I used to love granola and eat it every day. Until I really looked at the ingredients and then I stopped cold-tofurkey. Most granola is not healthy. It is usually made with canola oil and either high fructose corn syrup or brown rice syrup. The oil and the processed sugar syrups take away all the wonderful health benefits of the whole grains, fruit and nuts which make up the rest of the ingredients. And so I just stopped buying it.
Until I was jonesing for some a few weeks ago. I checked out all the gluten-free and vegan packaged granola in the health food store and left empty handed. Almost all of them had brown rice syrup as their sweetener. Brown rice syrup is deceivingly packaged as the "healthy" form of high fructose corn syrup. It's really no difference though and not healthy at all, so stay clear of it.
It did get me thinking about making my own granola. Most of you know I could drink pure maple syrup from the jar if left unsupervised. Yes, it is a form of sugar and should be limited. But I decided it was the perfect sweetener for my granola.
This recipe came together fairly quickly. Who knew making granola was so easy?!?! Seriously, 15 minutes to mix and an active hour to bake.
Start by mixing everything except your blueberries (or if you like your gogi berries soft hold those as well) in a large bowl. Use a big wooden spoon to combine.
Spread evenly on a lined sheet pan. Place in a preheated 250 degree oven with a timer.
Here's were the "active" baking takes meaning. Set your timer for 15 minutes. At that time, remove the pan from the oven and using a spatula, stir the granola. This helps the granola bake evenly. You are going to do this 3 times—each 15 minutes.
After the granola has been in the oven for a total of 45 minutes, remove and stir in the dried blueberries (or raisins, cranberries, etc.) and using your spatula, mix them in.
Return to the oven for the last 15 minutes, and after one hour of baking your granola is done. Let it cool completely before using.
Large mason jars are the perfect storage containers. This granola will keep fresh for two weeks when stored in an air-tight container.
This granola is perfect served as a fruit and yogurt parfait. I like mine with soy or coconut yogurt and sliced fresh strawberries. It would be great sprinkled on top of a smoothie bowl as well.
Or enjoy it in a bowl with unsweetened almond milk.
I told you this was easy. The flavors are light, with the perfect amount of sweetness. You will never buy store bought granola again!
2 1/2 c. gluten-free rolled oats
3 tbsp. hemp heart seeds
2 tbsp. chia seeds
1 c. pecans, rough chop
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1/3 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. dried blueberries
1/3 c. dried raisins, gogi berries, or other dried fruit of choice
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large bowl, add all ingredients except the dried berries. Use a wooden spoon to combine.
Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Pour the wet granola mixture onto the lined pan and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using a spatula, stir the mixture and level back out. Put back in the oven for another 15 minutes and repeat, stirring every 15 minutes. This helps to evenly bake and toast the granola.
After the granola has been in the oven for a total of 45 minutes, add the dried blueberries and gogi berries (or dried fruit of choice) and stir into the granola mixture. Return to the oven for the last 15 minutes. When done, remove from the oven to completely cool.
Store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
Makes 8 servings.