a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
I’m gaga for goji berries lately. These beautiful ruby-colored dried berries are strangely tart, slightly salty, somewhat sweet and kind of earthy. And they make for a super healthy snack.
Goji berries hail from the Himalayas and are claimed to be one of the newest superfoods because of their potential health-boosting and disease-fighting properties. Specifically, goji berries are very high in antioxidants, vitamin C and dietary fiber. (By the way, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and tea are other examples of so-called superfoods.)
But I’ve got to be honest, goji berries take some getting used to; they are not crave-able on their own like, say, dried cranberries are. So to get my goji berry antioxidant boost in, I’ve started eating them by the handfuls with nuts and other dried fruit, as a kind of homemade trail mix; or I add them to my oatmeal or cereal in the morning.
I’ve also been throwing goji berries in to steep with my morning pot of white, green or black tea. I like the berries so much in the tea that I’m working on a new Zanitea blend to feature them.
I figured the goji berries would be a great addition to my favorite granola recipe. I alter this recipe almost every time I make it, experimenting with different types of nuts, dried fruits or other embellishments. This is a great base recipe from which you can explore a variety of ingredients based on your specific tastes or what you have on hand in the pantry.
Happy cooking and sipping!
(Adapted from the Very Crunchy Granola recipe in Molly Katzen’s Sunlight Café cookbook.)
Makes about 8 cups
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup barley flakes
1 cup flaxseed meal (or oat bran)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raw slivered or chopped almonds (or other raw nuts)
¾ cup canola oil
½ cup pure maple syrup (or honey)
1 tablespoon coconut extract (or vanilla extract)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup coconut flakes
½ cup dried goji berries
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Combine oats, barley flakes, flax, sunflower seeds, and almonds in a large bowl.
3. Combine the oil, maple syrup, and extract in a small mixing bowl. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl, then add the cinnamon, and stir to combine.
4. Bake for 45 minutes total, removing the baking sheet from the oven every 15 minutes to stir the granola around; this helps everything brown evenly. During the last 15-minute interval, stir in the coconut flakes; if you add them sooner, they may burn.
5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the granola to cool completely before stirring in the goji berries.
6. It will keep for a week or two in the pantry if stored in an airtight container.