Granola is one of my go-to breakfasts. As it’s so easy to make at home and you can add any ingredients and flavours you fancy, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy new varieties every season. Last week I was gifted a surprise batch of freshly picked sour cherries. I turned half of them into a delicious lemon and vanilla flavoured sour cherry compote and dried the second half of them to make this summer-inspired granola: almond granola with baked lemon zest and naturally sweetened dried sour cherries.
For this almond granola I used the same base of grains I did for my tahini granola with pistachios and rose petals: oats, spelt flakes, quinoa flakes and buckwheat groats. Though you can make a delicious granola using rolled oats only, I love this particular combination, because every grain adds its own nutrients, flavours and textures. Quinoa and buckwheat both provide the full amino acid spectrum for creating protein, with the quinoa flakes adding a deep nutty flavour and the buckwheat groats turning lovely crisp and puffy when baked. I added linseeds, hemp hearts and sunflower seeds for extra protein, healthy fats and delicious flavour. And then of course chopped almonds and freshly grated lemon zest, because both were made to be paired with cherries. Simply toss with almond butter and maple syrup, bake for half an hour, then mix with the dried cherries and prepare for big spoonsful of crunchy, golden summer bliss.
We finished our first batch already and just set off baking a second one. Because it’s delicious, but also because my eldest has a gluten intolerant friend staying over and this makes an easy and safe breakfast option. Just make sure to choose a certified gluten free brand of oats, replace the spelt flakes with extra oats or quinoa flakes and everyone can enjoy.
If you can’t get hold of sour cherries for drying, this granola is equally delicious with regular dried cherries. Serve spooned over yogurt, with cherry compote and fresh cherries for the ultimate summery triple-cherry treat. Or make it with homemade or shop-bought dried cranberries, to enjoy all year round.
Almond granola with lemon and dried cherries – makes about 500 g
- 100 g rolled oats (when allergic to gluten, check the label and choose a certified gluten free brand)
- 50 g rolled spelt flakes (for a gluten free version, replace the spelt flakes with extra oats or quinoa flakes)
- 50 g quinoa flakes
- 50 g green, untoasted buckwheat groats
- 50 g almonds, skin on, roughly chopped
- 50 g flaked almonds; use half of them for baking and reserve the second half to mix in after baking
- 50 g sunflower seeds
- 25 g linseeds
- 50 g hemp hearts
- grated zest of 2 lemons
- 100 g almond butter
- 120 ml maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 60 g dried sour cherries, dried regular cherries or dried cranberries
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
In a large bowl, combine the grains, seeds, lemon zest, chopped almonds and half of the flaked almonds.
In a smaller bowl, mix the almond butter with the maple syrup, rapeseed oil and vanilla extract and stir to a smooth paste.
Add the almond butter mixture to the grains and fold to coat, then spread the grains in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.
Bake the grains for 15 minutes. Then take out of the oven, stir the mixture and spread again, to prevent the edges from burning. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. In my oven the granola is ready after this second run, but depending on your oven, it may take an additional round of stirring and baking for another 5-10 minutes.
When the granola is done, take the baking sheet out of the oven and leave it to cool completely without stirring or touching the granola. This will make it crisp up in large clusters which you can later on break into smaller chunks.
When complete cooled, mix the granola with the dried cherries and the reserved flaked almonds.
Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the almond granola will keep for up to a month. Enjoy for breakfast with plant based yogurt, tart cherry compote and fresh cherries for a triple-cherry treat, or dry and straight from the jar for mid-day munching.