Raw Buckwheat Granola Recipe

Two years ago, I met a young British woman named Poppy — that alone made my day — who introduced herself as a raw chocolatier.

I had a taste of her heart-shaped raw chocolates, assembled from raw Arriba cacao and a bunch of raw superfoods, and liked them so much I devoted one of my ELLE à table columns to them.

And when we met one day for her to demonstrate her chocolate-making prowess, she gave me a bag of her raw buckwheat granola, which was one of the items she served during the raw brunches she then hosted at Bob’s Juice Bar in Paris.

I can’t picture myself “going raw”, but I do admire the necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention effect of such dietary limitations, and I love learning about, and tasting, the entirely new dishes they spur.

If you’ve been scratching your head over the high incidence of the adjective raw in the above paragraphs, I’ll quickly explain: raw foodists, or proponents of “living foods”, consider that the nutritional benefits of plant-based ingredients are essentially lost when they are heated beyond a certain temperature — the exact threshold varies depending on whom you ask, but it’s around 40-46°C (100-115°F). So their (often vegan) diet focuses on unprocessed raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as sprouted seeds, grains and legumes.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m immensely curious about this kind of rebellious diet. I couldn’t picture myself “going raw” — I like bread and comté cheese too much — but I do admire the necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention effect of such dietary limitations, and I love learning about, and tasting, the entirely new dishes they spur.

Especially when they’re as fantastic as Poppy’s raw granola. When I asked how she made it, I was a little deflated to learn it required a food dehydrator, which my arsenal didn’t include, and certainly regretful that I had munched down the bag so fast.

Fast-forward two years, and I find myself with a food dehydrator on loan for a month. What was my first impulse? Yes, exactly.

I emailed Poppy again to get details, and although she didn’t have an exact recipe to share, she was able to explain the straightforward process: soak* some buckwheat groats, soak some almonds and/or nuts and seeds of your choice, combine with honey, spices, and salt, and dehydrate.

I followed Poppy’s directions for the most part, filling in the blanks when it came to the actual amounts of each ingredient, and adding a little coconut oil because I felt like it. I have also read that you can sprout the buckwheat in addition to soaking — as demonstrated in these videos — and I may try it next time, but I’m here to tell you it works splendidly without that extra step.

It is really quite amazing how the somewhat slimy mixture — buckwheat groats become viscous little things when soaked — transforms itself in such crunchy, nutty clusters. The buckwheat flavor is subtle, which I like, and blends beautifully with the nuts, honey and spices to form a delicate alliance.

Because I prefer bread for breakfast, I’ve been eating my raw buckwheat granola as an afternoon snack, with fresh fruit and homemade kefir.

I think I may like it even better than regular baked granola, of which I am terribly fond, and although I’m still hesitant to acquire a dehydrator of my own, this recipe alone might be all the convincing I need.

* The purpose of soaking grains, nuts and seeds is explained here.

Raw Buckwheat Granola Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 13 hours

Total Time: 30 hours

Makes about 350 grams, 3 1/3 cups.

Raw Buckwheat Granola Recipe

Ingredients

  • 185 grams (1 cup) raw buckwheat groats, not toasted (in natural food stores; raw buckwheat groats are beige with green highlights, not to be mistaken with kasha, which is toasted and brown)
  • 65 grams (1/2 cup) whole unblanched almonds, not toasted
  • 2 tablespoons walnut halves, not toasted
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, not toasted
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey (if unavailable substitute a good artisanal honey)
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon warm spices of your choice (such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla -- I used a Roellinger spice mix called poudre equinoxiale; adjust the amount to your taste)
  • sea salt

Instructions

  1. In the morning the day before, soak the buckwheat: place the buckwheat groats in a medium bowl and cover generously with filtered water. The buckwheat will expand when soaked, so make sure the bowl is large enough and you're generous with the water.
  2. 8 to 10 hours later, drain the buckwheat and rinse it thoroughly in several baths of water: after the soaking they'll have exuded a sort of slimy substance, so the idea is to rub the grains gently to remove as much of that slime as possible.
  3. Drain well and place the buckwheat in a wide colander until morning.
  4. The same night, place the almonds, walnuts and sesame seeds in a bowl, cover with water, and soak overnight.
  5. In the morning, drain the almonds, walnuts, and sesame seeds and chop roughly.
  6. Place in a medium mixing bowl and add the honey, coconut oil, spices, and salt, and toss vigorously to combine. Add the buckwheat and toss to combine.
  7. Spread on a dehydrator tray lined with a lightly greased solid sheet (don't spread it directly on a mesh tray or it will be a mess), to form a layer no thicker than 1 cm (1/3") -- this amount fit neatly onto a single tray of the round dehydrator I've borrowed, which is 39 cm (15 1/3") in diameter.
  8. Start the dehydrator on 63°C (145°F) for 3 hours (Poppy recommends it to avoid fermentation, and notes that the moisture coming out of the ingredients will in fact keep them at a lower temp at this stage), then lower to 43°C (110°F) for another 10 hours, until dry and crisp. About 6 hours into the dehydrating, flip the granola cautiously over on the sheet -- it will start breaking into clusters, that's okay -- to ensure even dehydrating.
  9. Let cool and, if desired, add chopped dried fruit, dried coconut flakes, cacao nibs, etc. (I prefer to add these juste before eating.) Keep in an airtight jar at room temperature for about 2 weeks.
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  • http://www.nuttygnome.blogspot.com Nutty Gnome

    I’ve not had raw buckwheat, but I do roast my own and add it to my own muesli mix for breakfast – I love the nutty crunch it gives. I also add it to crumble mix or anything else I can possibly sneak it into! :)

  • http://www.crispytarts.blogspot.com the French

    As soon as I can get my hands on a dehydrator…

    How do you make kefir?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You just buy the ferment (in France, it’s sold at pharmacies under the brand name Yalacta), mix it with milk and let it sit at room temperature until it’s set and tangy. Easy! The only challenge is finding the ferment, I guess, but I’m sure you can find a source online.

  • http://www.fromsingletomarried.com Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    Thanks for the clarification on how to find buckwheat groats – I have to say I’ve not used them before and don’t want to get the wrong thing. :) Great recipe!

    • Pam

      I was just looking at Bob’s Red Mill line of products on the website. They carry Buckwheat Groats and you can order them on line if you wish. Otherwise I saw they carry it in the natural foods section of Fred Meyer as well. Good luck.

  • Bliss

    I love your blog, especially because it makes many intimidating recipes much more approachable – especially when it comes to baking bread! You mention in this post that you make homemade kefir; could you provide a recipe or discuss this process? I really enjoy kefir, but its only available at high end markets where I live and I’d love to try to make it myself. Thanks!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      See my response to the French above!

  • http://www.citylifeeats.com Valerie @ City|Life|Eats

    I love raw granola – thank you for sharing your recipe :) I too am fascinated by raw foods, while I would never want to give up my cooked goods. I have found the blog Choosing Raw to be a great resource – despite the name, the blog is more about semi-raw living, and makes raw recipes so very accessible :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check it out!

      • http://www.choosingraw.com Gena

        Valerie,

        Thanks from the bottom of my heart for the shout!

        And Clotilde, I’ve worshipped your blog from afar for a good long time. I am tremendously excited that you’re excited about raw foods. I, like you, find cooked foods a necessary part of my life, but I do eat mostly raw, and try to show readers that eating semi- or mostly-raw is possible: it’s not an all or nothing life, as indicated by some more extreme raw purists.

        I have a recipe for dehydrator free raw buckwheat bars that most of my readers turn into granola. I find it gauche to post links in other peoples’ comments, but you can search the site for them easily.

        Be well!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          I’m pleased that Valerie pointed us to your site, Gena, it’s a valuable resource for the raw-curious, and it’s very approachable.

          Thanks for letting us know about the buckwheat granola bars, they look good! Links are very welcome around here when they’re relevant to the discussion, so let me post it for you.

          • http://www.choosingraw.com Gena

            Thanks a million, Clotilde! I’m honored to be up here.

            Buckwheat groats, soaked and dehydrated, can also make for a wonderful raw “flour” — simply grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor.

            Cheers :)

          • http://www.citylifeeats.com Valerie @ City|lLife|Eats

            Just realized the two of you connected via your blogs :)

          • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

            We did — thanks for the introduction, Valerie!

  • maus

    I love raw, healthy diets for balance, though I do think that “superfoods” is a bit overused and with exaggerated benefits :D

  • Susan

    Two great tips: the soaked and dehydrated buckwheat sounds like a fantastic addition to my homemade granola, and reason not to get rid of the dehydrator. And a name and source for kefir starter, which the local Whole Foods stopped selling just when I figured out that you can’t make kefir without starter (unlike yoghurt)! I’ll be back in Paris next week and will head to the pharmacie tout de suite.

  • http://www.edenkitchen.com Joe @ Eden Kitchen

    This looks wonderful. Perfect timing because I have recently become addicted to a raw granola by little bird organics. But at $17 a bag I can’t have it as often as i’d like. Can’t wait to try making my own!

  • http://lacaffettierarosa.wordpress.com Caffettiera

    So there is no way around dehydrator usage here, I guess? how unfortunate, I am drooling over this one.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I think you could bake the mixture like a regular granola and still get a nice texture. It wouldn’t be a “raw” granola, but it would be good too!

  • http://www.extremehomeworkout.com Jessica

    Is it absolutely necessary to use a dehydrator? I’ve heard that you can use your oven on a low temperature for a long time to achieve a similar effect. Just curious.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      If your oven has a low enough setting, then yes, you can try to dehydrate the granola in it. But from what I understand, the problem with conventional ovens is that they aren’t designed to ventilate the moisture out, so it could take longer than with a dehydrator. Also, I’d be concerned about the fact that running an oven for that long is not very energy-efficient…

  • Alexandra

    Clotilde, I too have a fascination with the ingenious creations of raw foodists. I’ve recently discovered a raw food blog which does not cease to amaze me with its beauty and (imagined) yumminess, and I thought you might like to check it out as well.

    Also, raw buckwheat granola = yum. I may have to try making it in my oven; there are so many available around here in Toronto that I’ve never bothered.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for the raw blog recommendation, it looks great!

  • http://www.highimpactsitedesign.com Chris

    I love your blog and newsletter–thanks for keeping them up!
    Just a note on kefir–I have been making it for a couple of years now and the best way to get hold of a starter is to search online for “live kefir grains”. The product you buy as a starter is not the same and will only regenerate a few times, unlike the original grains that go on, and multiply, for ever–as they have for the last 6,000 years!

  • Larissa Friedenberg

    You can get kefir starter at New England Cheesemaking supply company. http://www.cheesemaking.com. I have been making cottage cheese (Russian tvorog) and ricotta for years, and had made yogurt some 30 years ago when I bought a Braun yogurt machine – which does not exist anymore. Lately I’ve been on a homemade fresh cheese mission and found this company which has everything! The cultures arrived last week (I ordered buttermilk, creme fraiche, fromage blanc, fromagina and mesophililc starter for yogurt – and the Yogotherm Yogurt Maker! In 12 hours I made a fantastic tasting buttermilk and a thick Fromagina (like creme-fraiche and cream cheese combo – so good, that my picky family finally quit asking me to buy cream cheese from the stores!
    Check it out.

  • http://www.honeyfromrock.blogspot.com Claudia

    I would do my granola in the(gas)oven, with pilot light only. I dehydrate lots of things in there and it is more efficient than my dehydrator, which seems to take much longer, and using up electricity. Just picked up some buckwheat groats (have never used that in granola) so I’m going to try this. but just out of curiosity, why soak the nuts?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’ve included a link at the bottom of the post that explains the purpose of soaking seeds, nuts and grains. Thanks for sharing your method!

  • http://www.foodjobs.com.au/ Manon@FoodJobs

    Looks yummy and healthy! Excatly what we all need after a winter filled with chocolate puds and ragus.

  • http://www.theteachercooks.com The Teacher Cooks

    Another amazing post! I have learned so much since I have been reading your blog. I love it!

  • Kelsi Pritchard

    Homemade granola is amazing. I have been making it for years with my aunt. I find the raw nuts and dried fruit from WholeFoods and top it all with Agave and cinnamon. Yum :)

  • Kelsi Pritchard

    Homemade Granola is Great! My aunt and I used to make it together and now it’s a grocery lifesaver. “Raw” granola with Agave and cinnamon is always necessary for a happy pantry :)

  • Ward O’Gara

    Clotilde, you are a star! I have ADHD and some traits of autism and have known for a long time now that gluten, dairy, and a list of foods too long to go into contribute to my symptoms. Today I rediscovered Buckwheat for the first time in over a year. I cooked the untoasted groats in soya milk with coconut oil and a little cardamom, and really enjoyed it! I’ve been looking for decent recipes since, and this is perfect.

    I love food, and love cooking even those foods I can’t eat. Next month I will begin working in a half-decent kitchen here in Wales for the first time (it suits the ADHD temperament so well, if not the ADHD diet), and so I am overdosing on “conventional”, that is, non-specialist diet blogs and TV programmes again. In the past I have always found that doing this leads me to experiment in ways that made me ill. No matter, I enjoyed this post and very much admire your blog. Keep it up!

    Besides, it has cheered me up while I’m here in bed with the flu, and while I’m working both this morning and evening!!

  • http://Http://www.foodieinberlin.com Suzy (foodie in Berlin)

    That must be one incredible granola to go to all that trouble!

  • http://www.seekingfood.blogspot.com jin

    i love this blog post! i recently made a documentary about raw foodists and i myself am NOT a raw foodist for all the reasons you mentioned in this blog. however, i hold raw foodists very dear to my heart for their will and for their passion for healthy living and i do try to be more conscious of what i eat now when i’m not indulging in kouglofs or amazing caramels i brought back from paris. let me know if you’d like to see the documentary (it’s online but password protected).

  • Emiily

    I made this granola and accidentally added too much oil. Do you have a recommendation of what I should do?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      How much more did you add, and did you taste it as made?

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