I’m back at the hospital burning the midnight oil, but I still have visions of sandy beaches, tropical drinks, and snorkeling alongside sea turtles dancing in my head. That’s the problem with vacation: it has an annoying tendency to end.
I’m trying to hold onto as much island zen as possible, though. One of the vacation treats that I can’t get out of my head is an açaí bowl topped with crunchy house-made “Paleonola” that we enjoyed at a sunny vegan cafe the other day in Lahaina. Naturally, upon returning home, I felt compelled to tackle a grain-free granola recipe. (The rest of the açaí bowl’s on my list of to-dos, too.)
Just for the record: Yes, I know “Paleo granola” is an oxymoron. There was a time when I thought that granola was a health food that I could and should eat on a daily basis, but the times they are a-changin’. I know granola—grain-free or not— is “treat” food that should be eaten only in moderation, and not an everyday breakfast superfood. But with that disclaimer out of the way, let me just say that just a handful of this stuff delivers a mildly-sweet, nutty, tropical crunch like nothing else.
As soon as we came home the other night, I started tinkering in the kitchen with different nut, seed, and sweeteners. It took a few batches, but I finally got it just right: crunchy, not too sweet, and with flavors that remind me of my favorite fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas stuck in ’em. Make a batch and share with your pals!
Yield: 7 cups
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 large Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately ½ cup)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil, melted
3 cups raw almonds (I use a combination of raw almonds that are roughly chopped, slivered, and sliced.)