Granola is so-o-o-o tasty.
But alas, the store-bought variety is often chock-full of unhealthy ingredients – refined sugar, saturated fat and salt. And did I mention that most granola is a veritable calorie bomb? Some store-bought granolas have as many as 250 calories per 1/4 cup serving.
So I decided to make my own. This version replaces the unhealthy fat with omega-3-rich olive oil and eliminates both the added sugar and added salt. The recipe can be made gluten-free as well. (Just make sure the rolled oats are certified gluten-free.)
What’s left is good-for-you protein and fiber and about half the calories.
Now I’m going to confess: I just go ahead and allow myself a more realistic 1/2 cup serving rather than limiting myself to 1/4 cup if I’m eating my own granola as cereal. And I add 1/4 cup rather than the recommended two tablespoons to my yogurt if I’m having a fresh fruit parfait. That means I’ll end up consuming the same number of calories, but I get to eat twice as much.
This recipe makes approximately 4-5 cups of granola, depending on whether one adds the optional dried fruit. I generally make some with the fruit to enjoy as cereal with nonfat milk, and some without the dried fruit so I can add it to a fresh fruit parfait.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup unsalted sliced almonds or chopped pecans
- 1 cup unsweetened raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the oil, syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Use a stick blender if necessary to mix thoroughly.
Add the oats and nuts and stir until completely coated with the oil and syrup mixture.
Spread the mixture onto a large baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking oil.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until golden brown.
Add the fruit after removing from the oven.
Allow to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
Nutrition information for plain granola
Serving size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 200 | Carbohydrates: 19 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 0 | Sodium: 20 mg | Potassium: 90 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 0 | Iron: 3%
Nutrition information for granola with dried fruit added
Serving size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 245 | Carbohydrates: 32 g | Protein: 5 g | Fat: 13 g | Saturated fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 0 | Sodium: 20 mg | Potassium: 90 mg | Fiber: 8 g | Sugar: 5 g | Iron: 3%
Sometimes I just pour skim milk on the granola and enjoy. But on mornings when I have a little time to relax, I figure, “Why stop there?”
One of my favorite breakfast treats is a fresh fruit parfait. I start with about 3/4 cup of fat-free plain Greek yogurt, pile on a generous layer of fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, add about 1/4 cup of my homemade granola, and top with a dollop of sugar-free whipped cream.
Nutrition information for Fruit Parfait
Calories: 235 | Carbohydrates: 25 g | Protein: 20 g | Fat: 8 g | Saturated fat: 1 g | Cholesterol: 10 mg | Sodium: 75 mg | Potassium: 395 mg | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 11 g | Vitamin C: 50% | Calcium: 15% | Iron: 1%