Healthy Homemade Maple Granola

Commercial granolas have a lot of sugar, fat and even salt added, so I tried to stay away from adding a lot of those to this recipe.  Nuts contain a lot of fat, but it’s a healthy fat, so you’re okay if you eat a moderate portion.  Two of the things I like about making my own granola are:  I know exactly what’s going in it, and I can change the ingredients to suit my own taste and what I happen to have on hand.  So feel free to substitute for your favourite nuts and seeds.  Do beware that some seeds, like flax and sesame, are more freely digested and therefore benefited from, if they have been ground  – probably not the best choices for substituting here.

What you need:

4 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup dried, not roasted, pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup coconut ribbon or other unsweetened,dried coconut

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter (or oil for vegan and lactose-free)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

dash of salt

optional: 1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit

What you do:

1.  Combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

2.  Melt the butter and add the vanilla, salt and maple syrup to it.  Stir this liquid into the nut and oat mixture.

3.  Spread evenly onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes.  Set the timer for 10 minutes, then give it a stir.  Stir again after another 10 minutes, then check and stir every five minutes until it is golden brown.  If you can hear the pumpkin seeds popping you know it’s done.

4.  Remove from the oven to cool and add the coconut and optional dried fruit.  I prefer to add the fruit with each serving rather than adding to the recipe, so the fruit stays moist and the granola stays crunchy.  That way I can also vary the type of fruit I add, whether it be dried (if I need to take it ‘to go’) or fresh.

5.  Store in an airtight container.  Of you think it will take you more than a few weeks to consume or give away parts of this recipe, it’s a good idea to keep it in the fridge.  Because  nuts oil they are susceptible to spoiling – refrigeration helps avoid this problem.

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