What is it about granola that makes it so stinkin’ good? Is it the cinnamon and other spices? The sweetness? The crunch? I don’t know about you, but I think those are all good answers and when you combine them all together, it’s heaven in a bowl! This Crunchy Nut Free Granola Recipe hits the spot for me big time, and I hope you give it a try!
I love nuts! I love that they are packed with good nutrition, that they are heart-healthy and that they are an EASY snack to grab when you need something quick and satisfying.
I’ve learned over the past couple of years that my body doesn’t love it when I overdue it on the nuts. I’ll spare you the details, but I was noticing some things about my skin that I didn’t like (yes, what you eat DEFINITELY affects your skin!). I felt it was worth a shot to eliminate nuts to see if things would improve.
Long story short, things improved when I stopped eating nuts, so now I only eat nuts occasionally and life (and my skin) is much better!
I still wanted to eat granola, and since I’d always added nuts to granola for the lovely crunch they provide, I needed to figure out a different way to add the crunch.
Enter buckwheat groats…
What are Buckwheat Groats?
Buckwheat is a plant that isn’t technically in the same plant family as other “cereal grains”, such as wheat, barley, oats, and rice, but because buckwheat has similar nutrition and is used in much the same way as true cereal grains, it is often lumped into the same category and referred to as a “grain” even though, technically, it’s not.
The groats are the seeds of the plant that have had the husk taken off. The groats are considered a “whole grain” because the bran, germ, and endosperm are intact.
Buckwheat groats can be eating raw, toasted in the oven (like you will do in this Crunchy Nut Free Granola Recipe), or cooked in liquid similar to how you would cook rice. They add a really nice bit of crunchy texture when they are toasted in the oven!
Is Buckwheat Gluten Free?
YES! Buckwheat is naturally gluten free even though it has the word “wheat” in its name and regular wheat contains gluten. Buckwheat and regular are not related in the plant world.
Even though buckwheat is gluten free, you need to be careful when reaching for buckwheat foods on grocery store shelves (such as buckwheat pancake mixes or buckwheat noodles, aka: “soba noodles”). Often, those types of products will be made with a combination of buckwheat and regular wheat. In that case, they definitely contain gluten!
Besides the buckwheat, which adds so much crunch to this Crunchy Nut Free Granola Recipe, there are two other ingredients you may not be as familiar with. Hemp seeds and chia seeds, which are both packed with nutrition.
What are Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds are the seeds from the variety of cannabis plant that is grown mostly for the seeds and has very low levels of THC, which is the compound found in marijuana. Because any THC in the plants would only be in the leaves and not the seeds, there’s no risk of getting high from eating hemp seeds.
Hemp seeds are very small in size and are light green and cream in color. They have a mild nutty flavor that tastes most like walnuts to me. They pair very well with the oats and buckwheat in this Crunchy Nut Free Granola Recipe!
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Their nutrition quality is where hemp seeds really shine. Compared with nuts (such as almonds or walnuts), they are significantly higher in protein, having twice as much protein as the same amount of almonds and MORE than twice as much protein when compared to the same amount of walnuts.
Plus, hemp seeds are high in fiber, having even more fiber than oats! They are also a good source of plant-based iron.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that can be used in many ways in cooking and baking. You can eat them raw or bake them into your favorite muffin, bread and granola recipes. They are also a great addition to smoothie bowls and chilled overnight oatmeal, or as a topper sprinkled on your favorite fruit.
With a high level of omega-3 fats and fiber, chia seeds may help reduce the risk for heart disease and may help lower blood pressure.
P.S. If you really want to add nuts to your granola (which is totally fine, by the way!), check out my recipe for Nutty Cinnamon Granola. My kids love it and it makes a really hearty breakfast when you need to grab something quick!
Crunchy Nut Free Granola Recipe
- 3 cups gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup dry buckwheat groats
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup regular olive oil
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 tablespoons dried blueberries, chopped
- 3 tablespoons dried tart cherries, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large shallow baking pan combine oats, buckwheat, and hemp seeds. In a small bowl whisk together oil, syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Pour over oat mixture in pan. Stir until well combined; spread oat mixture to an even layer in the pan.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking. Add blueberries, cherries, and chia seeds to oat mixture. Toss to combine; spread back to an even layer.
- Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes more. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Store granola in an airtight container up to 3 weeks.