Monday, January 21, 2013

Crunchy Nut Granola

Granola is the best! I used to think it was so healthy until I actually read the ingredients and nutrion label on many store bought brands. I was amazed at how much sugar and random ingredients were in the granola. Since sugar is a trigger for my flare ups and I like to eat granola, we set out to make our own! Granola is not as hard as it looks to make. I featured a pumpkin granola during my Pumpkin Recipe Roundup in October last year.

Crunchy Nut Granola

Personally, I could eat pumpkin granola every day, but Ryan likes a bit of variety outside pumpkin season and most people aren't as obsessed with pumpkin as I am. So we set out to create a basic granola recipe that was versatile enough for everyone! 

When I say "basic granola recipe," I mean that the measurements and cooking temperature and time won't change, but the ingredients are easily substituted based on your tastes.

Crunchy Nut Granola

Nuts and Seeds

As long as you have 2 cups of nuts and seeds total, this will be a good ratio to the oats. I like to start with raw seeds and nuts because they contain more nutrients and toasting myself adds a nice flavor and aroma to the granola (not to mention makes your house smell amazing)! There are a variety of nuts and seeds to add in, and I usually change the mixture every time I make this. If you have a Trader Joe's near you, they have very reasonably priced raw nuts and seeds. Here are some suggestions:
  • almonds
  • hazelnuts
  • cashews
  • walnuts
  • pistachios
  • pecans
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seed
  • chia seeds (added at the end after cooking)


I don't like a very sweet granola, so the basic recipe is not sweet. However, honey or agave nectar can easily be added to the applesauce mixture for more sweetness. Start with 2-3 tablespoons and increase from there. Sweetened applesauce can also be used instead of unsweetened, just make sure to use organic so you aren't adding in any unnatural sweeteners. 

If molasses is not a desired taste, this can be substituted with brown sugar, honey or agave nectar. We like the earthy flavor of molasses in this granola though.

Crunchy Nut Granola

Last Minute Additions

After the granola cooks, I usually like to add in some different textures like dried fruit, chocolate or coconut flakes. For dried fruit, I like to use a combination of tart cherries and currants, however, I have added dried cranberries, apples, raisins and apricots in the past. All have been delicious!

Coconut is another addition that can easily be left off. This is one of the most fought over ingredients in our kitchen. Ryan despises the taste of coconut and can even taste coconut oil in my cooking. I tend to add in the coconut last so that I can make half the recipe without it for him.Chocolate chips or chunks could easily be added to this recipe as well to sweeten up the mix.

Even though we have perfected this gluten-free granola, our next kitchen experiment is a grain-free granola! Enjoy and let me know what your favorite flavor combinations are!

Crunchy Nut Granola

Crunchy Nut Granola

Makes: 8 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes + 25 minutes

5 T olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 c molasses
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
4 c old fashioned oats (use gluten free if available)
2 c raw nuts and seeds (mixture of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, cashews)
1 c dried fruit (cranberries, currants, cherries, apples)
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1/4 c honey (optional)

In a large saute pan, toast the nuts and seeds until fragrant and lightly browned. Be careful not to burn them (they will burn fast)! This took about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool.

Toasting Raw Nuts

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Once the nut/seed mixture is cooled, roughly chop them in a food processor or by hand.

In a large bowl, mix the (honey if using) oil, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, molasses, applesauce, vanilla extract and almond extract until well combined. Stir in the oats and the chopped nuts and seeds. The granola will be slightly moist, this is good.

Evenly layer the mixed granola onto the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. When stirring, there should be steam that escapes, this is good and helps make the granola crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in the coconut flakes and dried fruit and store in an air tight container for up to one month.

No comments:

Post a Comment