My birthday gift to myself was a juicer; in the past month I’ve had a field day creating all sorts of concoctions, many of which look like swamp water but taste delicious! When you juice fruits and vegetables, you’re left with a good deal of pulp that usually goes right into the garbage. I hate waste, though, so have been saving up the carrot pulp with plans to use it in baking.
I realize many reading this don’t have the means to juice carrots… never fear! I would suggest simply whirring a few through a food processor. Another alternative would be to actually pick up some jarred baby food carrots. Having the consistency as soft and mushy as possible. Sounds appetizing, right?
I promise, having the mush on hand is worth the effort, as it makes for some very tasty granola. I tried this technique back in the fall with canned pumpkin, but somehow never got around to posting it. Today’s carrot cake granola uses the moisture from applesauce and carrot to stick together, and egg whites to ensure crispness out of the oven. The natural sweetness of fruit and vegetable also reduce the need for much additional sweetener.
Granola can be made out of so many different things. The photos in today’s post show the grain-free version I made today, with a base of sunflower seeds, raw pecans and sliced almonds. If you want more traditional granola I would recommend using old-fashioned oats as well. I have often used various cereals as well; puffed rice and other small, crunchy varieties work very well.
I realized when I already had prep underway that our pantry was out of raisins. I don’t really keep them on hand, as neither kid likes them in cookies and bars, but I think they would definitely enhance this recipe. Cranberries, currants or a little dried pineapple (if you can find some not coated in sugar) would all compliment the flavors as well. Simply add the dried fruit in the last five minutes of baking to ensure they don’t get burnt.
The girl enjoyed a few handfuls today as a post-soccer snack, and I had a bowl topped with blueberries and a little coconut milk.
Carrot Cake Granola
3 cups total granola “base” (oats, nuts, seeds, cereal)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (can also use 1 tsp. cinnamon plus 1/4 tsp. each nutmeg & allspice)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup carrot pulp or puree
2 tbs. raw honey or maple syrup
2 egg whites, beaten until frothy
1/2 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 325. Place granola base in a large bowl and add spices and salt. In a separate smaller bowl combine applesauce, carrot, liquid sweetener, extract and egg whites. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well.
Spread out on a greased or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, then flip over and stir in coconut. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Allow granola to cool so that it will crisp up.