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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Homemade Banana Nut Clusters

GLUTEN-FREE | GRAIN-FREE | DAIRY OPTIONAL


My husband is a big fan of Banana Nut Crunch cereal. I like that the first two ingredients are whole grains, but I don't like the added sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, flavoring, coloring, and pro-inflammatory fats in the form of vegetable oil. As a healthy alternative, I made my own version using bananas and nuts. It's gluten-free, grain-free, and free of sweeteners.

I used a mixture of raw nuts (walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts) and seeds (sunflower seeds and pepitas) but you can use any nuts and seeds you like. At the end of this recipe you'll find directions for making Chocolate Banana Nut Clusters, which are surprisingly not sweet, but pleasantly so.

Eat these clusters like any other dry cereal or granola, in a bowl with milk or as a topping for organic whole milk yogurt.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • ½ cup raw hazelnuts
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
  • 2 ripe bananas, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup raw ground almonds

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Add the walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and coconut to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the bananas, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt to the food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to the bowl containing the nut mixture.
  4. Add the ground almonds to the bowl and stir until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  5. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the banana nut clusters from the oven and use a spatula to flip chunks over and break up the banana nut mixture into bite-sized clusters. Spread them into an even layer and return them to the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove the banana nut clusters from the oven and stir the mixture again. Return them to the oven for 10 more minutes (30 minutes total).
  8. Turn the oven off. Take out the banana nut clusters and stir them one more time. Put them back in the oven and allow them to cool. Once they are completely cooled to room temperature, transfer the clusters to an air-tight container at room temperature.
  9. Serve with milk or yogurt.

To make Chocolate Banana Nut Clusters:

Follow the recipe above with the addition of 1/4 cup cocoa-powder and an extra egg, added to the banana mixture. 


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