In Los Angeles where I live, temperatures reach over 100°F in the summer, and the very last thing I want to do is turn on the oven to make granola. A good food dehydrator costs as little as $40, and not only makes the best granola, but is great for drying summer fruits, such as strawberries, when they are in abundance. (This recipe was inspired by and adapted from a recipe by Miyoko Schinner.)
2 pounds gluten-free oats
1½ cups almond meal
5 cups date paste (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon roasted cinnamon
½ tablespoon cardamom
2 pounds raisins
1. In very large bowl, mix all of the ingredients except for the raisins (I find this is best done using latex-free food service gloves). Make sure the date paste is fully incorporated into the oats.
2. Place this onto 5-6 dehydrator trays covered with Teflex or parchment paper, and dehydrate at desired temperature for up to 48 hours.
3. After about 8 hours, when the gRAWnola is dry to the touch, take it out and crumble it with your hands into the desired size chunks. Remove the Teflex or parchment paper, and place the gRAWnola directly onto the screen to finish dehydrating.
4. Pour the dried gRAWnola into a very large bowl, let cool, and stir in the raisins. Store in an airtight container.
Note: You may substitute dried cranberries or goji berries for the raisins.
Chef AJ has been devoted to a plant-based diet for almost 40 years, and is proud to say that her IQ is higher than her cholesterol. She is the host of the television series Healthy Living with Chef AJ, which airs on Foody TV, and also hosts a weekly podcast of the same name. As a comedienne as well as a chef, she has made appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Late Show with David Letterman. She is the author of the popular books The Secrets to Ultimate Weight Loss: A Revolutionary Approach to Conquer Cravings, Overcome Food Addiction and Lose Weight Without Going Hungry, and Unprocessed, the co-producer of Healthy Taste of L.A., and the creator of the Ultimate Weight Loss Program, which has helped hundreds of people achieve the health and body they deserve. Chef AJ was also the executive pastry chef at Santé Restaurant in Los Angeles, where she was famous for her sugar-, oil-, salt- and gluten-free desserts, which used the fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the whole fruit. Chef AJ holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and is a member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.