A healthy, raw granola recipe that's soaked and doesn't end up rock hard? Yes, that's exactly what we're sharing with you today! With endless flavor options, this easy homemade granola makes a fantastic breakfast, snack, or even dessert!
What Makes This Recipe Healthy?
I wanted a granola recipe that combined the benefits of soaked oats (or any other flaked grain, if oats are off your list) and soaked nuts.
Soaking the grains neutralizes phytic acid, a mineral absorption blocker. This makes the granola easier to digest and a better option for those with stomach sensitivities.
Furthermore, the oats and nuts contain heart-healthy nutrients and are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Just a single half-cup serving contains manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, vitamins B1, B3, B5, and B6, calcium, and potassium.
Why Soak The Oats, Nuts & Seeds
Soaking the nuts starts the process of germination and de-activating enzyme inhibitors. Raw granola that is soaked is a highly nutritious and a great source of digestive enzymes!
Just like many grains, raw nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors.
While these have an important role to play in the life of a plant, enzyme inhibitors, such as phytic acid, can act as an anti-nutrient to humans. They are considered anti-nutrients because of their ability to impact the absorption of other nutrients (source).
Besides impacting the absorption of other nutrients, enzyme inhibitors make nuts more difficult to digest.
There are many ways to go about this, with varying degrees of complexity. My goal was to make this homemade granola recipe as simple as possible.
I aimed to start all ingredients soaking at the same time; and not to call for already soaked ingredients, just in case they aren't on hand.
I also aimed to make it flexible to the pantry, using what you have on hand.
At the same time, I chose many ingredients that I knew to be rich in digestive enzymes, making this a hearty breakfast or snack that will help digest itself and any other foods you serve at the same time. We love it in milk kefir!
You can get as fancy or as basic as your taste buds prefer for your oats mixture. For this recipe, we start with the following base ingredients (see mix-in options below):
- Raw Nuts
- Dates (figs or raisins will work as well)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (make your own homemade raw apple cider vinegar!)
Mix-In Oatmeal Options
- Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, cardamom, ginger, salt, etc.)
- Extracts (vanilla, almond, orange, etc.)
- Dried fruit (raisins, mango, apples, cherries, dried cranberries, etc.)
- Unsweetened shredded coconut
- Nuts (slivered almonds, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.)
- Seeds (pumpkin, sesame, chia, sunflower seeds, etc.)
- Chocolate chips
Raw Granola Variations
In an attempt to make a completely sugar-free recipe (remember, we're going for a HEALTHY granola recipe!), we're using naturally sweetened soaked and pureed dates. However, you can substitute the dates with maple syrup, raw honey, brown sugar (like Fapadura), or another sweetener of choice if you prefer.
The above spices give this oatmeal a delicious pumpkin spice flavor. You can leave out the spices altogether, mix and match, and substitute the vanilla extract with almond extract or any other extract you desire.
- Apple Pie: A delicious combination is to use cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, then add in dehydrated apples for a yummy apple pie granola.
- Chocolate Chip: Omit the nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom. Add in mini chocolate chips once the granola has cooled completely.
- Tropical: Omit the nutmeg and cardamom. Add in coconut flakes, dried mango, dried pineapple, and banana chips once the granola has cooled completely.
- Cherry Almond: Omit the spices and sub almond extract for the vanilla. Mix in dried cherries once the granola has cooled completely.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to flavor options. Experiment with the spices and extracts until you find what your family loves most!
(Be sure to share your experiments with us in the comments!).
If you need an oat-free granola option, try our Paleo chocolate granola recipe.
When I first started making this recipe, I would end up with really hard chunks of granola that were very difficult to chew and would actually end up making my jaw sore by the time I was done eating. Even the most healthy granola recipe isn't worth that!
After some trial and error, I figured out how to soak the oats so they end up crunchy, but they don't clump together in large, rock-hard clumps.
Check out my full tutorial on soaking and dehydrating oats.
Chunky Granola Tips
After you've soaked and dehydrated your granola, take care not to crumble the oat pieces up too small. They should crumble very easily (if you followed the tutorial above), so it's always best to leave larger chunks and crumble them further, if desired, in their individual servings.
How To Serve Granola
If cereal is what you're after, fill a small bowl with granola and top it with raw milk… or homemade chocolate almond milk if you want to be extra special!
It's also perfect tossed in a ziptop baggie for a quick snack if we're out and about! My grandson loves it and it would make a fantastic addition to these quick and easy healthy school lunches.
How To Make This Raw, Soaked Granola Recipe
Soak Nuts And Seeds
1. Put the nuts and seeds in a medium-sized bowl along with about 5 cups of warm water (to cover generously).
2. Cover with a towel and let soak overnight in a warm place, 8 to 12 hours.
Soak Dried Fruit
3. Put the date pieces in a small bowl along with 1-1/2 cups of water. You may also use fig pieces or raisins, both excellent sources of digestive enzymes.
4. Cover with a plate or towel and let soak overnight for 8 to 12 hours.
6. Cover with a plate or towel and let soak overnight in a warm place, 8 to 12 hours.
7. When the soaking time is complete, drain the nuts and seeds, discarding the water.
8. Coarsely chop with a food chopper or food processor.
9. Put in a large mixing bowl.
10. Blend the dates, their soaking water, and all spices and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.
11. Add this paste to the large bowl with the nuts and seeds.
12. Being as gentle as possible and without agitating the oats, drain and rinse the oats in a fine colander or sieve. (The drier you can get them, the quicker the dehydrating will go.)
13. Add them to the big bowl with the date paste, nuts, and seeds.
14. Toss gently to mix well.
15. Spread thinly (1/4-inch or less) on dehydrator trays that are covered with unbleached parchment paper, plastic liners, or in the case of an Excalibur dehydrator, the ParaFlexx liners. This amount of granola fills almost 5 trays of my Excalibur 9-tray dehydrator.
16. Dehydrate at less than 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 24 hours.
17. With the Excalibur dehydrator, you can start out dehydrating at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 2 hours, which will kickstart the dehydrating but not make the internal temperature of the granola go over 118 degrees (the temperature at which enzymes die).
18. When done, remove from the dehydrator and place it in a big bowl.
19. Break up the sheets into bite-sized chunks gently with your hands.
20. Store at room temperature in an airtight container (or freeze for long-term storage).
Raw Soaked Granola
A healthy, raw granola recipe that's soaked and doesn't end up rock hard? Yes! With endless flavor options, this easy homemade granola makes a fantastic breakfast, snack, or even dessert!
Nuts & Seeds
- 3 cups raw nuts and seeds, assorted*
- 5 cups pure water warm
- 1-1/2 cups dates flour-free, pieces or pitted whole dates, chopped (or raisins or fig pieces)
- 1-1/2 cups pure water
- 8 cups rolled oats gluten-free if necessary (or other flaked grain such as spelt -- not gluten-free)
- 6 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or Kombucha, kefir, or yogurt
- 8 cups pure water warm
- 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- dried fruit assorted, optional
Soak Nuts & Seeds
Put the nuts and seeds in a medium-sized bowl along with about 5 cups of warm water (to cover generously).
Cover with a towel and let soak overnight in a warm place, 8 to 12 hours.
Soak Dried Fruit
Put the date pieces in a small bowl, along with 1-1/2 cups of water. You may also use fig pieces or raisins.
Cover with a plate or towel and let soak overnight, 8 to 12 hours.
Put the rolled oats in a large bowl, along with 8 cups of warm water and the apple cider vinegar (or Kombucha, yogurt, or kefir).
Cover with a plate or towel and let soak overnight in a warm place, 8 to 12 hours.
When the soaking time is complete, drain the nuts and seeds, discarding the water.
Coarsely chop with food chopper or food processor.
Put in a large mixing bowl.
Blend the dates, their soaking water, and all spices and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Add this paste to the large bowl with the nuts and seeds.
Drain and rinse the oats in a fine colander or sieve. The drier you can get them, the quicker the dehydrating will go.
Add them to the big bowl with the date paste, nuts and seeds.
Toss gently to mix well.
Dehydrate at less than 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 to 24 hours.
With the Excalibur dehydrator, you can start out dehydrating at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 2 hours, which will kickstart the dehydrating but not make the internal temperature of the granola go over 118 degrees (the temperature at which enzymes die).
About halfway through the dehydrating time, check to see if the granola peels easily off the paper or plastic lined trays.
If it is does this without much stickiness, turn it all over. It is easiest to keep it in big sheets, if possible.
Continue dehydrating until the granola is dried out to your preference.
When done, remove from dehydrator and place in a big bowl.
Break up the sheets into bite-sized chunks.
Mix in assorted dried, raw fruit pieces (or save the fruit and add to the bowls when serving).
Let it cool fully before transferring to an airtight glass jar for storage.
For the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, choose raw, organic and unsulphured.
When ready to eat, place in bowl and add fresh or dried fruit, along with raw honey and raw milk -- the latter two are excellent sources of digestive enzymes!
*A combination we like: 1 cup each of almonds, filberts and pumpkin seeds.
What's your favorite granola flavor variation?
This post was featured in The Great Granola Round-Up: 31 Deliciously Nourishing Recipes!
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