Granola Recipe – Naturally Sweetened, No Oil
Oats are one my top 10 foods I eat daily. One serving of granola contains a third of your required daily fiber, which aids digestion and lowers cholesterol. I love an oat-based granola that’s crisp, lightly sweetened and full of flavorful spices. Most packaged options are expensive and have too much added sugar and fat.
My solution is to make a healthy, flavorful batch of granola every week or so. I usually knock it out while prepping other meals. Here’s an easy, cheap and versatile recipe I created after years of experimenting. I’ve upped the nutrition and fiber with ground flax or hemp seed, wheat bran and coconut but you can totally skip them and just add more oats.
4 cups rolled oats – not quick cooking (increase up to 6 cups to replace any or all of the next 3 items)
¼ cup ground flaxseed or hemp seed
¾ cup wheat bran
1 cup coconut – medium shred, unsweetened
1 cup pumpkin puree or applesauce – unsweetened
¾ cup coconut sugar (can sub other crystalized sweeteners as you wish)
¼ cup maple syrup (can sub other liquid sweeteners as you wish)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. salt
2-3 tbsp. spices of your choice. I like:
2 tbsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. each of cloves, nutmeg, ginger (fall/winter)
1.5 tbsp. cardamom, .5 tbsp. cinnamon, ¼-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1-2 cups nuts and or seeds, according to taste. I like:
1.25-1.5 cups cashew pieces + ¼-½ cup sunflower seeds
1.5 cups walnut pieces + ½ cup pumpkin seeds
1.5-2 cups roughly chopped almonds
Dried apple pieces for serving
Directions – Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
Line a 13.5 x 9 rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper
Add pumpkin puree or applesauce, both sweeteners, vanilla, salt and spices to a large bowl and whisk thoroughly.
Pour oats, flax or hemp seed, wheat bran and coconut over mixture and gently blend them together without mixing them into liquid yet. (This saves using a 2nd bowl.)
Use a large spoon to blend dry and wet mixtures together thoroughly
Spread evenly on parchment covered sheet pan
Directions – Baking:
Note oven temperatures vary and can cause granola to burn at pan edges. Watch initial batches closely, note best cooking times and adjust in future as needed.
Bake for 18-20 minutes
Remove from oven, add nuts and seeds, stir thoroughly to release steam and redistribute evenly on pan
Bake another 18-20 minutes, remove from oven, stir to release steam and redistribute evenly on pan
Bake 3-7 more minutes, stir one more time, turn off oven and open door for ~30 seconds to release some heat. Place granola back in oven to finish crisping, check in 10 minutes and leave up to 2 hours.
Cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature
If desired, add dried apple pieces or other fresh or dried fruit when serving. Note storing granola with added dried fruit can reduce crispness levels.