Tuesday, February 18, 2014

goji berry granola {gf,v}

The goji berry, or wolfberry, is one of the latest super foods to burst onto the health food scene. Though they're relatively new to the US, they've been around for tens of thousands of years in China and Tibet. The crimson berries are extremely rich in antioxidants, especially beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which are super important when it comes to eye health. 

There have been several studies showing goji berries may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels. Not only do goji berries contain all essential amino acids and have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit, they are packed with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. I know, right? Why aren't we constantly eating these things? With 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other trace minerals, it's pretty obvious that the tiny goji berry is a nutritional giant.
OK, we get it, they're good for you...but what do we do with them?

You can substitute goji berries in place of raisins in cookies, breads, scones, or add a little goji berry juice to your smoothie, or throw a few into a trail mix, oatmeal, or granola. I find if you soak the dried berries a half hour or so before you eat or cook with them, they take on the texture of a chewy cranberry. (Otherwise, they can be a tad dry/hard to chew.) I'm pretty obsessed with this granola. Be warned: it's addicting. But I'm OK with that, because with every bite I'm pretty sure I can hear my immune system and all my little cells cheering. I'm not one to disappoint my cells. pass the gojis.

goji berry granola
{gluten free, vegan}

*1-1/2 cup gluten free quick oats
*1 cup cashews
*1/2 cup walnuts
*1/2 tsp salt
*2 tbsp coconut oil
*1/3 cup shredded coconut
*1 tsp cinnamon
*3 tbsp agave nectar
*1 tbsp almond butter
*1/3 cup goji berries (soaked for half hour)

1. Add the oats, salt, cinnamon and coconut to a large frying pan. Stir over medium heat for 10 minutes or until toasted. Reduce the heat to low.
2. Add the oil and stir until melted.
3. Add the agave, almond butter, and nuts and stir.
4. Remove from heat and add goji berries. 
5. Let cool.

Makes approx 2-1/2 cups. Store in airtight container.

nutrition fact sources: 1 ~ 2