I’m one of those people who gives homemade, healthy and practical gifts to clients, friends and family at Christmas time (or wine, when all else fails). For a few years I made this sugared cranberry recipe because people loved it so much the first time around. Then in 2013 I decided to change it up and I gave away homemade vanilla extract in little jars (turns out vanilla extract is super easy to make yourself – I no longer buy it in the store). This last year I found a granola recipe I really enjoyed, so I mixed up a couple batches and got out the mason jars. The result: Everyone loved it so much I’ve been sharing the recipe for the past two months. It only seems appropriate that I finally get to posting it on the blog.
For me this recipe is a hit because of the addition of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), the use of a small amount of pure maple syrup and dried cherries. You could easily leave the pepitas out if you’re not a fan and use other dried fruits if you aren’t down with cherries. Just keep in mind the nutritionals will vary depending on the sugar content of your dried fruit of choice. Also, the original recipe (which I found here, over at Real Simple) calls for using canola as your oil. I made it once this way but the second time I used coconut oil just to experiment. Both were delicious! So use whichever oil you’re most comfortable with nutritionally.
[Side note: Canola oil and coconut oil are very similar as far as calories are concerned. Where they differ is in the type of fats. Canola oil consists of monounsaturated and polyunsatured fats (the good stuff), whereas coconut oil consists of mostly saturated fat. Before you throw out the idea of coconut oil, however, keep in mind the saturated fat is the medium chain variety, which means in a nut shell (ha!) that there are a whole host of benefits involved. For more info on medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil, check out this resource.]
Easy and Healthy Granola
(Original source: Real Simple)
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup unsalted pepitas
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons canola or coconut oil (calories are almost identical in both oils)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dried cherries (or other dried fruit – nutritionals given below include cherries)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut and pepitas with the maple syrup, oil and salt. Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp – 25 to 30 minutes. Add the dried fruit and toss to combine. Let cool.
Nutritionals per serving (based on a 1-cup serving, which is probably 3x’s how much you’ll actually eat if you’re using this as a snack, over yogurt, etc.): 319 calories, 12.6g total fat (3.4g saturated, when using canola oil), 102mg sodium, 44.4g carbohydrates, 5.1g fiber, 14.5g sugar, 7.7g protein