On most mornings, my breakfast is a bowl of Greek yogurt with granola and fresh berries. I used to buy granola, but it became way too expensive, and store-bought granola is surprisingly high in calories. Granola is so easy to make at home, and best of all, you can control what goes in it. You can choose what nuts to add, whether to throw in some coconut or dried fruit, and how much fat and sweetener to use.
I’ve tried many granola recipes, and I’ve finally settled on this one as my weekly go-to recipe. It is adapted from a Cooks’ Illustrated recipe. It’s easy, very adaptable, and always results in a golden-brown, slightly sweet granola that tastes great sprinkled on yogurt.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a big bowl, combine 3 cups rolled oats (not instant), ¼ cup wheat germ, 1 cup chopped nuts (any kind or a combination), ½ cup sunflower seeds and ½ cup shredded coconut. In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil and ¼ cup honey until warm. Pour this mixture over the ingredients in the bowl and stir until well-coated. Spread the granola mixture on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until golden-brown and fragrant. After baking, add up to ¼ cup dried fruit, if you like. Let the granola cool and then store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
My favorite nuts to use in this recipe are slivered almonds, but I have also tried walnuts and pecans with good results. Of course, the coconut or sunflower seeds can be omitted, or additional nuts may be substituted for them. In the winter, when berries aren’t in season, try different kinds of dried fruit other than raisins. Dried cranberries and cherries are both delicious.
Granola is not something I ever thought of making for myself, even though I eat it with yogurt almost every morning. It just seemed like something you buy, rather than something you make. But when you think about it, there are several advantages to making your own granola. First, it’s cheaper to buy the basic components of granola in bulk. Second, you can put whatever you like in there. And you can also cut down the amount of sweeteners typically used in processed granola. Finally, it keeps pretty much indefinitely in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen, so you can make up a big batch and snack on it for a while.
For my first attempt, I used Mark Bittman‘s recipe from Food Matters. Making granola is much easier than I thought it would be. Bittman’s recipe does make a huge amount — it calls for 5 cups of rolled oats — but I think you can safely cut down the amounts as long as you maintain the proportions (and it might fit better in your baking pan). I also thought the cooking time of 30 minutes was a bit too long, and resulted in a more toasted granola than I normally like, so I would reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes or so. Keep a good eye on it as it cooks and take it out of the oven when it looks and smells done to you.
Now that I have successfully made a batch of granola, I think I will be experimenting with different grains, nuts and seasonings. I definitely won’t go back to buying my own granola!
Time to make: ~30 minutes
Yields: 9 cups
- 5 cups rolled oats or other rolled grains
- 3 cups mixed chopped nuts and seeds — I used sunflower seeds
- 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- 1 tsp. cinnamon or baking spices
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup honey, or to taste
- 1½ cups dried fruit of your choice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Combine all of the ingredients but the honey and dried fruit in a large bowl and toss well. Spread the mixture over the baking sheet. Drizzle the honey over and toss again. (I found it much easier to mix in the honey this way than in the bowl, as the original recipe calls for.)
Bake 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and toasted to your liking. The darker it gets, the deeper the toasted flavor and the crunchier the granola.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack to room temperature. Put the granola in an airtight container or plastic bag and mix in the dried fruit. Store in the refrigerator or freeze any extra amounts. Snack on it as is or mix with yogurt and fresh fruit for a yummy, healthy breakfast.
Recipe adapted from Food Matters by Mark Bittman.
- Review: Food Matters (simplycooking.wordpress.com)