For the longest time I was intimidated to attempt making my own granola. And now, I'm not sure why because it is one of the easiest things to make. I promise you can do this no matter what your kitchen competency is. Granola is expensive. I eat it like cereal, so a little bitty bag from Whole Foods wouldn't even last me a week and easily costs $8-10. I would always hope to find good granola at Costco, but everything they sell seems to be drowning in sugar. Here's the recipe I've developed, but granola is extremely forgiving. You can basically throw whatever you want in there and it will turn out.
4 cups rolled oats
5 cups assorted other ingredients in whatever combination you want. Suggestions include unsweetened coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, slivered almonds, cashews. I usually do 1 cup each of coconut, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds, plus a half cup each of flax and chia seeds, but seriously put in whatever you like or whatever is in your pantry.
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or whatever kind of oil you like/have)
4 oz honey*
2 tsp cinnamon
sea salt to taste
2 cups dried fruit–whatever you like/have in any combination. Suggestions include raisins, cherries, dates, cranberries, etc. I usually do 1 cup each of raisins and cranberries because I always have those on hand.
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
Mix everything except the dried fruit together in a large bowl. If your honey is sort of solid, you might cut it in chunks. It will all melt in the oven, so don't worry about getting it too well-mixed. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. When you take it out of the oven, try to mix it together on the sheet a bit to ensure that the melted honey is evenly spread through the granola. Allow to cool. Once cool, mix in the dried fruit and store in an airtight container.
Yum! I eat it with unsweetened coconut or almond milk and sometimes throw in some fresh fruit. Penny also loves to eat it with a little splash of almond milk or just dry. It is super filling and a great breakfast or snack.
It makes a great hostess gift or gift for neighbors, teachers, etc. I love to give homemade gifts and/or healthy food as gifts–this combines both! Making your own granola can also help you reduce your eco-footprint. By buying from bulk bins with your own container, you can reduce your packaging consumption.
This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free (unless your oats are contaminated), and can easily be adapted to a paleo diet by leaving out the oats and substituting with more nuts/seeds. It can also be made vegan by using maple syrup or agave in place of honey.
*I recommend purchasing honey from a reputable, local, source. Farmers markets, health food stores, and Whole Foods typically sell local honey. Not only will it help with seasonal allergies, but small-scale honey operations are much more likely to use sustainable and humane practices. I read an article that most "honey" sold in supermarkets and big box stores is not actually honey at all, but just flavored corn syrup. In order to be considered actual honey, it should contain pollen, which is destroyed in the processing that happens in most major brands.