Perfect Cinnamon Nut Granola
What makes the perfect granola? Is it that toasted nut flavor, cozy and satisfying? Is it the audible crunch when you chew a spoonful? Or maybe the warming spice of cinnamon and vanilla?
Or, could it be the many ways that it benefits your body? It’s a veritable laundry list. Let’s take a look:
- Naturally sugar-free
- High in protein and fiber.
- 100% whole grain.
- Gluten Free.
- High in omega 3 fatty acids.
Shall I continue, or do you get the picture?
Oh, and one more thing. It’s delicious.
I love granola. It’s tasty, comforting, and filling. And granola can be pretty healthy, as far as whole grains and fiber are concerned. But most granola has a couple of skeletons in the closet – namely, bad oils and copious amounts of sugar.
I’ve often considered making my own granola. I just didn’t know if it could be done without all of that sugar pulling the grains together. I needed something sticky to act as a binding agent, but was there a healthy option?
Maybe, just maybe, I thought, a fruit puree would work. And there’s no stickier, tackier fruit I could imagine than a good old banana. So I threw a couple in my food processor (overripe, of course).
Add to that fruity yellow puree some stevia for sweetness, vanilla for warmth and aroma, and cinnamon for heady spice and you’ve got yourself the flavorful beginnings of a perfect granola.
Warm that gorgeous concoction on the stove for a bit and then fold it in to a hearty mixture of oats, flax, nuts, and seeds. Then into the oven it goes until it’s all toasty and brown, and you’re burning your fingers and tongue because it smells too good to let it cool properly before tasting … Yeah. I did that.
You’ll understand when you’re pulling your own batch out of the oven, all cute in your apron and oven mitts. At least that’s how I picture people who make granola.
Now excuse me, I have to go make some more. My 2 1/2 year-old just ate the last bowl full.
- 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup oat bran
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup flax seed meal
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 3 small bananas
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/2 heaping tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp stevia powder
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, oat bran, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, flax seeds and meal, and sesame seeds.
- Puree bananas in a food processor or blender.
- Combine banana puree with the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat.
- Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
- Spread the mixture out over the prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until dried, crispy and browned, about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
- Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.