People have found uses for the flax plant for hundreds of thousands of years. The plant fiber has been used to produce linen, twine, and rope. Painters used linseed oil –the oil from flax seed– as a paint-drying agent. This week the 38 Power Foods blog group celebrates flax for its health benefits.
The flax seed is a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an essential fatty acid in the omega-3 family. ALA provides anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits, and studies show that the ground seed is good for lowering one’s cholesterol and for lessoning the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels. It also provides a lot of fiber. Eating whole seeds will have the effect of a natural laxative for someone with a sluggish digestive system. My mother-in-law, for example, adds two tablespoons to her cereal daily to keep her regular. You should use the ground seed to take advantage of the nutritional benefits. Keep in mind that ground flax seed goes rancid quickly, so it’s best to buy whole brown seeds and grind them as you use them, and store both the whole seeds and the ground flax in the freezer.
About the recipe: If you look around at granola recipes (1, 2, 3) you start to see common elements; oats, sweeteners, nuts, dried fruit, oil, flavorings, and salt. I came up with this recipe for Cocoa Granola with Flax and Other Power Goodies using all to the above ingredients and cocoa powder to mask the strong flavor that flax leaves in the mouth. The dried fruit is optional because the cereal is more easily digested without it. Updated February 26th, 2013 to include recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Baking Time: 25 minutes Yield: 4-1/2 cups
2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup organic brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons cane sugar
2 tablespoons water
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, ground in a coffee mill (Grinding is optional)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup ground and toasted flax seed
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Optional – 1/3 cup raisins, or another of your favorite dried fruit
1. Pre-heat the oven to 300°
2. In a small pot, mix the brown rice syrup, the cane sugar, and the water. Bring the liquids to a boil and cook until it is very foamy. Remove it from the heat and then add the olive oil, the chocolate extract, and the vanilla. Stir the ingredients well and then set the pot aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix the rolled oats, the coconut, the almonds, the ground flax seeds, the cinnamon, and the salt. Add the syrup to the dry ingredients and mix it well by using a spatula to fold the cereal over itself until it is well combined.
4. On a sheetpan, spread the cereal out and bake it for 12 minutes. After this remove the sheet pan from the oven, stir the cereal well and pat it into a pile about ¾-inch thick. Return the pan to the oven and bake another 12 minutes.
5. After you remove the granola from the oven, press the cereal together and then flatten it using the back of a spatula. Let it cool and then break the cereal into clumps. Add the optional fruit.
Other granola recipes:
Coconut Granola, Two Peas and Their Pod
Easy Homemade Granola, The Amateur Gourmet
How to Make Homemade Granola, The Prepared Pantry
If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up! Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots, Casey –SweetSav Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits