Low-Fat, Oil-Free, Healthy (and yummy) Granola!

When people hear “granola” they tend to think “fattening!” (Or maybe “hippies,” which is strange to me because I’ve never seen a fat hippy!) But granola can actually be good for you, providing a hearty breakfast or snack rich in iron, calcium, omega fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. What you need to watch is the oil and the sugar. This is where any good breakfast can go downhill quickly. I scoured the web for “healthy” granola recipes, only to find that most of them called for at least ¼ cup oil and up to 1 ½ cups of sugar! Can you say 10AM sugar crash?!

I wondered what it would be like to make granola with ZERO oil. Would it crisp up? Would it taste good? The answer, my friends, is YES! The oil is not necessary at all, nor is all that sugar. Dried fruit is sweet enough, and with just a touch of 100% fruit juice and a little pure maple syrup, your granola will be plenty delicious, believe me!

A Note On Substitutions:
The recipe below is exactly what I did to make mine, but you can change up the nuts and fruits based on what you have on hand. You can also use seeds like pumpkin, flax, or sunflower (no need to chop those). Feel free to switch up the juice as well, substituting orange or apple, for example. I didn’t have any fruit juice on hand, so I just blended up a few pineapple chunks in the blender and then pressed the juice out through a mesh strainer. Agave, honey, or coconut nectar can be substituted for the maple syrup.

This makes about 4 cups.

3 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking!)
1/4 cup pure pineapple juice
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup mix of raisins and dried cherries
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
scant 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300.

Put everything except the fruit and coconut in a bowl and mix well. Pour onto two baking sheets, lined with parchment paper, and spread out into an even layer. Bake for 30 minutes, taking the pans out and stirring the mixture every 10 minutes. When you have 5 minutes left on the timer, add in the coconut so it will get lightly toasted.

Remove from the oven, add in your fruit, sprinkle a light layer of cinnamon over the top, and toss everything together. Let it cool and then store in air-tight containers.

I love this as a cereal, hot or cold, with any plant-based milk. It’s also good on top of coconut milk yogurt or just eaten by the palm-full after a workout. I think it would be super cute packaged in glass Mason jars with ribbon for a gift. You could even include a jar of homemade almond milk to go with it. 🙂

granola

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