Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vegan Vanilla Nut Granola and Cashew-Hemp Milk

I've been doing really well with limiting (almost cutting out completely) sugar from my diet.  I find that when I eat too much sugar causes me to feel ill (any amount of sugar almost inevitably leads to eating too much so even in moderation it's a slippery slope).  However, sometimes it's nice to have a midnight snack for those nights that I wake up with a hankering (and with work stress that keeps me awake!).  I haven't gone grocery shopping for a while so I thought I'd prepare my fridge with convenient edibles.  This happens to be way cheaper than buying the stuff pre-made, too.

Cashew-Hemp Milk

1 cup cashews (preferably soaked for at least four hours and then rinsed)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean scraped or a dash of extract
dash of agave if desired

Blend in Vita Mix for 2-3 minutes until ultra smooth.  If you have a nut milk bag, use it.  If not, expect extra thick milk.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

I read on Wikipedia that hemp seeds have all of the essential amino acids.  I'm not sure if that's true, but I wanted to add it to my nut milk to give it a nutritional boost.  Making nut milk without straining results in a very pulpy final product, but I tend not to mind it as long as I'm using it with cereal.  You may want to de-pulp it.  Even straining it through several layers of cheese cloth doesn't rid the milk of its pulp.  I think a nut bag is required.  [Edit: You can also blend it less thoroughly and strain out the pieces.  If it is too liquidy you can add xanthan gum.]

Vanilla Nut Granola

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup dried coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/8 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4 cup chopped almonds (I used a nut chopper so the pieces were finer)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grapeseed or other oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients well.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend well.  Continue to add dry ingredients, stirring well, until the desired consistency is achieved.  Save the remainder for another  batch of granola or just toss it in a have a little drier granola.  Spread granola mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheets and put them in the oven on 300 degrees.  After fifteen minutes, rotate trays and stir granola.  Bake a total of about 30 minutes but check every ten minutes to stir and ensure the mixture does not burn.  The color will darken to golden brown when it is done.  It will harden as it cools.  Once cool, store in an airtight container.

What I like about granola is that 1. it is an alternative to over-processed cereals, and 2. it can be made with a huge variety of ingredients (including cleaning-out-the-pantry ingredients).  I once made granola from a recipe with soy nuts and soy flour.  I would love to make this granola with less sugar and oil, but I don't really know what else to add so I guess I'll just be eating sugar if I eat granola!


  1. Good morning Stephanie,
    This looks really good...the milk and granola. I've always had a sweet tooth and am trying to cut sugar out too. I really love raw honey though! Where do you buy your vanilla beans?

  2. Hi Aimee...this granola was actually a bit too sweet for me so next time I'll cut the sweet liquids in half. I buy my vanilla bean at whole food (found in the spice section) but they are kind of expensive so i usually just use extract. Beans are so much better though : ) and if you are making something white like ice cream or milk, they help the food retain a white color rather than turning it brown like extract, which is only an issue if aesthetics are an issue.

  3. Have you tried Anupy Singla's "The Indian Slow Cooker Book"?? Most of it is all vegan, SUPER easy, SUPER cheap and super yummy! Dried, unsoaked beans means cheap and no prep time. If you like Indian food and have zero time, you have to get this book!!