Granola. Some people love it, others could do without it completely. In our kitchen, granola gets a lot of love. I make it so often that I rarely ever use a recipe – I just throw whatever I have into a bowl until it reaches the right consistency and bake away. I’ve come up with a solid formula that produces stellar results for a healthier version of what most would consider a “classic” granola. Recently, though, I was feeling inspired to change up my usual oat-based granola and put some new ingredients into the mix.
After perusing the shelves of the grocery store, I decided that I wanted my granola to include lentils for added protein, and buckwheat for the lovely, crunchy texture it lends. I was also on the search for a different sweetener. Dates? Yes, obviously. I eat them like they’ll be gone tomorrow, so why not add them to just one more part of my life? Alright. We’ve got lentils, buckwheat, and dates. How about some avocado? I think it’s a great idea, and there are 6 perfectly ripe avocados sitting on my counter. One of them can surely find a home in my new granola. Do you know what else I like? Chia seeds. Yes, I think I’ll put some chia seeds in my granola, too. And coconut. Just because.
That was my general thought process when it came to creating these crunchy lentil buckwheat granola clusters. Because, you know, the clusters are the best part. So why not make all of the granola into clusters. The crumbs at the bottom of the batch always go to waste.They just feel so measly compared to the hearty granola clusters full of just the right amount of every granola component.
You’ll love these crunchy clusters on their own right out of the bag (or off the hot baking sheet – be careful of those fingers!), in a bowl with some ice cold almond milk, sprinkled over a bowl of creamy banana soft serve (my favorite) or to top off your morning (or afternoon, or maybe even evening!) oatmeal.
- 2 cups raw buckwheat groats
- 1 1/2 cups red or green lentils, soaked*
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 medium avocado
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup packed pitted dates*
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon creamy sunflower seed butter*
- 1 cup mix-ins, optional*
- Prepare the lentils: Spread lentils on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, until crunchy. Set aside to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine buckwheat groats, prepared lentils, coconut flakes, and chia seeds.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine all remaining ingredients except mix-ins and process until smooth.
- Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir until completely coated.
- Spread onto prepared baking sheet, pressing down slightly, and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven, stir in mix-ins, if using, and let cool on pan at least 15 minutes before breaking into clusters.
*Soak lentils for 8 hours, then drain well. As an alternative to lentils, you may use crisp rice cereal as-is (no soaking or baking required). If your dates are not soft, soak them in warm water for 10-15 minutes. You may substitute any nut or seed butter for the sunflower seed butter. Pecans, chocolate chips, and dried cherries are all on my list of mix ins.
Are you a granola lover? Do you have a tried and true recipe, or do you prefer to experiment with your granola? I’m working on a pumpkin themed granola next. Stay tuned!
Also, what should I do with all these pipe cleaners?