Anyone who knows me (or who follows me on Instagram) knows I have an obsession with granola. The combination of textures and sweet and salty flavors yield an amazing eating experience. Plus, I like that it is as delicious alone as it is paired with other foods.
I’ve made plenty of different recipes requiring various levels of time commitment, but my go-to recipe for a quick-ish batch is below. There is good reasoning behind some of the seeming oddities of the recipe.
Granola tastes best when cooked at low heat. The low heat, long time method allows the granola to dry out without overcooking, so please think twice before turning up the heat to quicken the bake time. The nuts and pumpkin seeds are baked separately from the rest of the pack to get them perfectly toasted, whereas including them with the oats could risk burning them.
If you use dried fruit, try a higher quality dried cranberry, like some found in the bulk section. Trader Joes also has an awesome mixed dried berry bag. Most of the time I don’t bother with even adding dried fruit because I usually eat granola with yogurt and fresh fruit.
Eat granola because it is damn delicious! But, there are also some nutritional benefits to it as well.
Fiber– Oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are loaded with fiber, giving you a snack or meal component that will digest slower and stick with you longer throughout the day. Plus, fiber is beneficial for the healthy microbes that reside in your digestive tract.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid- Alpha-linolenic Acid (ALA) is found in nuts and seeds. Omega 3s are required by our bodies to function, and they play an anti-inflammatory role in the body.
Complete Meal- When paired with Greek yogurt and fresh fruit, this becomes a balanced breakfast that is rich in protein (from the Greek yogurt), whole grains (from the rolled oats and wheat germ), healthy fats (from the nuts and seeds), and plenty more vitamins and fiber from fresh fruit.
When should I eat this? Due to the high fiber and moderate fat content of granola, I do not recommend it as a pre-workout meal or snack (say, 30 min or so before a workout) due to the potential stomach upset. If you have an early morning workout, try something small and simple before like a banana, and save the Greek yogurt + granola breakfast for your post-workout meal. However, a small handful of granola before a workout probably won’t hurt if you don’t have a sensitive stomach surrounding exercise.
The Best Maple Granola
Makes 9 cups (18 servings) | Active Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 90 minutes
6 c rolled oats
2 c flaked coconut
1/2 c wheat germ
2 T chia seeds
1/4 c olive oil
2 tsp neutral oil, like canola
3/4 c pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt, divided
2 c pecans
2 c roughly chopped almonds
1 1/2 c pumpkin seeds
3 c dried fruit (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan and toast until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer the nut/seed mixture to medium bowl and toss with neutral oil and 1/2 tsp salt and set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Combine rolled oats, chia seeds, flaked coconut, wheat germ, ground cinnamon, remaining salt, maple syrup, and olive oil in a large bowl. Mix well by folding with a rubber spatula being careful not to break the coconut flakes. Transfer mixture onto a standard sized sheet pan lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Gently pat down to even fill pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until lightly golden, making sure to gently toss granola every 20 minutes or so. Try not to over-work it or you’ll lose the beautiful clusters. The granola may seem a little soft, but it will crisp up upon cooling. When you remove the granola from the oven, dump the pecan/pumpkin seed and dried fruit mixture on top. Allow the granola to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. It should keep for 7 days.