Fruit and Nut Granola

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and granola is one of my favorite breakfast foods. It’s quick, healthy, delicious and keeps you full for hours, especially when you combine it with a protein like Greek yogurt or kefir. But, like any processed food, granola can be a major impostor–a bowl full of sugar and food-like substances posing as a ” healthy” breakfast. There are good ones out there, (check out my last post on how to weed through the junk to find the eatable ones!) but the best option is to make your own. And it’s actually one of the easiest things to make: just mix it all together and bake it up!

So this year for Christmas I decided to make a huge batch of granola and give it as gifts to friends and family. What better way to say you care about someone than by giving them something healthy AND delicious!

You can make granola any way you like. This is the version I made, just because of what I had in my pantry. It’s packed full of protein, fiber, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These ingredients/measurements are really just suggestions, so feel free to add or omit anything. Get creative and try other types of nuts, fruit, or other add-ins. Just be sure to start with oats, add some kind of nuts or seeds, some kind of fruit, a little sweetness and spice, and something sticky/oily to make it all stick together. Chia or hemp seeds would be great substitute for (or in addition to) the flaxseed. I was thinking of adding some pumpkin puree next time to make it like pumpkin pie granola, or subbing out some of the honey for peanut butter and adding banana chips. Chocolate is also always a good choice.

I made a double batch and used two baking sheets, but here’s a smaller version if you are only making it for yourself. Although, even if you are just making it for yourself, I suggest making a huge batch anyway since it keeps really well, and then you always have a quick, healthy breakfast on hand.

Easy Fruit and Nut Granola

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds, but pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts would be great too)
  • 2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole or ground flaxseed (I only had ground, but I think whole would be great too)
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit of your choice (I did a combo of dried currants,  cranberries, raisins, golden raisins, and dried apples)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, your choice)
  • 1/2 cup honey (or agave syrup or pure maple syrup)
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil (you can also substitute unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground fennel seed (optional)

1. Combine the oats, quinoa, flaxseed, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and spices in a large bowl.

2. Gradually add in the honey/syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Stir to evenly coat the dry ingredients. If it seems a little too dry or like it’s not sticking together, add a little more honey/syrup.

3. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (or 2) lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake at 300F for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes, being careful not to let it burn. Stir gently (more like a toss) if you want to keep more large chunks. Bake until almost golden brown. Stir in the dried fruit and coconut and bake another 5 minutes, or until desired brownness. Remove from oven and let cool, then transfer to an airtight container to store.

As long as it’s stored in an airtight container, the granola should last a couple weeks, or even longer in the refrigerator  (when the nuts and seeds give off their oils over time they begin to smell rancid. For this reason, I always store nuts in the refrigerator). This granola is great with your favorite milk, yogurt, kefir, or just as a snack! And it makes a great gift.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bite! 🙂