I admit that the thought of eating vegetable granola is a little bit disturbing in the beginning. At least I thought so when my boyfriend (who’s basically addicted to red beets) suggested adding beets to my breakfast granola. The thought of adding a great source of iron to my morning diet was actually kind of appealing so I started experimenting a little bit. And the result is divine – trust me you will love it.
Not only does it taste delicious, it also looks amazing because it is red! Since I added apple sauce to the recipe, the granola does not have the beet typical earthy (hence too healthy) flavor. The apple sauce combined with cinnamon and agave create a great mixture of different flavors in your mouth – and it totally overruns the beety taste.
– iron (important for healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen through your body)
– lauric acid (prevents heart diseases and lowers blood pressure)
– magnesium (important for a healthy nerve system, muscle health, energy production)
– mono-unsaturated fats (decreases risks for breast cancer, important for heart health)
– potassium (lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure)
– vitamin B1 (important for nerve health)
– vitamin B2 (needed to extract energy from carbohydrates, protein and fats)
– vitamin B3 (important for energy production and antioxidant protection)
– vitamin B5 (important for energy production; lowers cholesterol and blood pressure)
– zinc (important for growth, skin and a functioning immune system)
Besides being a great source of iron, this granola gives you everything you need to start your busy day. The pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, the nuts provide healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are considered the “good” kind of fats that help lower cholesterol. There is a debate about the health benefits of coconut oil as it is rich in saturated fats, which are actually considered “bad” for the body. Others argue however, that coconut is actually very beneficial for the heart because it contains 50% of lauric acid which is thought to prevent heart diseases and lower blood pressure. Since I indulge in anything that can help lower my blood-pressure I definitely prefer coconut oil over butter or vegetable oils.
The buckwheat is a great gluten-free alternative to regular oats, and it is loaded with magnesium and vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B5 and potassium that help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Interestingly, buckwheat is not a grain as commonly perceived, but actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb, which is why it is perfect for people who are sensitive to wheat.
– 1 medium beetroot (200g)
– 2 cups (160g) (gluten-free) oats
– ½ cup (85g) raw buckwheat
– ½ cup (60g) sunflower seeds
– ½ cup (60g) pumpkin seeds
– ½ cup (70g) raw unpeeled almonds (with skin)
– ½ cup (70g) pecans
– ½ cup (120g) apple sauce, unsweetened
– 2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
– 3 tbs agave
– 3 tsps cinnamon
You can add or leave out any ingredient that you do not like or cannot eat. If you’re allergic to nuts just leave them out and add flax seeds instead. You can get creative with the ingredients once you get familiar with the recipe.
Start by pre-heating the oven to 200°. Wrap the whole beet in tin foil (with the skin) and place it in the oven for about 60-75 minutes.
In the meantime, put the almonds and pecans into a food processor and crush for 2-3 pulses until they are broken into pieces. They should not be completely crushed, you still want to be able to identify them as nut pieces. Place the crushed nuts into a large bowl. Add all the dry ingredients except cinnamon, and stir well until the ingredients are combined.
After an hour or so, take the beet out of the oven. It’ll be done when you can easily put a knife through the skin. Peel it and put it into a strong blender or food-processor until you have a smooth beet puree. You might need to add some water or apple sauce if your blender isn’t strong enough.
Next, melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan. Add the agave, cinnamon, apple sauce and beet puree. Stir well until everything is combined.
Now pour the sweet beet mix over the dry ingredients and stir well. The mixture should be covered evenly and it should be slightly sticky.
Heat the oven to 170°. Pour your granola mix into a baking tray (you might want to spread some parchment paper over it) and bake for about 40 minutes. After 10 minutes or so, take the pan out and stir well so the outer edges do not get burned. Repeat this every 5-10 minutes for the rest of the time.
After 40 minutes, take out the tray and leave it to cool for about 20 minutes. By this time the granola should have a dark red color and your kitchen should smell divine.
Serve with milk, non-dairy milk, yoghurt or non-dairy yogurt, top with fruits. Stored in an air-tight container it should taste amazing for 3-4 weeks.