Granola, if done correctly, can be a healthy snack for any occasion. Granola is a crisp wholegrain cereal based on oats, but you can use other grains as well. It’s slightly sweetened with honey, sugar or maple syrup, usually contains nuts and dried fruit and is baked to crisp. There’s also an unbaked, unsweetened version that is usually softer and typically referred to as Muesli.
Many ready-made granolas are high in fat and sugar as well as expensive. However, with a few simple tweaks, you can have an energy boosting, healthy snack for a fraction of the cost.
The whole grains in granola provide slow-release energy to keep you feeling full longer. So they make an excellent snack to take to work or school. By using natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, coconut and dried fruits, you get a lighter version of the traditional snack.
Granola is also extremely versatile so you can add any kind of grain, nut, seed and dried fruit you want. As long as you keep the basic quantities the same, you can make a wide variety of granolas to suit your family.
Most granola recipes call for old-fashion rolled oats but it doesn’t have to stop there. Granola is so extremely versatile you can add any kind of grain, nut, seed and dried fruit you want. As long as you keep the basic quantities the same, you can make a wide variety of granolas to suit your family.
Here are some ideas for things you can include in your granola:
Grain – Oat meal (NOT instant or quick oats), rye flakes, barley flakes, quinoa, wheat bran
Oil – Coconut, olive or another healthy oil
Sweetener – Honey, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar.
Dried fruit – Raisins, dates, sweet coconut, currents, diced dry apples, pears, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, banana, figs, mango, pineapple and papaya
Nuts – Peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachio or almonds
Seeds – Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin or your favorite seeds
Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, ginger or any other spice that you like
Flavored chips – Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch
Candy – Chocolate coated candy, pieces of licorice or red licorice
Flavoring/extract – Vanilla, maple orange or your favorite extract. You can even use apple juice.
A basic recipe for granola will look something like this:
3-4 cups grain
1 1/2 cup nuts
1 1/2 cups seeds (optional)
1 cup coconut
1/2 – 3/4 cup sweetener
1/4 – 1/2 cup oil
3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon spices (combined)
1 cup dried fruit (optional & added after baking)
1 cup candy pieces (optional & added after baking)
In a large bowl, mix the grains, nuts, seeds and coconut. In a smaller bowl, mix the sweetener, extract, spices, salt and oil. Pour liquid over grains and mix until everything is well coated.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir and bake another 15-20 minutes or until toasty brown.
Add fruit and candy, mix well. Allow granola to cool completely and store in an airtight container on the counter for up to ten days or freeze for up to 90 days.
Granola is such an easy thing to make and because of its versatility it’s something that everyone will enjoy. Try using different fruits, grains and seed mixes for a custom snack. Be sure to write down the measurements so you can keep track of your favorites.