A Nutritious On-The-Go Snack: Olive Oil Granola

I’m a big granola fan.  It can be a great source of protein, fiber and beneficial fat, and it goes so nicely on top of Greek yogurt.  Unfortunately, many of the granola brands out there are full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives and other unnecessary, unhealthy ingredients.  For example, look at the ingredients in Kellogg’s Special K Low Fat Granola:

WHOLE GRAIN OATS, SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, OAT BRAN, RICE, HONEY, SOLUBLE WHEAT FIBER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SOY GRITS, MOLASSES, CORN FLOUR, NATURAL FLAVOR, SALT, ACACIA GUM, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, OAT FIBER, EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, MALT FLAVORING, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, FERROUS FUMARATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN D, VITAMIN B12.

I don't know about you, but i think 32 ingredients is a little excessive when it comes to a simple granola!

Yikes!  As you can see, just because it says granola, that doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest choice.  You can find high-quality granola brands at the health food store, but many times they offer very little bang for a whole lot of buck.  Instead of forking up all your hard-earned dough for a tiny little sack of organic granola at the market, why not make your own just the way you like it?

The inspiration for this post came when I recently attended my friend Lauren‘s wedding, and the lovely mother of the bride, Connie, made the most delicious olive oil granola and included it in every wedding party member’s gift bag.  It was absolutely fabulous –  moist, colorful and the perfect combination of salty and sweet.   I immediately asked Connie for the recipe so I could give it a go myself.  It was a success, so now I want to share it with you.

Olive Oil Granola Ingredients:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup nuts*, coarsely chopped (I used almonds and walnuts.)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup coconut chips
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom*
1 cup dried fruit (I used cherries, cranberries and apricots, but bananas, raisins or pineapples would also be tasty!)

* Don’t forget my tips on soaking your nuts to make them easier to digest!

*Never heard of cardamom?  Neither had I before trying this recipe!  The spice has numerous health benefits, such as improving digestion and stimulating metabolism.

Preparation Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom.

Feel free to switch up the ingredients to make this your own!

  • Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.

Bonus - your house will smell delicious all day!

  • Transfer granola to a large bowl and add dried fruit, tossing to combine.
  • After letting the mixture cool for a few minutes, serve and enjoy!

Tada! A nutrient-packed granola with half the ingredients of most grocery store brands!

With very little effort and about an hour, you can prepare a big batch of delicious granola that your family can enjoy for the next week or two.  It also makes a great homemade gift for teachers, neighbors or party guests.  You can probably save more money by buying the nuts and seeds in bulk or from your local farmer’s market.  Another great thing about this recipe is that you can play with the nut and fruit varieties to make it a little different every time.

Enjoy, and as always, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Thanks for the recipe, Mrs. Connie!

7 Comments

Filed under Recipes

7 responses to “A Nutritious On-The-Go Snack: Olive Oil Granola

  1. Pingback: A Nutritious On-The-Go Snack: Olive Oil Granola | The Nutritionista | ClubEvoo

  2. At the risk of sounding like Gomer Pyle, I have to say “well, golly!” Cause I didn’t know you could make granola like this and would love to try it. Appreciate the great recipe!

  3. Yes, it’s so tasty and packed with all kinds of superfoods and protein. My hubby and I have been enjoying it all week!

  4. Cindy Williams

    I can’t wait to try this recipe! However, I’m having trouble finding coconut chips. I have looked in the baking section, fresh produce, dried fruit section, and in the same location that I found the hulled pumpkin seeds. No luck! Where in the grocery store can I find coconut chips?

    • Hey Cindy! I had a hard time finding this item as well! The first time I made it, I got big strips of coconut and I had the hardest time cutting them into small pieces. On the second go-around, I just bought coconut shavings. They are much easier to find and work just as well.

      Hope it goes well. I love this stuff. Be careful…it can be addicting!

  5. Christina Williams

    Momma made this last week. She brought me some of it, and it was fantastic! And so filling! Yesterday the cats and I flew to New Jersey, and I had no time or appetite to sit down and eat a full meal. Snacking on this through the day gave me a lot of energy. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!

    • Glad you liked it Christina! It’s become a staple in my house as well. I recently served it at a baby shower brunch with fresh fruit and yogurt and everyone was raving! I like how you can make it different every time.

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