Did you know?
The term 'granola' is used to describe many things these days. Coming from Portland, OR, I often hear it used to describe the type of people that live here. "Oh, ya, that place is filled with granola people!" OR "That's so granola!" I am serious friends. I have heard it. And I still laugh every time I do. Even Urban Dictionary backs me up (what the slang word really means). If it is on Urban Dictionary, then it is a legit thing, right? (cue my sarcasm)
These days, granola found on the grocery store shelves are often packed with sneaky saturated fats, refined sugars and other fun, not-so-good for us stuff. Even some brands that claim to be healthy on the front of their cereal packages are actually not healthy at all.
Unhealthy ingredients commonly found in granola cereal:
- cane sugar/juice
- canola oil
- soybean oil
- brown rice syrup
- vegetable glycerin
- glucose syrup
- palm oil
- oat syrup solids
Not all granola brands use this stuff, but a lot do and it is good to be aware. Check the nutrition facts, my friends. They're always on the package.
I love granola. I put it on top of my smoothies, snack on it, or even eat it plain with some almond milk poured over. Granola, grain free or not, is one of my favorite foods. While I do not necessarily avoid grains, they do not always sit well with my stomach and my body so I do not eat them very often. Lately, I have been learning about all of the benefits of consuming healthy fats, so I have been trying to incorporate them more into my diet, adding more fat to meals instead of grains to make me feel full. Combining these two goals, I set out to make a granola that was grain free and healthy.
This granola recipe is so chewy, refreshing, and is the perfect amount of sweet and salty. The tropic inspired ingredients make me so excited for summer! The first time I made this recipe, my best friend and I put some in our backpacks and snacked on it while snowshoeing Bend, OR, one day. After a few days of sharing it with others and snacking on it almost constantly myself, my first batch went in less than a few days. Needless to say, it's a keeper.
I am off to make another batch because I am craving it again but I hope you all enjoy it and I cannot wait to hear what you all think!
- 2 cups dried fruit mixture (raisins, apricots, craisins, prunes)
- 2 1/2 cups nut mixture (1 cup of cashews and the rest almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts)
- 2/3 cup pepitas (also known as raw pumpkin seeds)
- 3 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup honey
- 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (*see note below)
- In a blender, pulse together only 1 1/2 - 2 cups of the nut mixture and 1 1/2 cup of the coconut flakes with all of the dried fruit mixture.
- Put mixture into a medium sized bowl. (Note: My nutribullet was too small, so I had to do this in batches. With so much fruit, you might also have to stop multiple times to keep the mixture chunks from sticking to the side of the blender. The goal here is to not blend it all together, but to blend it enough that there are still chunks in the mixture (about pea size). Thus, I recommend using pulsing the mixture together so that you can stop when you like the consistency.)
- Melt the honey and coconut oil together in a separate bowl.
- In the medium sized bowl with the blended nut fruit mixture, add the remaining nut mixture and 1 1/2 cups of coconut flakes, pepitas melted honey and oil, and salt. Combine all ingredients until everything is fully mixed. Note: I recommend mixing only half of the salt amount in first and then trying it and adjusting the salt amount to your own preference.
- Enjoy or cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Salt: If you do not want big chunks of salt, do only 1/2-1 T table salt. For a less salty granola, use only 1/2 T sea salt. I like to notice the salty and sweet components, but if you do not, I recommend only using less than half of the amount of salt. It is always better to have too little salt than too much, so start slow and add more at the end.
- For blending thick foods such as chewy dried fruits or nuts, I recommend using a robo-coupe, nutribullet, or other strong chopping/blending kitchen device. You may have to stop multiple times throughout the blending process to scrape the sides down. Pulsing the mix instead of blending is best.
- Because this granola has a lot of coconut oil and honey in it, it is best when it is eaten right after taking it out of the fridge. This is because the cold make the granola chunky and chewy.
- Change the nut and fruit mix for different flavor profiles:
- Tropical (coconut, dried pineapple, dried papaya, cashews, macadamia nuts)
- Winter (dried apples, raisins, craisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, spices )
- Berry (dried blueberries, dried strawberries, dried goji berries, cashews, almonds