We eat a lot of oats in our house. Especially during the winter, oatmeal is something we eat almost daily. But I get tired of what I commonly referred to as gruel, and prefer oats soaked in almond milk, or for those warm days approaching, granola with yogurt or cold almond milk.
Homemade granola is so much healthier (and cheaper) than store bought granola. I’m always reading nutrition labels, and I find that most half cup servings of processed granola have at least 10-12 g of sugar per half cup. By making your own granola, you can also add in your own healthy fats, such as coconut oil or avocado oil. In the recipe below we use avocado oil.
Avocado oil has so many healthy benefits. It’s high in monounsaturated fats. It’s known to be good for lowering blood pressure and also as a valuable addition for an arthritis diet. It allegedly contributes to heart health, lowers cholesterol, and boosts nutrient absorption. So it’s going to be our go-to oil in this recipe.
If you’re looking for another healthy, nutritious and tasty addition to your granola, look no further than hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are packed with nutrition, including thiamine, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and manganese.
There are so many ways you can do granola, and here I’ll give you one of my favorite riffs on it. Take this recipe and the techniques as a baseline, and go from there to mix it up. Some basic procedural notes:
- Order of ingredients. I happen to disagree with those who mix all the dry ingredients first, and then add the wet ones. First, add your oil. Mix your oat flakes well so that they soak it up. The oil is key to getting your oats crunchy and crispy. Then add your sweetener. If using honey, I like to warm it first so that it runs thin and spreads more easily. Maple syrup tends to the adequately thin, so you can just added in at room temperature. Stir and mix well. Then, while stirring, sift or sprinkle your dry ingredients. Since all the surfaces of the oats are now sticky, your salt and spices will adhere well.
- Additions. Most dried fruits should be left out until after the granola has fully baked. Otherwise, they will dry out or burn. The same for nuts, especially if they are pre-roasted. You can add in any nuts you might like during the last 15 minutes of baking. The same goes for coconut flakes, if you like them toasted.
- Bake time. Depending on how you like your granola, you can vary the baking time. I like mine on the well toasted side, which usually happens around the 25 to 30 minute mark. Also, be sure to turn your sheet pan every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooking, at the same time, you can stir the granola. My oven tends t to cook hotter at the back, and yours may too-so you’ll know if and when you need to turn it.
The Oats. You. can use regular old-fashioned oats for this recipe, or if you prefer, certified gluten-free oats. Don’t use any type of quick cooking oats, as they will become too dry and brittle after being baked.
The oil. Avocado oil is one of my favorite oils. It’s packed with healthy nutrients. You can, of course, substitute coconut oil, other types of oil, or even olive oil for a more savory taste. Just remember that when using coconut oil, make sure it’s completely liquid before adding it to your dry ingredients.
Fruit additions. Crystallized ginger, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries, chopped up dried apricots and dates are just a few suggestions. Add after baking.
The nuts. Toasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts, almonds and others are all good additions. You may want to limit the total amount of nuts if you are closely watching your fat consumption.
Other additions. Shaved or grated coconut should be added in the last few minutes of baking if you want it toasted. Spice mixes like pumpkin spice, cocoa powder for a chocolatey granola, powdered ginger, or lemon or orange zest are other alternatives.
- 6 cups slow cooking oats
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 3/4 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine oats and hemp seeds.
While stirring, drizzle oil over dry ingredients. Mix well until ingredients are fully coated.
Mix maple syrup and vanilla together. While stirring, drizzle over dry ingredients until fully coated.
Sprinkle sea salt and cinnamon over the oat mixture, using hands or a plastic spoon to stir well.
Place a sheet of parchment on an 11" x 17" half sheet pan. Spread granola in pan evenly.
Bake 25-30 minutes until golden, turning pan every ten minutes and stirring.
Add raisins and almonds after granola has cooled.
Store in a ziplock bag for 7-10 days, or freeze for several months.