While my fiancé and I were exploring our soon-to-be hometown, Corpus Christi, TX, we discovered a lovely brunch destination called Hester’s Café. There aren’t very many options for vegans there—although there is a huge selection of coffee!—I foresee myself ordering their “Cranberry Orange Paradise” granola with soy milk again and again. Bustling with locals and drenched in morning sun, the ambience of the café only reinforced my attachment (addiction?) to this delicious granola. Spending a few moments enjoying the morning–and a soy latte–was the perfect way to begin a long day of apartment hunting.
Once we returned to Oregon to pack up and say our goodbyes, I don’t think I could wait a few weeks until another bowl of Cranberry Orange Paradise, so I took matters into my own hands and devised this adaptation.
The lovely thing about granola is that you can customize (and make fancy) a basic recipe to suit your nutritional needs and taste preferences.
-Throw in a handful of quinoa for additional protein and an earthier taste.
-Sugar sensitive? Cut down or eliminate the dried fruit and use only coconut nectar to sweeten.
-Vary your nut and seed mix depending on what’s in your pantry. Next time around, I’ll probably use chia and pumpkin seeds.
-Try using apple juice instead of orange juice.
-Substitute lemon zest for orange zest.
Vegan Cranberry Orange Granola
(Makes about 6 cups)
4 cups rolled or “old fashioned” oats
½ cup coconut flakes
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, raisins, etc.)
1 cup mixed nuts and seeds (I used almond slivers and chopped pecans.)
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground clove
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¼ cup coconut nectar
2. tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. orange zest
1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
2. In a large ceramic baking dish, mix dry ingredients (oats, coconut flakes, dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground clove).
3. In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients (orange juice, coconut nectar, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, orange zest).
4. Pour liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until everything is coated.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, giving the granola a good stir every 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven when granola is lightly toasted. Allow to cool for several minutes for serving or storing in a glass jar.
Also in Healthy Breakfast: Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie
Photos: Mary Hood