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Golden Coconut and Spinach Granola

 

Yields:  about 3 cups             Prep Time:  15 minutes       Total Time:  45 minutes

 

With over one cup of freshly packed spinach, shredded coconut, and coconut oil, this granola packs a nutritional punch, but also has a warm and sweet golden crunch from maple syrup and brown sugar.

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup rice cereal (certified gluten free if necessary)

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, packed

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

2. Place spinach, butter, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, brown sugar, lime and salt in a food processor and pulse until pureed – about 30 seconds to one minute.

 

 

3. In a separate bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal, shredded coconut and chopped pecans. 

 

 

4. Using a spatula, scoop out the spinach puree and mix it into the dry ingredients bowl.  Combine evenly into dry mixture until all of it is well coated.

 

 

5. Spread granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking tray. 

 

 

6. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes, turning at 10 minutes and then again at 15 minutes.  This just helps ensure even baking.  Granola will be golden brown when done.

 

 

7. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Granola will harden and crisp up as it sits and cools.

 

 

Granola is a regular on our weekly shopping list.  It’s so hard for me to plop it in the cart, because in the back of my mind, I know how easy it is to make.  Yet, I think I actually forgot how easy it is to make.

 

Even more enticing for me is that I get to spruce up my granola when made at home, adding nutrients, flavors and controlling the amount of sugar. 

 

I originally thought of a “green granola” for St. Patrick’s Day, because seriously, I love making things colorful with nature’s goodness!  And while, there is still a hint of green flecks, by the time it cooked, the overall green color I was looking for, had pretty much faded.  Yes, it’s still green, but not as impressive as I had hoped. 

 

However, on the plus side, there is still one and a half cups of tightly packed spinach adding magnesium, calcium, potassium and folic acid. 

 

 

I used pretty finely shredded coconut.  This is because two of my three kids have not jumped on the large coconut chunk train yet.  There are different sizes available, so whatever your preference is, just use that.

 

The combination of coconut oil and butter with the maple syrup and brown sugar, blends together perfectly.  I added a touch of lime to balance out the spinach.  The spinach is not individually detectable, and neither is the lime.  The flavors just meld together really well complimenting each other, and the main flavor is the toasted sweetness.

 

You could easily use all coconut oil and no butter, or the other way around.  I like the balance of both the flavors, each bringing a unique quality to the granola.  While I enjoy coconut for the flavor, I really appreciate the health benefits as well.  (What's the Deal with Coconut?)

 

We have enjoyed this by itself, in yogurt, with milk and even on ice cream! 

 

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