Nutty granola

I love Ellie Krieger. I love her show because she's friendly, elegant, and sweet, and I love her recipes because they're sensible and satisfying. Her approach to nutrition just makes sense. As a vegetarian, I'm always looking for more ways to add protein to my diet, especially for breakfast, so when I saw her recipe for Nutty Granola, I just had to try it. I added more cinnamon and substituted some of the nuts. Also, after years of making this, I've adjusted the time and temperature for the oven.

You will need:

  • 3 cups of old-fashioned oats (I prefer Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 1/2 cups of raw, unsalted nuts, chopped (I like chopped pecans best)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg, allspice, and ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp sesame seeds (opt.)
  • 1-2 tsp ground flax seeds (opt.)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup dried fruit (I like raisins, cranberries, or cherries)

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil or spritz it with cooking spray.
  2. Use a spatula to mix all the ingredients (except the fruit) thoroughly in a mixing bowl. Spread the mixture out on the tray evenly.
  3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Set the baking sheet on a rack to cool. Mix in the dried fruit. Store the granola in a plastic bag in the fridge.

I've made this granola three weekends in a row now. I love it on top of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt or on vanilla-flavored, low-fat regular yogurt, but Bryan likes it with milk. The first time I made it, I used a combination of maple syrup and honey because I ran out of maple syrup, and that worked well too. The granola you buy in the grocery store is often loaded with oil and sugar, and I like that I can control all the ingredients that go into this recipe. It isn't overly sweet, and you can really taste each ingredient for what it is. Plus, it's a LOT less expensive per serving than what you'd buy in the grocery store. It makes about 4.5 cups and lasts the two of us about a week, although we don't both eat it every day. It also keeps me full until lunchtime, which I can't say for many other breakfast choices!

I've done all sorts of combinations with the ingredients, from vanilla-cranberry and pecan-peanut butter, to coconut and chocolate chip. Be creative with this one! It's tough to mess up. And trust me: If you put some of this in a mason jar and give it as a gift, you will have a friend for life.