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Orange Hazel Nut Fig Granola – Figs are high in antioxidants, potassium, fiber, iron, and unusual for a fruit it is also high in calcium. With some of these precious jewels in my possession, I just had to FIG-ure out what I wanted to do with them. And since I have been on a granola roll… I got busy in the kitchen.
Fresh figs are new to me and boy do I love them! I spent 28 years in Alaska and never saw a fresh one. It wasn’t until I attended raw culinary school that I discovered these little gems. They have a sensuous and sculptured appearance, like a little package containing a great secret.
The fig itself, the soft pod that we eat, is actually the base of the fig plant’s flower. Figs are very popular and usually end up being dried and used in sweets, the complete fruit is completely edible. Dried figs keep well without refrigeration and have a concentrated, sweet flavor.
The other star ingredient in today’s recipe is quinoa. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture with a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.” And what gold it is, high in protein, band not just any protein but a complete protein, for it includes all nine essential amino acids.
Quinoa’s amino acid profile is well-balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, and it is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Because quinoa is a such good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.
Yields 12 cups dried granola chunks
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.