This superfood-packed granola has just the right balance of sweet, nutty, and salty.
Chocolate Cherry Almond Granola
Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan depending on chocolate used.
You could call this granola a lot of things:
An indulgent breakfast.
A healthy treat.
A deconstructed cookie.
I call it yum-in-a-bowl-with-benefits.
As we learn to nourish our thyroids, and come to know our specific dietary triggers, our diets will continue to change. Eliminating foods like grains and sugar are common practice among those trying to heal themselves through food. And truth be told, I rarely eat grains if I can help it these days.
But sometimes, I find a granola-type treat necessary. One thing I always try to do is emphasize whole, homemade food, made from ingredients we can not only pronounce, but recognize as food. So, while this may not fit into the eat-it-regularly category, if you’re on the hunt for something sweet, consider this a reduced-consequence solution.
Here’s some info about the thyroid-friendly nutrients in this dish:
- Chocolate contains sugar and can contain soy lecithin, both of which many with thyroid issues choose to avoid. However, dark chocolate (when consumed in moderation) can be a good source of trace minerals like copper and manganese. Carefully check the label for milk solids (hidden dairy), and soy. It’s become easier to find brands that omit these ingredients.
- Oats, as long as they are processed on equipment that does not process other gluten-containing grains, are naturally gluten-free. Removing gluten from your diet is the most common recommendation in terms of adopting a thyroid-friendly diet.
- Coconut oil has been touted for its potential benefits to thyroid health, as well as anti-inflammatory properties, and even weight loss. It is high in healthy fats, lauric acid, and medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).
- Cherries, especially tart cherries, are ranked as one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods you can eat. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine as well as numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.
Chocolate Cherry Almond Granola
This granola is as good for an afternoon treat as it is for an indulgent breakfast. My favorite accouterment is dairy-free coconut milk (the kind from the carton, not the can). Dietary Compliance: Gluten-free, Vegetarian, Vegan depending on chocolate used.
MAKES 5 CUPS
- 1/4 cup cacao powder, (or sub. cocoa powder)
- 3 cups rolled oats, preferably gluten-free
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds, (or sub. sesame seeds)
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
- 1 tsp. flake sea salt, like Maldon (or to taste)
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 2 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 275F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine cacao, oats, almonds, hemp (or sesame seeds), fine sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
In a small pan over low heat, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Heat, stirring, just until fat is melted. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Spread mixture on a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet and place in center of oven. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with coconut sugar and flake sea salt, stir gently and return to oven. Bake 20 minutes more.
Remove granola from oven, and stir in dried cherries-- this will help the cherries adhere a bit before the granola fully dries as it cools. Finally, sprinkle with chopped chocolate but do not stir. This will also help the chocolate adhere. Set aside to cool, 2 hours. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.