beet your heart out granola

Even if you can proudly resist candy, donuts, ice cream, and pretty much all processed sugars (good for you), you’ve got a crutch. Something you need after dinner (even if you’re stuffed), before brushing your teeth at night. A habit so entrenched you fear you might start slapping your loved ones or twitching on the floor if you can’t have it. At least I hope you do, because I don’t want to feel like I’m going out on a limb here. For me, it’s granola.

I’ve been making granola for years, baking enough every week to fill about three 1/2 gallon jars, using a basic formula but essentially winging it every time with different seeds, nuts, and spices. Believe it or not, my tiny family (basically, me and my husband, though my 3 1/2 year old is joining our ravenous ranks, slowly but surely) goes through it like wildfire even when I screw up and it’s not that good. Even at its best, it’s never as sweet as any other brand I’ve tried (oh, and boy do I still buy and try many) in which maple syrup or honey is among the first three ingredients. I consider those “dessert granolas” for enjoying in a mug of (raw) milk after dinner.

I usually use local honey as a sweetener, but I wanted to try something different here– a breakfasty granola that’s less sweet but more textured and nutritious to get you through a busy morning. Steaming beets (my preferred preparation) leaves us with quite a bit of magenta juice in the bottom of the pot, and it’s too beautiful and nutritious to waste. Some of it goes into our sweet beet crackers, but the rest, I use in the granola, adding a bit of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory betalain, folic acid, and circulation-boosting properties to my daily breakfast (read more about beet benefits here).

I combine the beet juice organic dates to create a purée about the consistency of honey, and mix with the oats and four kinds of protein-rich seeds. The result is a low sugar snack that can add crunch and a smidge of sweet to your yogurt or even your salad.

ingredients: certified gluten-free rolled oats*, beet juice, raw sunflower seeds*, raw pumpkin seeds*, dates*, chia seeds*, golden flax*, raisins*, filtered water, virgin coconut oil*, vanilla extract, cinnamon*, Himalayan pink salt, lemon extract

*certified organic