Granola’s been a staple of breakfast and school lunch boxes (in bar form) for over 50 years. Although it was invented as a health food back in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson at the Jackson Sanitarium spa in Dansville, New York, it wasn’t until the 1960s that lowly granola was elevated in popularity as a breakfast food and snack favored among health and fitness experts. Today, you’ll find as many opinions about the nutritional value of granola as the different brands that line the shelves in the cereal aisle.
Granola is Good For You!
The truth about granola is that it is as healthy as the ingredients it contains – (that’s pure common sense with no additives). Most versions contain oats (healthy, whole grains), nuts and seeds (natural sources of healthy fats and protein) and dried fruits (for energy), along with additional sweetener and/or oil to bind it together and give it some crunch once cooked. It’s packed with nutrients and calories, so keep portions in mind if you are watching your diet, and read the label to make sure it only contains simple, natural ingredients.
5 Fun Ways to Eat Granola
- Mix into yogurt for a satisfying crunch at breakfast or as a snack.
- Use as a topping for fruit crisp desserts or substitute for streusel to top fruit pies.
- Use as a salad topping to balance out other acid and savory flavors.
- Bake into breads and muffins.
- Use as a coating for chicken or pork.
If you’re looking for a granola that balances health with great taste, why not make your own? Our version includes maple syrup as a natural sweetener. Don’t be afraid to substitute, omit or add ingredients that suit your own taste.
Too busy to cook? Try our Vermont Lumberjack Granola that’s ready to snack right out of the bag!
Makes 24 Cups
- 8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
- 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
- 2 cups walnuts
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 2 cups almonds
- 1 cup canola or olive oil
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups pecans
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large stainless-steel bowl, combine the oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds and pecans. Stir with a large wooden spoon (or clean hands) to combine.
- Transfer about 4 cups of the oats, seeds, and nuts mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to coarsely chop, but do not make the pieces too small. (This is just to slightly reduce the size of the chunks to bit-size, and you can skip this step if you prefer really chunky granola.) Transfer the chopped oat mixture to a second large stainless steel bowl. Repeat until you have coarsely chopped the whole batch – again, not too fine.
- Toss the chopped oat mixture with the salt. Pour the maple syrup and the oil over the top and stir with a wooden spoon or clean hands to completely combine the liquids with the oat mixture. It will look just slightly moist.
- Spread the granola evenly over the two shallow roasting pans or rimmed baking sheets in a single layer, about 1 inch deep. (You may need to do this in two batches.) Bake, stirring every 15 minutes or so to keep the granola from burning and turning the pans to bake evenly. Toast to a golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer back to one of the large bowls. Toss while still warm with the raisins, cranberries and coconut. Let cool before packing into large mason jars to keep up to 2 months.