Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Zucchini Bread Granola

Most gardeners out there have a love-hate relationship with zucchini. On one hand, it's a huge joy to see something in the backyard plot take off so well and proliferate - on the other hand, that energetic growth and spread often gets out of hand, leaving the planters of good intentions with baseball bat-sized, six-meal fruit by August. The beginning squash are greedily consumed, and you have no problem adding a chopped cup or two to every meal. Then the second week's harvest comes in... and the third, and so on, until you have no choice other than zucchini rotting on the vine, or zucchini rotting in the fridge.

After years of this constant cycle, I finally started to shred and freeze my excess zukes for later baking. I opted for 1 cup "pucks", which fit perfectly into most recipes, and once my taste for summer squash returned I started digging them out one at a time. One of the first things I decided to whip up fit nicely into my holiday gift giving list and even made extra for snacking - a whole-grain, chunky, crunchy granola. The perfect "make now, eat later" treat as well, I originally just made a batch for the holiday giftees, but we couldn't stop snacking, especially on the carob-kissed chunks! This would be a decadent start to the morning, or an after-school snack that kids will love and not realize the innate nutritional value of. If I could take credit for it I would... but the honour of that inspiration goes to Healthy Food for Living. Either way, my family loved it - and if they love zucchini bread half as much as we do, I'm sure yours will too!

Zucchini Bread Granola

Shared with Gluten Free Wednesdays

Zucchini Bread Granola
Makes ~5 cups, 10 (1/2 cup) servings
1 ½ cups gluten free rolled oats
2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
¼ cup amaranth
1 cup finely grated zucchini, undrained
1 tbsp camelina or walnut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup GF carob or dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment.
  2. Combine the oats, rice cereal and amaranth in a large bowl, set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine zucchini, oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Pour over the cereal mixture and mix to break up any clumps of zucchini and coat everything well. 
  5. Spread mixture on the prepared cookie sheet in an even layer.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir in the nuts and bake 20 minutes longer. 
  7. Turn off the oven and let granola cool inside for 15 minutes, then remove to a rack, toss in the carob or chocolate chips and stir gently until they’re partially melted. Cool completely on the sheet.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 203.3
Total Fat: 8.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.5 mg
Sodium: 114.5 mg
Total Carbs: 30.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.5 g
Protein: 5.0 g