I now feast on granola almost every day and, on some days, throughout the day! It is so versatile. The versatility not only relates to what can go into the mixture but also extends to how to eat it. Granola can be served as a cereal, a tasty and crunchy topping on fruit and yoghurt or just by the handful as a healthy snack. The latter method has become my personal favourite!
This has not always been the case and up until I started making my own granola, I never touched it. This was because the commercially bought products can be loaded with sugars, unnecessary high-saturated oils and even contain fillers such as soy protein isolate, inulin (a soluble fiber that can cause digestive problems), and other suspect ingredients.
The benefits of granola is that the main ingredient is oats which boast impressive numbers in fiber and iron. Other ingredients such as nuts and seeds add heart-healthy unsaturated fats and some protein. By making your own granola, you decide exactly what goes into the mixture and control the type and amount of sugars, oil and ultimately final calorie content.
Granola is quick and easy to make and very forgiving by allowing the mixing of many different ingredients to suit personal preferences and desired calories. The main dry ingredients are 2.5 cups (200g) Rolled Oats and ½ tsp salt. The key wet ingredients include 3 TBS of melted coconut oil and ¼ cup of maple syrup. Other tasty additions to the wet ingredients can include about ¼ cup of Tahini, peanut butter or any nut butter.
What else to include in the granola buffet is up to you:
Nuts and Seeds:
Any combination of nuts and seeds, usually about ½ cup per ingredient and 1 – 1½ cups in total, such as:
- slivered almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios
- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- buckwheat groats (adds an amazing crunch)
This list is endless and only limited by your imagination and personal tastes:
- vanilla extract, cacoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, matcha tea powder, grated orange and lemon rind, grated or ground ginger
The following treats can be added before cooking but make sure not to overcook otherwise the dried fruit can become inedible:
- shredded coconut, raisins, currents, sultanas, dried mango, dried cherries, dried blueberries
Once you have made your selections and given the mixture a good stir, it can be spread out on parchment paper on a large baking sheet and cooked at 350°C (175°F) for about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once cooled, the granola can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to four weeks. I have also tried freezing it and this has worked well for me.
Having started experimenting with my own granola about a year ago, I have now found 3 basic recipes (photographed above) that have become my go to. The actual recipes originated from Jean-Philippe Cyr’s cookbook, The Buddhist Chef: 100 Simple, Feel-Good Vegan Recipes.