Updated: Sep 27, 2019
As some of you will know, I’ve really been focussing on my health recently and as part of that, I have reverted to my old habits of eating clean to make sure I’m fuelling my body with the RIGHT food.
One of my favourite on the go breakfasts is a big bowl of greek yoghurt full of raspberries and a sprinkle of homemade granola on top.
I had a few messages on Instagram recently asking for a “clean” granola recipe after I posted a picture of my breakfast a couple of weeks ago… so here it is!!
Why make your own?
Shop bought granola tends to be really high in sugar and unhealthy fats, additives etc. Making your own is not only really quick and easy, but it allows you to control the amount of sugar whilst maintaining a high quality of ingredients and keeping on track health wise.
Key ingredients and why they are good for you
I’m not talking about instant or quick cook oats here (these tend to be highly processed and not very good for you)… you need good, old fashioned whole rolled oats.
Whole oats are full of fibre, they are high in protein and they contain vitamins and minerals such as iron and folate.
CHIA SEEDS -
There are SO MANY health benefits in Chia seeds… they are literally one of the healthiest foods on the planet! They add a lovely extra crunch to your granola, whilst being absolutely loaded with nutrients for very few calories!
They are full of antioxidants, fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce blood sugar levels, and chronic inflammation. Basically, this tiny little seed packs a whole loada punch.
NUTS AND SEEDS -
Nuts are great not only for adding flavour and texture, but they are full of extra nutrients and protein.
I like to use almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in my mix but you can also use pecans, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, or macadamia to name a few!
UNREFINED OIL -
You need the oil to make your granola crisp. I go for coconut oil as it’s full of nutrients and I find it gives a nice sweeter flavour but you could use any healthy oil you like.
If you’re watching your saturated fat intake you could use olive oil instead but it has a really strong flavour which I’m not a fan of.
Steer clear of oils high in omega-3 fats, as they are really good for you raw and that is how they are meant to be consumed. Don’t cook with them!
NATURAL SWEETENER -
Go easy on whatever you use to sweeten your mix to keep the sugar content down.
I use a little bit of pure maple syrup or honey, and never processed sugars or artificial sweeteners. Read the labels before buying them to make sure they are 100% pure with no other ingredients!
DRIED FRUIT -
Using a small amount of unsweetened dried fruit will give you extra sweetness and a chewy texture which I really like. I don’t use it all the time, and when I do, I add raisins and I use less of my natural sweetener.
This is just a basic version so you can mix it up as you like, and I’ve included some variations at the bottom of the post. I use cup measurements for two reasons - one, the original recipe I had years ago was from an American blog somewhere (really sorry, can’t remember where it was to credit them!) and two, I find it so much easier when I’m making a recipe up to just use cups instead of having to weigh everything out (you can buy cup measuring sets so easy and cheap)
You will get about 3/4 cups granola from this batch, and I normally only use a very small amount each time I have some. If you store in an airtight container it should last a couple of weeks which should be plenty of time before you make your next lot!
2 cups organic whole rolled oats
1/2 cup raw nuts, chopped (I use flaked almonds and walnuts)
1/4 cup raw seeds (I use sunflower and pumpkin)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2-4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey (or I do a combination of both!)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1-2 cups dried unsweetened fruit (depending on how fruity you like it!)
Preheat the oven to 150 (130 fan) and line a baking tray with baking paper
Combine all your ingredients in a mixing bowl apart from your dried fruit. Use your hands to make sure it is all completely covered
Spread the mixture in a thin layer onto your lined tray and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, add dried fruit, mix ingredients together and press back down into your tray before returning to the oven
Bake for a further 5 minutes, until very lightly toasted
Cool completely before serving or storing
Hints and tips
If you like big chunky granola, make sure you don’t use a baking sheet that is too big. You want one just big enough for them to fill the sheet thinly and still toast evenly.
Gently press your granola mix back into the pan using a spatula before putting it back in the oven to finish baking after you stir it half way through.
Make sure you line your baking tray even if you are using a none stick pan. The baking paper will ensure your choice of natural sweetener sticks to the oats and not your tray!
Don’t bake for too long or too high heat. You are looking for a very lightly golden colour, you might think it is underdone but it crisps up as it cools. If you over bake it will break the sugar bonds and you will end up with a burnt popcorn tasting mess.
Make sure you do leave it to cool completely before you break it up
If you want to pimp up your granola, you can use some of the following and add in to the basic recipe above.
Orange zest (2tsp) goes lovely with raisins
Coconut flakes (add at the halfway point)
Shredded coconut works lovely either in addition to coconut flakes or on its own, just add halfway as with the flakes.
Spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg etc can add a lovely flavour burst.
How do you like your granola??
I’d love to hear from you if you give my recipe a go and what other flavour combinations you like.
Foot note - I am not a qualified nutritionist! Any information I’ve given around health benefits etc comes from years of research and learning, plus personal experience.
Images from Pinteres