I can’t pretend this is the first granola recipe I am posting…in fact, it’s #4. But it’s just too cold outside to sip on a smoothie and although I love a grapefruit in the morning, the splattering of juice on my clothing and the meticulous carving out of each triangle makes it a rare breakfast occasion.
I owe this recipe to my aunt, who served it to us for breakfast in California over break. I was never a soggy cereal fan and I like my granola extra crunchy and loud, so this one is just what the doctor ordered. The best part is it uses no oil or butter but instead a simple agave and water mix. The key is to bake the oats at a lower than normal temperature over a long period of time. Don’t worry, the prep is quick!
Also, the more seeds and nuts the better for this one, which is why I like to hit up the bulk section at Whole Foods. It took me a while to overcome the belief that Whole Foods was overpriced and fancy; au contraire, its bulk section is a steal and its 365 Everyday Value brand is dependable.
2 1/2 cups of rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats if you’d like)
1/3 cup of walnut pieces
1/4 cup of sunflower seeds (out of shell, buy in bulk)
1 1/5 tbsp of sesame seeds
2 tbsp of dried cranberries, chopped
2 tbsp of raw almonds, chopped
1/4 cup of agave syrup
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Water, cinnamon, cooking spray (Pam)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, berries, and a few shakes of cinnamon).
In a small saute pan on medium heat, combine 1/4 cup of agave syrup and 3/4 cup of water. Stir with a spoon and add in the teaspoon of vanilla.
Warm the mixture until the agave seems combined with the water, just a few minutes, then pour over the oat mixture in the large bowl. Stir thoroughly with a spoon.
Use your cooking spray to coat a large baking sheet (you want your granola to bake in as thin a layer as possible, so you may need two baking sheets). Evenly spread the oats and water mixture in the pan and bake at 400 for the first 10 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 300 degrees and continue baking for about an hour or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. You want the liquid to fully bake off. Remove the granola from the oven and spread on a cooling rack over wax paper. Once at room temperature, package or serve with low-fat Greek yogurt!