Trying to eat healthier? Skip the cereal aisle on your next trip to the grocery store and make your own granola instead. Homemade granola is a simple blend of rolled oats, nuts, seeds and spices mixed with oil and sweetened with brown sugar or maple syrup and baked until golden brown. Kick it up a notch by adding organic dried fruit or even chocolate chip morsels. This wholesome mix not only can start your day right as a cereal but also can be a delicious snack when you need to refuel in the afternoon.
When gathering up the granola ingredients, shop at organic health food stores that offer bulk ingredients. Look for plump colorful dried fruit which will yield the best taste. Experiment with textures by adding different kinds of grains and seeds such as puffed rice and sunflower seeds.
Create your own recipe with the following ingredients:
- GRAINS: Rolled oats, rye flakes, wheat flakes, soy flakes, rolled barley, brown rice flakes, cracked wheat, soy grits, puffed rice, millet, buckwheat.
- NUTRITIONAL: Wheat germ, rice bran, oat bran, wheat bran, powdered milk, soy milk, nutritional yeast.
- SEEDS: Sesame, sunflower, flax, chia, pumpkin
- NUTS: Walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts
- LIQUID SWEETNERS: honey, molasses, maple syrup, fruit juices, fruit concentrates
- SOLID SWEETNERS: date sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, fruit sugars
- FLAVORINGS: Vanilla extract, almond extract, grated citrus rinds, ginger, cinnamon
- OILS & FATS: Cold pressed oils (safflower, almond, sesame, peanut, etc.) melted butter
- DRIED FRUITS: Dried apples, raisins, currants, dates, cranberries, blueberries coconut.
Homemade Granola Recipe:
adapted from joyofbaking.com
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup puffed rice
1/2 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crystalized ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup (preferably Grade A Dark Amber)
1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, figs, and/or raisins) (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Either grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, ground cinnamon, and salt.
In a small bowl, stir together the oil, maple syrup and crystalized ginger. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together until all the dry ingredients are well coated with the liquid. Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for about 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown. Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture browns evenly. Place baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. The granola may be a bit sticky however, it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Break up any large clumps of granola while the mixture is still warm. Once the granola has completely cooled, store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.
Makes about 5 cups
Option: After the granola has cooled completely you can add a variety of dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries and even coconut.