Plant-Based Paleo Granola with Figs and Honey

paleo granola with honey and figs

Posting a paleo recipe on what is generally a plant-based blog? That’s right folks! Gird your loins – we’re about to break free from some labels.

Seriously, though. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Paleo eating and I think there is a lot about Paleo to admire and adopt. Based on my (albeit beginners) understanding, Paleo is all about real, whole foods, minimal/no sugar, no additives or processing, low-starch vegetables, no gluten – or for that matter – no grains or flours, and no dairy.

Putting aside your feelings about the consumption of animal products, which is most certainly part of a Paleo diet, you have to admit this way of eating removes most of the major allergens – dairy, gluten, and soy – and for some people, that could be just the ticket back to optimum health.

paleo-granola-2

Plus, one of the best things to adopt from Paleo, I think, is the emphasis on real foods – foods that come from nature, and are unrefined and unprocessed. These foods are generally highest in beneficial enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants. Paleo encourages people to think creatively about where a whole food can be used instead of processed food.

Paleo also is really good about promoting the health benefits of nuts and seeds, while also acknowledging that these plant-based foods benefit from some tweaks to make them optimally digestible by the human body. Nuts and seeds contains phytates (so does soy, for that matter), and the concern is that these compounds might bind to essential nutrients and prevent their absorption, effectively rendering the iron/zinc/magnesium/etc. content of your nuts useless to you. Soaking is one of the methods that helps reduce phytate content. Roasting also helps. So does sprouting.

So, this granola is the double whammy – soaking then roasting. It’s a phytate buster. And it smells DIVINE while it’s in the oven.

paleo granola with honey and figs

Now, full disclosure: because the nuts are soaked first, I would say they are more chewy than crunchy. The coconut, on the other hand, is very crunchy. Nevertheless, if soaking isn’t at all your thing, you don’t believe in phytates, or you only like crunchy nuts in your granola, skip the soaking step.

This Paleo granola recipe is from a cookbook I picked up at the library called “The Part-Time Paleo Cookbook.” I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe – I reduced the amount of sweetener and oil, and doubled the coconut, for extra chew. and fibre. I also soaked the nuts, and of course, I couldn’t resist adding some cinnamon.

I invite you to dabble a little in the Paleo world with this granola! And remember: unabashedly pick and choose from any dietary plan, no matter the name, and figure out what works best for you. That’s more important than eating according to a label.

Plant-Based Paleo Granola with Figs & Honey

  • Author: The Part-Time Paleo Cookbook, with tweaks by Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: grain-free, soy-free, naturally-sweetened, high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3-4 dried figs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey (or if you prefer, maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Soak almonds and cashews in filtered water for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to proceed with ready, preheat oven to 300F.
  3. Thoroughly drain water from nuts, and pulse in a food processor until finely chopped.
  4. In a large bowl, combine nuts with coconut, figs, orange juice, coconut oil, raw honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned.
  6. Remove from oven and stir in dried cranberries.
  7. Let cool and store in an airtight container. Serve over coconut yogurt or with some almond milk!

© Backyard Owl

Clean, 6 Ingredient, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Mint Smoothies

clean mint smoothiesMy first idea was to call this Clean Eating Peppermint Cocoa Butter Fudge. It’s a very accurate name but it doesn’t really trip off the tongue. Then I remembered at the market there is this chocolatier that sells these wonderful chocolate and mint confections called Mint Smoothies. Now me, I enjoy a good mint smoothie every now and again. They contain both chocolate and mint and once you tell me those two key pieces of information, you can stop talking. My decision is already made.

So I thought, I should call them Mint Smoothies instead. But as I’m terrible with short titles for things and always want to include more descriptive words and then even more descriptive words, the title came out to be long and convoluted anyways.

clean mint smoothies

I just reallllly wanted to make it clear that these mint bites of deliciousness are made with clean, healthy ingredients. No refined sugar, questionable hydrogenated fats, or mint flavouring that doesn’t even really contain mint but may or may not contain ethanol. You can make these chocolates with just a few basic ingredients: coconut oil, cocoa butter, coconut milk, raw honey, cocoa powder, and mint oil.

And, if have any cutesy little muffin tin or silicone cups, now is the time to use them. My sense is that silicone would best, because these mint smoothies are fudgey and they might stick to the lining of your muffin tin – unless you use paper liners, of course. The only problem with paper liners is that after you consume your mint smoothies, you have a whackload of paper liners to throw out and you might not feel good about that.

Point being, mold these chocolates in something that’s easy for you to clean. A big square pan might also do the trick. Then you could actually cut these into squares and make them even MORE like the mint smoothies purchasable from your chocolate store of choice.

Stay minty!

clean mint smoothies

Clean, 6 Ingredient, Melt-in-your-Mouth Mint Smoothies

  • Author: Backyard Owl (but inspired very much by this recipe for Peppermint Fudge from Dr. Josh Axe)
  • Recipe notes: gluten-free, soy-free, naturally-sweetened, nut-free. Make this vegan by substituting maple syrup for the honey.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa butter (or your closest estimate)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or creamy unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons organic peppermint flavouring
  • 1/3 cup cocoa or raw cacao powder

Instructions:

  1. Over a double boiler (water simmering in a saucepan with a heat-proof bowl on top), melt the coconut oil, cocoa butter, and raw honey.
  2. Once melted, stir in the coconut or non-dairy milk and whisk well to incorporate.
  3. Once fully mixed, add the peppermint flavouring and the cocoa powder and again, whisk that mix up until it becomes fully blended, smooth, and shiny or glossy looking.
  4. Pour into your prepared muffin tins with liners or silicone pan or whavever you want to use and let cool.
  5. Once cool, transfer your smoothies (still in the pan) to the fridge or freezer. The smoothies are ready after about 1-2 hours.
  6. Store them in the freezer for firmer smoothies, or in the fridge for more fudgy ones.

© Backyard Owl