THE BEST GRANOLA
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
I can promise you this: you won't go back to normal granola after eating this.
With granola - like any other food - it can either be healthy and nourishing… or not! You could eat granola that is full of quaker oats (loaded with glyphsate ahem) and sugar. Or you can choose to make this -- fully of hearty, nourishing ingredients and very family friendly!
I have been making this granola for YEARS and it is a staple in our house. I make it at least 1-2 x a month on average. My kids love it, and we love blessing other families with it. Once you stock your pantry, this is easy to whip up because it's really just a dump and bake recipe.
4 cups steel cut oats
2 cups cashews
1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1 cup chia seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1 cup extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp cinnamon
dried cherries (optional)
dried berries (optional)
A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES:
*Buy organic if possible. When we can, it's important to reduce our toxic load. Pesticides are nasty chemicals, so if we can minimize them in our bodies and in our kids bodies - then let's do it!
*If your family avoids oats, then you can easily make this a nut + seed only recipe! Just feel free to leave those out. I have done that before and it is just as tasty.
*I chop the nuts with a nut chopper. This makes them easier to eat and even more kid friendly. If you don't want to buy a nut chopper, cutting them with a knife works too but takes more time. If you keep the nuts whole - it makes a great trail mix!
*Be creative and use what you have. I often times mix up the nut varieties in this. I love adding macadamia nuts, hazel nuts, pistachios, etc. There is so much freedom here!
*I do not measure! I literally just dump the ingredients into a huge bowl, and I know I like the nuts + seeds to outdo the oats. But feel free to make this to your heart's content, and after you make it a few times you will notice that you really don't need to take the time to measure. Dumping is so easy!
Preheat the oven to 325. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
Dump the chopped nuts + seeds + steel cut oats into a large bowl. Then pour in the olive oil and maple syrup (honey works, too!).
Add the vanilla + cinnamon (add more or less depending on your preference). I like to stir and make sure the whole batch is coated well. You can add more/less maple or honey depending on your sweetness preference.
Pour the granola onto the two pans and spread evenly. Bake for 20 min or so depending on your oven intensity. Check half way through and stir. Bake until golden but not until brown or hard. Let cool on the pans.
Add dried cherries or berries if desired! Sometimes after it cools I add cacao nibs or tiny dark chocolate chips if we are doing a trail mix version. Adding dried cherries and/or berries adds a good chewy texture to the mix, as well as other nourishing benefits such as antioxidant and anti inflammatory effects.
HOW WE EAT IT:
over organic grass fed yogurt with fresh fruit
over smoothie bowls to add texture/crunch and extra nutrients
with nut milk (as cereal) and fresh fruit
straight outta the mason jar!
There are so many health benefits, and I will only touch on a handful here! Nuts are excellent sources of fats, protein and fiber. Flax, chia and pumpkin seeds are robust in nutrients and benefits, as well. This granola is free of refined sugar and chemicals.
This granola is also high in omega-3 fatty acids -- which are essential for optimal health!
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for so many benefits, including but not limited to: fighting depressing and anxiety, improved eye health, promotion of brain health during pregnancy + early life, improve risk factors for heart disease, reduce symptoms of ADHD in children, reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome, fight inflammation, fight autoimmune disease, improve mental disorders, fight age related mental decline and Alzheimer's disease, support prevention of cancer, reduce asthma in children, reduce fat in liver, improve bone and joint health, relieve menstrual pain, improve sleep and improve your skin.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for optimal health!
Read here for links to the studies behind those supportive benefits.
This granola is also high in nuts and seeds. I'll highlight a few pearls of the benefits here - more to come on the super food power of nuts and seeds!
Almonds: high in fiber, antioxidants vitamin E, magnesium
Cashews: rich in vitamins and phytochemicals; associated with heart protection and eye health
Pecans: high in monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid + phenolic antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease
Walnuts: rich in antioxidants; promote healthy gut and reduced inflammation
Pumpkin seeds: high in magnesium, antioxidants and linked to reduced cancer risk
Ground flax seed: high in omega 3s and lignans -- which may reduce cancer risk
Chia seeds: rich in calcium, manganese, magnesium; loaded with antixoxidants
There are so many more benefits and healthy properties of these nuts and seeds - but that is a teaser on why this is granola is so nourishing for our bodies and our kids' bodies.
So what are you waiting for? This is literally the. best. granola. Once you start, you won't go back.
Hit your pantry or hit your local grocer to stock up on these staples. If you can't find what you need for organic ingredients at your store, you can also look online at Thrive Market. What I can't get at Costco or our local PCC, I order through Thrive. I'm sure Amazon carries lots of these ingredients, also.
After you make it, let me know what you think and what you serve it with! I think it pairs beautifully with a tart organic full-fat yogurt, a handful of fresh berries and a drizzle of honey. My kids eat that often. Since I avoid dairy, I often eat this with my nut milk and berries, bananas and even apples. My kids like that, too!
I know you will be eating and living well nourished when you make this. Tag me and share - I want to see your creations! Cheers to living well nourished, frie