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There have been a number of times in my life when my health has given me what I needed and not what I wanted. Although often frustrating or even devastating, the end result has always been for the better. Getting diagnosed with gluten and casein intolerance nearly five years ago was a huge blow, but it’s been a blessing in many ways. Not only do I feel stronger and more vital, but also I’ve become more sensitive to other people's dietary needs. A friend, who’s in the process of figuring out what foods work best for her body, recently introduced me to grain-free granola. I thought, I can make that! And so after a number of test-batches, here it is. The only problem … I can’t stop eating it. It’s pretty decadent. It makes a wonderful breakfast with fresh blueberries and homemade almond milk (or yogurt, milk, or other milk alternative), but also it’s rich enough to be eaten like a cookie or granola bar. Enjoy!

Notes: Do not use store-bought flax meal. You will get more nutrients from grinding your own. Plus, pre-ground flax can go rancid quickly.

Makes 6-8 servings

3 tablespoons flax seeds
½ cup raw walnuts
½ cup raw pecans
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup sliced raw almonds
¾ cup almond meal
¼ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
¼ cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 150ºC.

Put the flax seeds in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are a fine meal (flour), about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the food processor and put in a large bowl (The bowl should be large enough for all of the granola ingredients as you will eventually mix everything together in it). Put the walnuts and pecans in the food processor and pulse to chop the nuts into pea-size pieces. Remove and add to the bowl with the flax meal. Put the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in the food processor and pulse to chop into small pieces. Remove and add to the bowl with the nuts and flax. Add the sliced almonds, almond meal, coconut, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Wipe out the food processor and fill it with the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Process until creamy and syrupy, about a minute. Pour into the bowl with the nuts and seeds and stir until fully combined. Spread the mixture evenly onto a large baking sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes. Halfway through, use a metal spatula to turn the granola so it browns evenly. Do not stir. Instead, flip it like a pancake. This will help keep the clusters together. After approximately 25 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on the pan. It will become crisper and firmer as it cools so don’t despair if it seems a bit soft when you remove it from the oven. Once cool, toss with the cranberries (if using), and store in an air-tight container.

Meadow Linn is a chef and health and vitality coach who’s been passionate about good food since she was old enough to crawl into the cupboards. She is the founder of The Mystic Chef® training and the co-author of The Mystic Cookbook. www.MeadowLinn.com