Granola is an incredibly healthy breakfast or snack. You can enjoy it with milk, fruit, yogurt or even ice cream! A few years ago, Craig and I got on a homemade granola kick – we came up with all kinds of fun recipes, including pina colada granola, which I may make this weekend for you. Granola combines some of my favorite things, whole grains with crunchy nuts and dried fruit. I love the endless combinations and possibilities you can concoct with these simple ingredients. It just so happens that these ingredients are also super healthy, packing in a bunch of healthy fiber and filling protein.
Seeds and nuts are key to healthy eating. In addition to keeping you full, these tasty treats are versatile and can be thrown in pretty much anything. Right now I’m enjoying leftover pumpkin and sunflower seeds on my salads and they are so great. Here is a quick rundown of the vitamins and minerals packed in this version:
- Almonds: packed with brain boosting L-carnitine, phosphorus and riboflavin, these nuts lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Walnuts: filled with antixoidants, walnuts help to lower cancer risk and are filled with omega-3′s, manganese, and copper.
- Pumpkin Seeds: chock full of magnesium, phosphorus and iron, they also cram in a bunch of vitamin K, copper and zinc.
- Flax Seeds: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, zinc, iron, calcium ad vitamin E.
- Sunflower Seeds: excellent source of vitamins E and B1
- Chia Seeds: with 42% of your recommended daily fiber in each serving, these are filled with omega-3s and 6s.
This recipe is super easy. When making homemade granola, the binding usually comes from the addition of oil and sweetener to the oat/nut mixture. Here, I cut way back on both by substituting unsweetened apple sauce. It helps to create that tasty sticky sweetness without a ton of added calories. I flavored this mixture with vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. It was just sweet enough with a hint of spice. As an optional addition, I added chopped, dried unsweetened cranberries, but you could use raisins or dates as well.
- 5 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ¾ cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
- ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup oat bran
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup ground flaxseeds
- ¼ cup honey or agave nectar
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- optional: 1 cup chopped dried cranberries or raisins
- Preheat oven to 300
- In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts and seeds, toss to combine
- In a small saucepan, add honey/agave, apple sauce, vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until thickened
- Drizzle wet ingredients over the oat/nut mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until totally coated. This will take a bit of effort to get everything mixed
- Spread mixture in a thin layer on parchment paper, this recipe will make two large cookie sheets worth
- Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until the oats are golden brown
- Add optional cranberries or raisins