Artisan. Low-fat. Clean. Natural. An unfortunate side-effect of the health-food trend is the abuse of buzz words. The advertising world has convinced us that if a product seems healthy, is packaged and branded as healthy, than it must be healthy. It takes all of my strength to refrain from informing coworkers and friends that no, that store-bought granola or trail mix is not healthy but instead is packed with tons of artificial ingredients, sugar, and fat.
I adore the combination of Greek yogurt and crunchy granola but have been repeatedly disappointed with every brand of granola. The ingredient list is much too long to be healthy and the sugar content is hefty. Too much sweetness in the morning overwhelms the richness of Greek yogurt and leaves me feeling nauseated all afternoon.
Determined to concoct a healthy granola, I sifted through my pantry and came up with a recipe that keeps me feeling clean and satisfied.
2 cups of rolled oats
1/3 cup of almonds, chopped
1/3 cup of dried cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 tablespoons flax seed meal and/or 1 teaspoon of chia seeds
2 tablespoons brown sugar*
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or a tablespoon of butter)
1/4 cup of water
*I sometimes substitute honey or maple syrup depending upon what’s in stock in my kitchen.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Combine oil, water, and brown sugar in a sauté pan over low heat until sugar dissolves. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. I like to add a few shakes of cinnamon and allspice to the dry mix. Once liquid has fully combined in pan, pour over dry ingredients and stir until everything is evenly coated.
Spread mixture on cookie sheet keeping it as thinly layered as possible. Pop in the oven for 14-17 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the oats are golden, remove from the oven. Be sure not to let them brown. Stir the granola and spread back evenly on the pan. Let cool entirely (usually about 30 minutes).
Store in an air-tight container (will keep it from softening) and enjoy with yogurt or milk!