Granola with coconut milk in a bowl

Cherry orange granola with coconut milk!

Easy Orange Cherry Tigernut Granola. That’s a mouthful! Actually, it is – when I make this recipe, it’s hard to not eat the entire batch raw even before I’ve baked it! Frankly, it would make a fantastically good, sticky sort of muesli… but no. Granola.

Before I move on: Tigernuts! Tigernuts are not nuts. They’re actually a tuber, and totally Autoimmune Protocol-compliant. High in fiber, tigernuts are a good source of healthy fats and prebiotic resistant starch. The flakes make a great substitute for rolled oats, and the ground flour is a great sub for grainy-textured flours like graham and whole wheat. For more info on tigernuts, check out my All About Tigernuts post.

Most folks think of granola as a breakfast food. I’m not actually a proponent of granola for breakfast. At least, granola alone for breakfast. Why? Granola isn’t generally a high-protein dish. Over on my Easy Lemon Ginger Tigernut Granola post, I write about how protein intake is important for starting your day; it balances blood sugar after the night’s fast, energizes the body and mind… you can read more over there. So promise me – if you eat this for breakfast, you will add in a good source of protein with it.

Suggestion: If you eat it with your favorite Paleo/AIP ‘milk’, add in a TBS of collagen hydrolysate for an added 6g protein. Be sure to use collagen hydrolysate, not gelatin; it will dissolve in liquid, while gelatin will not.

dried cherries held in a palm

these whole dried Rainier cherries are ginormous!

A note on cherries – I leave the dried cherries out till after the baking is done. Why? Because the cherries I use are huge and juicy, and I don’t want them to soak up any more liquid (the melted coconut oil and maple syrup). If that added moisture gets stuck in the cherries, they will be more likely to get moldy or go bad in storage.

I also chop my cherries – I buy dried Rainier cherries from Chukar Cherries (local Pacific Northwest produced for the WIN!) and I swear they must be the size of apricots when they are on the tree. The dried ones are ginormous! If I was a bear, I’d live in their orchard.

Watch out for oils on the cherries – Most brands that produce dried cherries, raisins, blueberries and such add sunflower oil to keep the fruits from sticking together. While sunflower seeds are allowed on a Paleo diet, they are not allowed on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) due to their tendency to irritate the gut lining.

AIP folk – When you source your cherries, read the label to check for oils. Chukar Cherries (pronounced “chuk-er”) does not add oil to their Rainier and Bing cherries (though they do add it to some of their other products). Currently their Rainiers are not available on Amazon, but I linked the Bings for you above in case you want to check them out. The Bings are a bit smaller than the Rainiers, with their own flavor. I like them both!

A note on seed oils for Paleo folk – Seed oils easily go rancid, and you never know how long the dried fruit production factory has had theirs sitting around. Avoid if possible.

Granola making tips

granola fresh out of the oven on a baking pan

hot out of the oven, before adding cherries

Don’t burn it! Granola is easy to burn. Generally, it’s done before your eyes say it’s perfect, so take it out when it’s light golden brown, not later. You can always put it back in the oven if it cools a bit and you decide you want it darker.

Turn the edges frequently! While baking, the edges brown and dry out first – they will burn if ignored, so it’s important to frequently turn the edges back into the mix as it bakes. This also mixes the tasty maple syrup and coconut oil back in.

Stop baking before it looks dry! The mix will still look moist when it’s ready to come out of the oven – if you let it get dry, it’s likely burnt.

Watch your granola like a hawk! I turn mine with a big spoon about every 5-8 minutes while it’s baking.

Easy Orange Cherry Tigernut Granola {AIP, Paleo}

Makes about 4.5 cups dry granola
Serve with your favorite AIP or Paleo “milk”, or eat right out of your feed bag

Ingredients

2 cups tigernut flakes
2 cups wide coconut flakes (fine flakes work too)
3 tsp grated orange zest (make sure to distribute it well in the bowl when you mix)
1 tsp vanilla bean powder (or 2 tsp liquid vanilla)
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil (measured after melting, not before)
1/2 cup maple syrup – use Grade B for extra POWer! If you like barely-sweet foods, cut the maple in half and add a TBS of applesauce to sub for the liquid.
1 cup dried cherries, chopped, for after baking

Instructions

1. Make sure your oven’s baking shelf is equally distant from both heating elements. Granola is easy to burn!

2. Preheat oven to 275°F. If you have an old, rebellious oven like mine, watch your granola like a hawk 😉
NOTE: Keep an eye on the granola as it bakes; you might need to turn your oven down a few degrees.

3. Line a full-sized baking sheet with parchment paper. If you halve this recipe, you only need half the pan covered; place the paper in the center so the granola dries evenly.

4. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients – except the cherries – well with a spoon, making sure the liquids coat all the dry items.

5. Taste test and congratulate yourself if you do not consume the entire batch raw.

6. Place the mix (w/o cherries) on the papered baking sheet, and using a spatula or the back of a large spoon, spread evenly to about ¼ inch thickness.

7. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the center of the shelf, and bake for 25-40 minutes until nicely browned; use less time for chewier granola, more for crunchier granola (watch closely for burning).

8. Stir a few times during baking to assure even baking. Make sure to reincorporate any liquids that run to the edges of the pan – that’s the sweetness and oil that is so tasty on the trail! The edges tend to get brown first and can easily burn – make sure to turn that stuff into the mix a few times during baking.

9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, stir another time, and let the granola cool completely.

10. Once cool, break it up with your clean hands and remember to mix in the chopped dried cherries.

11. Package in an airtight container. I prefer a glass jar with a tight lid. Remember to label with date, and ingredients if it matters to you.

12. Store in a cool, dark place, preferably the fridge.

Easy Orange Cherry Tigernut Granola {AIP, Paleo}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups tigernut flakes
  • 2 cups wide coconut flakes (fine flakes work too)
  • 3 tsp grated orange zest (make sure to distribute it well in the bowl when you mix)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder (or 2 tsp liquid vanilla)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil (measured after melting, not before)
  • ½ cup maple syrup – use Grade B for extra POWer! If you like barely-sweet foods, cut the maple in half and add a TBS of applesauce to sub for the liquid.
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped, for after baking
Instructions
  1. Make sure your oven's baking shelf is equally distant from both heating elements. Granola is easy to burn!
  2. Preheat oven to 275°F. If you have an old, rebellious oven like mine, watch your granola like a hawk 😉 NOTE: Keep an eye on the granola as it bakes; you might need to turn your oven down a few degrees.
  3. Line a full-sized baking sheet with parchment paper. If you halve this recipe, you only need half the pan covered; place the paper in the center so the granola dries evenly.
  4. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients – except the cherries – well with a spoon, making sure the liquids coat all the dry items.
  5. Taste test and congratulate yourself if you do not consume the entire batch raw.
  6. Place the mix (w/o cherries) on the papered baking sheet, and using a spatula or the back of a large spoon, spread evenly to about ¼ inch thickness.
  7. Place the baking sheet in the oven on the center of the shelf, and bake for 25-40 minutes until nicely browned; use less time for chewier granola, more for crunchier granola (watch closely for burning at the edges).
  8. Stir a few times during baking to assure even baking. Make sure to reincorporate any liquids that run to the edges of the pan – that’s the sweetness and oil that is so tasty on the trail! The edges tend to get brown first and can easily burn - make sure to turn that stuff into the mix a few times during baking.
  9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, stir another time, and let the granola cool completely.
  10. Once cool, break it up with your clean hands and remember to mix in the chopped dried cherries.
  11. Package in an airtight container. I prefer a glass jar with a tight lid. Remember to label with date, and ingredients if it matters to you.
  12. Store in a cool, dark place, preferably the fridge.
 

If you plan to keep this for a while, store in the freezer; make sure that lid is on really tight to avoid condensation.

I keep this in my kitchen cabinet for about a week, and in the fridge or freezer for longer.

Trail advice

When you package this for the trail, use an oil-proof container. Don’t toss it in a paper bag and right into your pack; the coconut oil is soft at most summer air temperatures, and it will leak through. The bonus of the oil is that it’s uh-mazing for your body on the trail!

granola in a blue bowl

fresh out of the oven, the granola still looks moist