Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Granola
I used to shop at Trader Joe’s a lot. But, it’s nearly a half-hour away, and since my regular grocery trips already take me to three separate stores trying to accomodate our gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free diet, I needed to trim down my stops. Until last week, I hadn’t been there for a good six months.
But, on my rice milk recipe (which I still make every 10 days or so), a reader recently posted a comment about Trader Joe’s now having calcium-containing, gluten-free rice milk.* And, at a recent homeschooling field trip, an old acquaintance had brought some of Trader Joe’s gluten-free granola, and wanted me to try it. She’s not gluten-free; she just likes the taste. Wow. You don’t often find non-gf’ers eating g.f. food just for the taste of it. So, I thought it was time for a trip.
I have good news and bad news about TJ’s g.f. granola.
The good news is that it is really tasty. At my store, there were two types: Loaded Fruit & Nut, and Tropical Forest. “Loaded” lives up to its name. Tropical Forest has vanilla and coconut flavor (though, to my 6yo’s dismay, no actual coconut), and has Brazil nuts (which he, who is mostly nut-free, seems to tolerate well) and dried banana chunks. I do not like those banana chunks. They’re chewy/hard, brown and altogether unappetizing.
Both granolas’ substance is primarily made up of very small corn flakes and BB-sized nuggets that are strikingly similar to Perky’s Nutty Rice cereal. Both granolas also contain flax seeds and sesame seeds. The cereal is not clumped, like “normal” granola.
The only bad news, other than the weird banana chunks, is the price. It’s $3.69 for a 12 oz. pouch. $3.69. That’s a chunk of change for a smallish bag that makes about five reasonably-sized servings.
While the granolas were worth a try, and I might buy them again on a special occasion, the price is prohibitive. For our one-income family who’s already shelling out a chunk o’ change for weekly groceries, that is just too expensive for a bag of cereal.
However, all is not lost; getting the granola has inspired me to try concocting my own. I don’t know why I’ve never tried it before. I make homemade g.f. everything, and have long-lamented the dearth of good g.f. granolas on the market. I think, though, that it would be pretty easy to combine some Nutty Rice, some g.f. corn flakes, mixed dried fruits and seeds like pumpkin and sunflower, and maybe even stir them together with a light honey-sugar syrup so that it would cause the ingredients to clump. I’ll post a recipe, once I try it, if it’s successful.
* They do, indeed, now have g.f. organic rice milk. It comes in quart and half-gallons. $2.69 for a half-gallon, which is reasonable. It does contain calcium and a few other vitamins. HOWEVER, it contains NO protein. I got a few half-gallons for back-up, but I can’t see serving my kids a protein-free liquid as their staple “milk.”