Have you ever tried to find a breakfast cereal that’s low in added sugars, has ingredients you recognize and also isn’t priced like a precious metal? Yeah, it’s hard. That’s how I came to using soy pulp (the leftover solids from homemade soy milk) to make this amazing Okara Breakfast Granola.
First off, don’t confuse Okara Granola with Sakara Granola. Okara is soy pulp. Sakara is a pricey meal planning program. My okara granola makes about 1.5 pounds of homemade breakfast cereal for almost nothing. An 11 ounce bag of Sakara Granola costs $18.
Another key driver behind this recipe is to find another healthy breakfast option for our kids. There’s a huge convenience factor in cereal, however, 99% of the cereals in the supermarket have far too much sugar and too many added preservatives and artificial ingredients.
I’m a huge believer in Michael Pollan’s Food Rules and pretty much every box of cereal violates his first three rules….especially #1:
Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?”Michael Pollan
Start by Making Your Own Soy Milk
This adventure actually started with a different battle with “Added Sugars”: commercial soy milk. Of the dozens of varieties of non-dairy milk in the average grocery, there’s unfortunately only 1 or 2 cartons of soy milk that are unsweetened.
For the past couple of years, we’ve been cooking with more Plant Based Proteins (PBPs), instead of meat, to help manage cholesterol and cut down on saturated fats. Soy Milk, for example, is a great addition to smoothies to dial up the PBP’s.
And if you are also keeping an eye on your blood glucose levels, then you know it’s a real challenge to find unsweetened soy milk in the supermarket. There are dozens of varieties, but very few that don’t have added sugars.
There’s also another downfall to buying a lot of unsweetened soy milk. You end up with a lot of containers to throw out. When you make DIY soy milk, you’re in full control of the added sugars and you’re cutting down on a lot of waste!
Choosing and Using a Soy Milk Maker
It’s pretty straightforward to make your own nut milks, provided you have a powerful blender like a Vitamix and a nut milk bag for separating the solids. Raw, soaked nuts are no match for the Vitamix.
However, soybeans need to be cooked first to make the proteins digestible. As much as I’m against single-purpose kitchen appliances, a soy milk machine was intriguing because it could handle the cooking and grinding all in one machine.
So after a fair amount of research, I bought the SoyaJoy G4 on Amazon. Not only does it make great soy milk from soaked beans, it also makes raw nut milks and juices. Pick up a bag of dried soybeans and you’re pretty much set for months.
After the homemade soy milk is done cooking in the SoyaJoy, filter it through the included sieve into a pitcher. The solids left behind in the sieve/colander are known as Okara. This is what you’ll want to save because it’s absolutely packed with fiber and protein.
Turnover Leftover Soy Pulp into Okara Granola
It turns out that there’s a lot one can do with leftover soy pulp and I’m just getting started making recipes for it. One of the most fascinating aspects of cooking with okara, aside from the strong nutritional value, is the sustainability element. You’re using every bit of the soybeans with no food waste.
Unlike popular Food Blogger topics like Instant Pots and gluten free baked goods, there aren’t a lot of bloggers writing about what can be made with okara. One of the most common recipes does seem to be for making okara granola.
Though, once again, most of the recipes I found had way too much sugar in them. They call for, what I feel, is a crazy amount of brown sugar and honey. So it’s time to go into Test Kitchen mode and figure out the right ratios for making granola my own way.
Making Homemade Granola in the Oven
This is really no different than any other homemade granola recipe. Mix up a batter, spread out on a sheet pan and dehydrate in the oven at a low temperature for a few hours.
A 1:1 ratio of Okara to Oatmeal works best here. To that, add about 2 cups of dry ingredients such as nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Granola with dried fruit is a great way to add sweetness without any extra honey or sugar.
You need a little bit of oil to help get it crunchy and a little bit of honey for sweetness. In this recipe, I dialed each of them down to the bare minimum while still getting the right balance of crunch and sweet.
If you are looking to add a little more heft to this, substitute a scoop or two of vanilla protein powder for the vanilla extract.
Unlike a lot of “healthy” cereals out there, our kids love it! And for a lot of different reasons. First, it’s really easy to mix everything out and spread out. Second, they get to pick out all the different dry ingredients that go into it. And third, it’s a breakfast they can make them selves.
And best of all, it’s a surprisingly good cereal!
Turn your leftover soy pulp into this healthy, low sugar Okara Breakfast Granola. It's a sustainable homemade cereal that the whole family will love!
- 2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
- 2 Cups Okara (Soy Pulp)
- 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Ounces Honey
- 3 Ounces Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract or 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 2 Cups Nuts, Seeds and Dried Fruits Almonds, Raisins, Chia, Flax, Coconut Flakes, etc.
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl
Spread out onto a half sheet pan (lined with foil or a silpat)
Bake for 2 hours at 250 degrees, stirring every 30 minutes. Leave your oven door open slightly so that moisture can escape and dehydrate the ingredients.
Increase heat to 325 and cook another 30 minutes for added crunch. Check and stir every 10 minutes (it can go from crunchy to overcooked rather quickly!)
Let cool thoroughly before storing in an airtight container. The granola will set up more as it cools.
- 1/2 Cup Flax Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Hemp Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Flakes
- 1/2 Cup Raisins
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Almond
- 1/4 Cup Hemp Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Flax Seeds
- 1/4 Cup Goji Berries
- 1/4 Cup Raisins