Green Smoothie Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)
And then a crazy idea hit me. What if I could make a granola recipe packed with all of my favorite green smoothie ingredients? Coconut? Check. Green tea? Check. Even spinach and zucchini make an appearance, though with more (green-tastic) color than flavor. One late night of baking later, and my huge batch is already almost gone...at least I get my servings of veggies, right?
Granola Produced: 3 trays (that lasted around 8 days...oops)
1 cup of buckwheat groats
1 cup of puffed cereal (I used puffed rice, but any would work)
2 1/2 cups of seeds (or nuts, I went with sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds)
2 cups of buckwheat, rice or quinoa flakes (could be replaced with gluten free oats, if tolerated)
1/3 cup of cacao nibs
1/3 cup of coconut flakes
1 TBSP of coconut flour
1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I love EnjoyLife's gluten and dairy free baking chunks)
3 green tea packets, cut open (I use decaf, but caffeinated would definitely boost the granola's energizing power!)
2 TBSP cacao powder
1 TBSP spirulina powder (optional, but boosts the green hue, vitamins and minerals!)
1 TBSP maca powder (optional)
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric (optional)
2 mashed bananas (either extremely ripe and fresh or frozen and defrosted)
1/4 cup of water and 1 handful of spinach blended into a puree
3/4 of a grated zucchini
3 TBS of cooking oil (coconut, grapeseed, olive, etc)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
3 dates (or equivalent amount of dried fruit)
To begin, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This granola doesn't require any fancy mixing, so throw all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and consider yourself a chef. Concerning the green tea, I simply cut three packets open with a knife and poured it straight onto the rest of the ingredients. One of the easiest ways to get your tea fix? I think so.
|Easy as 1, 2, 3!|
The wet ingredients, however, will give you a workout. First, get your Popeye on and start blending. I blended my spinach, cup of water and one banana into a green puree that I added to my bowl. Next, gather the second banana (either frozen and defrosted or fresh) and mash it until no big lumps are left. To finish off your arm exercises, use a grater to shred three fourths of a medium zucchini. Like with my previous granola recipes, the zuc adds extra nutrition and chewiness with limited calories or taste.
Once you mix all the dry and wet ingredients together, it's time to load up your baking trays. If you're a clumpy, dense granola lover, pack the unbaked granola firmly into the tray and don't stir while it bakes. If you prefer the opposite, leave the granola loose in the pan and stir halfway through the cooking time.
|Rows of green...|
Now, all you have to do is place your to-be food goodies in the oven and wait until your house starts smelling like a bakery and tea store combined. I personally baked mine for around 35 minutes, flipping the trays around in the oven halfway through, but feel free to cook for as long as it takes to get your desired color and crunch!
After the baking mission is complete, let your trays cool for at least a few hours, if not overnight (although I certainly still stole plenty of small bites!). Using a spoon or your fingers, then break the granola into clusters and begin the feast! This was honestly one of my favorite granola batches - the perfect combination of chewy, crunchy, and sweet - and I loved that I couldn't even taste the "healthy" ingredients snuck inside. Since there's never too much of a good food, I sprinkled my granola over yogurt, oatmeal, and even on green smoothie bowls.
|A few of my favorite things...|
By now, I've accepted my smoothie bowl and granola addictions. In fact, I've even learned they're better when morphed together! Whether you're looking for a unique twist on an old favorite or how to bump up your veggie intake without your taste buds knowing the difference, this granola recipe has the potential to make you crave something (deliciously) green.
*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's Link Party!*
What's your favorite granola flavor? Do you ever hide veggies in unexpected places? Comment below!