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dehydrator experiments: sprouted buckwheat “raw”nola

Looking back through all my recent posts, I’ve realized that it’s been quite since I’ve put up a real recipe – a visual how-to guide to making something truly healthful while addictingly delicious.

I guess it’s just been hard because I can’t really cook when I’m at school (limited ingredients, time, and equipment); and when I’m home I’m usually spoiled by mom’s food. Or restaurant food. Or I don’t think that the food I DO cook is pretty or good enough to publish on the blog.

SO.

On the last week of winter break, I decided to break out the old dehydrator and get cracking, you know, dehydratin’ stuffs. And one thing that I’ve always wanted to try to make was rawnola – that is, raw granola.

You don’t usually think of grains as raw, do you? When most people hear the word “raw,” they usually think of undercooked meat. But truth be told, there’s a whole world out there of raw, vegan cuisine – foods that have been prepared under 110°F to maintain the ingredients’ nutrients that are usually cooked out at higher temperatures. By dehydrating different fruits, vegetables, and nuts, raw chefs are able to mimic the texture of something that might have been baked, roasted, or fried. They even have raw vegan nut cheeses!

But anyways, since we do have a dehydrator at home, I decided to use it for the grand purpose of raw “baking.” Something healthy that I could keep in my room and snack on once I was back at college. Something that I could adapt to my own liking, and have fun making.

What could be better than granola?

I’ve made granola before, so this time I decided to up the ante by making it raw, gluten-free, and sprouted. ‘Tis exciting, no?

RECIPEEE TIMMEE!

The Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

The Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon homemade pumpkin pie spice mix (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove)
  • a pinch of salt

So, first things first: sprouting nuts and grains means you soak them in water (usually overnight); this starts the “sprouting” process, which pretty much means that they’ve started to germinate.

almonds, buckwheat, pepitas, and walnuts in water

By initiating the sprouting process, you make the micronutrients in the nuts and seeds more readily available and easily absorbed by the human body. So pretty much, you’re upping the nutrition level – healthy ingredients made even healthier, wheeeee!

soaked almonds vs. dry almonds

I left my nuts to soak for a little over 8 hours; you can tell which ones had been submerged because they’re all plump from absorbing the water.

soaked pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

The buckwheat will get all slimy once it’s soaked, so you have to make sure to rinse the slime off before you do anything else to it.

ewww... slime.

sprouted buckwheat

Did you know that this is the stuff that soba noodles are made out of? I HAD NO IDEA. I mean, I knew they were made out of buckwheat, but I never imagined buckwheat as triangular lil’ nubbins of crunchiness.

ANYWAYS, at this point, I COULD’VE just gone ahead and mixed the buckwheat and the nuts with my sweeteners and spices. But that would’ve take a loooong time, and the end result wouldn’t have been as crunchy. AND I NEED MY GRANOLA TO HAVE CRUNCH. So I just decided to dry my soaked nuts before mixing them together.

fat nuts on one layer

skinny nuts on the other (with a plastic sheet)

stackin' it up!

I left the nuts to dry overnight, and the next morning they were all dry and ready for granola-ing!

I wanted a more texturally consistent granola, so the first thing I did was chop up my sprouted almonds and walnuts into more manageable chunks.

Then I tossed them into a bowl with the buckwheat and the pepitas.

Next, I got my other dry ingredients ready: using the bullet mixer, I pulsed the dried coconut flakes into itty-bitty pieces, as if they had been shredded.

before and after

I also soaked my cranberries in water, because I don’t like them too sweet. This kind of helps rinse off the excess coating of sugar.

clean cranberries!

I put all the dry ingredients into a corner, and started assembling my wet ingredients:

salt, honey, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon

Yeah, I know spices and salt are technically “dry.” But you add them with wet ingredients, so people just refer to them as “wet.” Don’t ask me why…

So since the coconut oil is solid, I added that and the honey together into a small bowl, then microwaved it for 20 seconds. That way the oil would melt and the honey would become softer and more mixable.

Once everything was nice and liquidy, I added water and the dry “wet’ ingredients, then mixed thoroughly.

Then I added it to my nut/buckwheat mixture, stirring to make sure everything was eveeenly coated and dispersed.

I added my coconut and my cranberries,

Then mixed again! Mix, mix, mix, mix.

Whew. When it looked like the rawnola was well-mixed, I got out the dehydrator again, with the plastic sheets on top. You don’t want any buckwheat falling through the gaps, do you?

I spread the rawnola out onto dehydrator sheets, making sure that there weren’t any areas where it was too clumpy or thick.

After layering out the granola, I still had some room in my dehydrator; I didn’t want to waste energy by drying out 3 levels of nothing, so I decided to make some apple chips.

apples. 2 of them.

I cored them first.

gaping wounds!

Then sliced them preeeetty thin. I’d say anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.

Then I spread THOSE out on the remaining levels of the dehydrator.

Once all the layers were filled up, I stacked up the dehydrator and let ‘er rip.

The apple chips, which I forgot to take a picture of when they were finished (my bad…), took about 8 hours to dry. Depending on how thick you cut them, they can end up really dry and crisp, or leathery and chewy. I’m a fan of the chewy dried apples myself, but it all depends on your preference.

The rawnola took considerably longer, almost a full day. But again, this is to your preference; I like my granola really crispy, so I left the dehydrator running for a little longer than I would’ve if I had wanted clumpier granola. But the end result was a beautiful, yummy, nutritious rawnola.

The buckwheat gives this granola a considerably different texture than your average oat granola; they’re crisper and I guess “poppier.” The coconut gives a “barely there” tropical taste, and with the drying, the walnuts and almonds taste like they’d been toasted – they’re that crunchy! I love eating my rawnola plain, or sometimes with a little bit of milk (almost like a cereal). It’s been giving me the energy I need to get going when I don’t want to venture out into the snow to get myself a meal.

I keep the rawnola in the fridge because I want to make it last as long as possible, and I’m almost through my first container. Noooooo! Must. Make. It. Last!

So I hope you guys enjoyed the how-to on sprouted rawnola. It’s a pretty time-consuming and equipment-specific process, but you can always bake your granola in the oven (although then it wouldn’t be raw).

Like I said, I’m trying to get back into the rhythm of things at school. The semester’s only 2 weeks in, so there hasn’t been much to blog about or take pictures of. Hopefully that’ll change soon! But if you guys are interested in seeing some of my everyday pictures, head over to my tumblr: http://minyungee.tumblr.com/. I try to upload at least 1 picture a day on it.

Good luck to all of you at school, and stay warm in this weather!!!

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “dehydrator experiments: sprouted buckwheat “raw”nola

  1. wow. you are so intense! this looks like so much fun. I don’t know if I’d have the patience to gather all the materials for this, but I do want to try it sometime… dang. haha

    Posted by Brooke | January 30, 2011, 11:03 pm
  2. this looks really really good… you could probably sell this! on that note, can you send some to me??

    Posted by Brian | February 10, 2011, 1:52 am
  3. Wow! I decided to keep cycling through your posts and it astonishes me how much all of your posts remind me of my own life, as absurd as that sounds :P
    I have recently discovered the whole realm of raw foodism and got a dehydrator for Christmas – one that I have to keep under my dorm bed for now… it can be so frustrating to be confined into what seems like a few square feet when there are so many things I want to experiment with in the kitchen! Anyway, I made granola for my best friend’s birthday a few weeks ago, but I didn’t take it to this level – what an awesome recipe, I can’t wait to try it! Thank you!

    Posted by Irina | February 22, 2011, 12:40 am
    • Thank you! I know what you mean, I want to cook but the lack of ingredients and utensils is just driving me nuts.
      I want to get more into raw foods too (raw cheesecake??), but my dehydrator is at home, and I feel like I can’t use it too much since it is so time-consuming. But once Spring Break comes around, I’ll definitely get back into the kitchen, raw baking and other foods included!

      Posted by minyungee | February 22, 2011, 3:55 pm

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