Granola is king in our house. We eat loads of it for breakfast, as a quick snack and sometimes even as a substitute for pudding! But shop bought granola sometimes isn’t the healthiest breakfast cereal to turn to. Often it is high in sugar, loaded with fats and has a few basic ingredients in it such as oats and sweetened dried fruits. Additionally, so many brands put 0.5% hazelnuts into the mix (why?!?!) which renders me out of the equation due to a nut allergy.
So I endeavoured to make my own range, which is either reduced or no added sugar, uses healthy fats, has a diverse range of fibre sources, uses unsweetened fruit wherever possible, and only has ingredients in there that I can eat, so feel free to swap anything out to fit in with your dietary requirements.
I developed this particular recipe for my chocoholic sister-in-law who loves sweet treats. Although not a sugar free granola, it’s definitely not as sweet as the generic shop bought granola, and packs in much more nutritious value, and as a bonus is also vegan!
I hope you enjoy making this recipe. Feel free to alter the fruits used, add alternative nuts if you aren’t allergic, or even change the chocolate if you’re not looking to make a vegan granola (I’m thinking white chocolate and raspberry!!!).
Making this granola is really easy, but takes a little time. Adding water and maple syrup allows some of the starch in the oats to come out and helps make clusters traditionally achieved by using high sugar and harder fats such as palm oil. Sometimes I even let the wet oats sit before adding in further ingredients so that the clusters really form. Then I add the fat: extra virgin olive oil! Packed full of polyphenols and phytochemicals which have been shown to be beneficial for heart, brain and even gut health.
You can use whatever seeds you have to hand, but try to get a good variety in there. This recipe will help you achieve 10 of your 30 different plant foods for the week, which we know is beneficial to overall health. I also hand chop whole almonds so that you get really large chunks of the nuts. This gives a really nice crunch, but we also know from research on almond consumption, eating roasted chopped almonds can increase some strains of butyrate-producing gut bacteria, which is thought to be beneficial for health. Additionally, in a recent review of studies investigating almond consumption, there were beneficial outcomes on cardiometabolic markers such as lowering total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels in comparison to non-almond consuming groups.
Finally, a slow bake means you get lovely crunchy granola, I tried to speed things up in one of my recipe testing sessions. Sadly you get a slightly burnt toasted flavour which wasn’t to my liking, but some of my testers did actually enjoy they taste!
I love this granola with either dairy free milk, or a dairy free yoghurt such as a coconut yoghurt – just make sure you check the nutritional information to make sure it isn’t loaded with hidden sugar! Check out my previous post for a recent UK publication looking at the sugar reduction in yoghurts over the past few years.
- 150g rolled oats
- 150g jumbo oats
- 30g cocoa powder
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 25g chia seeds
- 25g pumpkin seeds
- 25g sunflower seeds
- 25g linseeds (flax)
- 50g maple syrup
- 80g almonds, roughly chopped
- 60g extra virgin olive oil
- 50g coconut flakes
- 90g dried cherries
- 100g dark chocolate chips of choice
- Preheat the oven to 130°C/125°C Fan/ 1⁄2 GM
- Add the oats, cocoa powder, desiccated coconut, almonds, seeds, maple syrup and water to a large bowl and mix together. Let large clumps form.
- Add the olive oil and mix
- Spread out onto a tray, pushing the mixture down to help form more clumps
- Bake in the oven for 90 minutes, gently turning the mixture at 30, 50, and 70 minutes
- Add the coconut flakes to the tray at 70 minutes to gently toast for the last 20 minutes
- After 90 minutes of cooking, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely
- Add the cherries and chocolate to the granola and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
Per 50g serving 226kcal/ 10g fat/ 5.4g saturated fat/ 21.3g carbohydrates/ 4.7g fibre/ 5.8g protein