I’ve discovered that buckwheat really comes into its own in granola – I can’t get enough of it! I’ve teamed the little crunchy nibs with a moreish mix of dates, almond butter, banana and cinnamon; the toffee vibe is accentuated with a pinch of salt. If you like your granola a little sweeter, you can always add a bit of maple/agave syrup or honey. I used super food powders maca – famed for boosting energy and endurance – and lucuma, also from South America. Lucuma contains an abundance of trace minerals that can help promote healthy tissue (healing) and bone growth and is increasingly used as a sweetener without raising blood sugar.
For a grain (or a pseudo grain), buckwheat is relatively high in protein so useful for vegetarians and vegans, plus studies suggest it can help lower and stabilise blood sugar after eating, which is key to avoiding diabetes.It is also a good source of magnesium.
When choosing buckwheat for granola, make sure you get the unroasted kind. This is termed as ‘groats’ rather than ‘kasha’ which is the roasted variety, often used in risotto type dishes. With regards to the buckwheat/porridge oat combination I’ve suggested below, I used 150g of buckwheat groats and the rest porridge oats. I’ll use more buckwheat next time as it was so delicious. Texture wise, you could leave out the nuts if you wish as the buckwheat – along with the seeds – provides plenty of crunch.
You will need a large baking tray(s) lined with greaseproof paper.
Ingredients (serves about 6)
225g buckwheat/porridge oats
5 Medjool dates
50g almond butter
1 large banana
50-75g nuts – pecans are great
30-50g sunflower seeds
30-50g pumpkin seeds
50g-75g dried fruit (optional)
Pinch of seasalt
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tbsp maca powder (optional)
1 tbsp lucuma powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 150 (fan)/170 (conventional)
- Stone and soak the Medjool dates in hot water for about 15 minutes.
- Break up the nuts into chunks, either using your food processor or put into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin/other heavy object.
- Lightly toast the buckwheat and oats in a dry saucepan for a few minutes, stirring constantly to stop them burning. Tip into a large bowl and stir in the nuts, seeds, cinnamon, dried fruit and super food powders if using.
- Blitz up the dates with a tablespoon of their soaking water. Add the banana and blend again. Melt the almond butter and then scrape into the mix, along with a pinch of salt; blend continuously to a smooth paste.
- Empty the contents of the blender into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix everything. Using your hands makes it a lot easier! Transfer this mixture onto a baking tray(s) lined with greaseproof paper. Try and spread it as thinly as possible – you may need a couple of baking trays.
- Pop the trays of granola into the oven to cook for about 30-40 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, give the granola a shake, turning it over and breaking up any clumps. Repeat this regularly, say after 10 minutes, to ensure that it cooks and dries out evenly. A bit of residual moisture is fine at the end of the cooking time as it will dry out further. Let the granola cool and then store in an airtight jar for up to a week.