and taste like something entirely different. They are pungent and nutty, and have an incredible, minty undertone. Their shells are legendary for being really hard to crack (Nuts.com ones come already shelled), and they apparently contain more protein per ounce than any other tree nut! Have you tried them?
It’s so easy to get caught up on eating all the same foods from day to day, and it’s always amazing to be reminded of the wealth and variety of edible foods in the plant kingdom. It’s endlessly inspiring, and we are super grateful to Nuts.com for enabling us to try all of these amazing ingredients that they carry in their shop. If you haven’t heard of them, they are a family-owned online dry bulk goods store, which is basically heaven for anyone who loves to cook and snack. We love them. Check them out.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there!
P.S. If your mom likes cookbooks, our new one would make for a great gift :)
- 4½ cups of any mixed nuts and seeds (we used 2 cups mixed walnuts, 1 cup cashews, ½ cup pumpkin seeds, ½ cup sunflower seeds and ½ cup sesame seeds) - soaked for 12-24 hours in purified water
- 1-2 sheets of untoasted nori - shredded or cut into small triangles (optional)
- pinch of sea salt
- ⅓ cup coconut butter/manna (not oil)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ cup maple syrup or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons white/mild miso
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
- ½ cup dried mango or more to taste - sliced or torn into small chunks
- Preheat oven to 220° F (105° C).
- Drain and rinse the nuts and seeds (use a fine mesh strainer for rinsing, if using sesame seeds or any other fine seeds). Place the nuts/seeds on a clean kitchen towel to absorb as much moisture as possible.
- Place half of the nut/seed mixture into a food processor and pulse into very small pieces, almost into a meal. Scoop into a large bowl. Place the remaining half of the nut/seed mixture into the food processor and pulse a few times, just to chop the nuts into slightly smaller pieces. Take care not to over-process. Add them to the bowl along with the nori, if using, and a pinch of sea salt. Mix well.
- Combine the coconut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup in a heat-proof bowl or a small saucepan and melt on a double broiler, or on very low heat. Stir to combine and turn off the heat. Stir in the miso until smooth. Add the sesame oil and tamari and stir. The mixture should now resemble a caramel.
- Pour the 'caramel' over the nut mixture in the bowl and thoroughly stir to coat. Spread the mixture on 2 parchment paper-covered baking trays into an even, unified layer on each sheet. Bake for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and carefully flip the granola in sections, taking care to preserve as big of chunks as possible. Rotate the trays and bake for another 1½ hours.
- Flip the granola one more time, add the coconut flakes, if using, rotate the trays and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and assess for dryness. If the granola is not completely dry yet, place it back in the oven and turn the heat off. Leave the granola in the oven until cool.
- Once ready, mix in the dried mango. Keep in air-tight containers. Enjoy as a snack on its own, with plant milk, or crumbled on top of yogurt.