I regret to say that I’ve recently fallen off my weekly granola-crafting track, preferring the succulently sauteed breakfast greens featured in the Ayurvedic Vegan Kitchen accompanied by soy yogurt and fruit instead of my previously habitual green smoothie topped with granola. Last week, however, the insatiable urge to make granola once again gripped my being, compelling me to bake up a pan of grainy-nutty goodness that I hold so near to my heart. However, rather than producing yet another variation on my never-fail template recipe for fresh fruit-sweetened granola, I opted to experiment with a breakfast cereal more akin to crunchy squares rather than clustery bites. As my inspiration, I utilized the sprouted granola recipe that Juli Novotney highlights on her clean-eating blog, PUREmamas, to yield a pan of intensely fragrant, hearty, golden-brown cereal ideal for stirring into soy yogurt (can you tell how crazy I am about soy yogurt lately?).
Below, I’ve listed the changes I made to Juli’s original recipe:
- Substituted cardamom for cinnamon, because cardamom holds the title of Ali’s favorite sweet spice, far above the more conventionally used cinnamon.
- Substituted flaxseed meal for coconut sugar. I fully understand that these two ingredients fulfill completely different functions, but allow me to explain my choice of substitution: I prefer minimally sweet granolas, for who wants to wake up to a sugar shock (just humor me and pretend that people don’t eat Froot Loops or Cocoa Puffs for breakfast)? Instead, I like for my granolas to contain a generous amount of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and various superfoods. Flaxseed meal fulfills all three of my aforementioned breakfast cereal preferences while not contributing added sweetness, and harbors the same powdery texture as does coconut sugar. Thus, flaxseed meal=coconut sugar for all intents and purposes in this particular granola experiment.
- Substituted maple syrup for honey, because honey ain’t vegan, folks! Not only do bees require their own honey to provide their means of sustenance, many commercial apiaries function essentially as bee factory farms, “stacking honeybee colonies in interlocking boxes and treating them much like the dairy industry treats cows: as biological honey machines to be milked for profit,” according to the March+April 2013 issue of VegNews magazine. The article also offers this unfortunate information about large-scale honey production, which most likely serves as a contributor to the recent epidemic of colony collapse disorder:
“…bees make honey so their colony will have enough food to survive the winter. Many beekeepers sell all of that honey and replace it with nutritionally deficient sugar water or corn sytrup. Additionally, queen bees can live for five years but are routinely killed and replaced after only one or two to increase the hive’s honey production. Some industrial beekeepers destroy entire colonies after the fall honey harvest because it’s cheaper for them to simply start new hives in spring than to maintain them over winter.”
Though some vegans seem to regard honey as permissable, I personally find it equally as unacceptable to consume as dairy and animal flesh. Why shouldn’t our compassion extend to insects? Why draw the line of humane living at animals of the mammalian, avian, marine, etc. domains? Frankly, I don’t feel comfortable consuming honey for the same reason I don’t feel comfortable consuming other animal flesh and secretions: it’s not mine to take.
Used 2 tbsp coconut oil + 1/2 small apple in place of the 4 tbsp coconut oil. I also prefer to limit the amount of oil in my granolas, simply because oil does not offer as many nutrients as the vast majority of my other staple granola ingredients, including the ever-popular and oh-so-healthy apple, which provides adequate moisture to replace oil when pureed.
- Omitted the salt, because research conveyed by the lovely Dr. Fuhrman purports that vegans and vegetarians actually must pay closer attention to their sodium intake than meat-eaters, since the arterial plaque build-up that ensues from eating animal-based saturated fat actually protects the fragile blood vessles from rupturing (but also causes coronary heart disease, so…).
What an unexpectedly interesting discussion of a range of vegan issues, and all from a simple breakfast cereal recipe! What can’t granola accomplish?
Until next time, Ali.