Sorghum, Oats, and Cranberry Granola

When I first started making my own granola, the family couldn’t get enough of it. I would give granola to family and friends as gifts, and they would frequently ask for the recipe. My friend, Kay, referred to it as crack. The name stuck. We started calling it Crack-ola Granola. Yes, it was nutritionally dense, packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, but it was also sweet and salty, which is what made it so addictive and high in calories.


I recently read Michael Moss’s bestseller, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. He wrote, “To make a new soda guaranteed to create a craving requires the high math of regression analysis and intricate charts to plot what industry insiders call the “bliss point,” or the precise amount of sugar or fat or salt that will send consumers over the moon.” With the concept of the bliss point in mind, I began to work on tailoring my recipe to reign in the salt and sugar content with their addictive qualities and to decrease the calories. I had to make quite a few batches to get to a healthier and tolerable bliss point.

Here is how I changed my recipe.
-I cut back on the brown sugar by 75%.
-I cut back on the salt by 33%.
-I substituted sorghum for honey, and olive oil for canola.
Here is a list of the dry ingredients and their corresponding nutritional attributes (starting with the bowl of coconut at the top of the photo):
Coconut: fiber, iron, zinc
Pecans: antioxidants, vitamin E, protein
Craisins: antioxidants, fiber
Ground Flax Seed: omega 3’s, fiber, protein & lignans
Raw Pumpkin Seeds: magnesium, zinc, omega 3’s
Brown Sugar: calcium, iron
Wheat Germ: vitamin E & folic acid
Raw Sunflower Seeds: vitamin E & magnesium
Almonds: protein, fiber, vitamin E, minerals
Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: lowers LDL cholesterol, fiber

8 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups wheat germ
1 cup ground flax seed
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup raw, unsalted, sunflower seeds
1 cup raw, unsalted, pumpkin seeds
2 cups chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
¼ cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sorghum syrup (or honey)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot water (not boiling)
2 cups dried cranberries (or raisins)

Yield: 4.5 pounds

Preheat oven to 275º

In a large bowl, mix together: oats, wheat germ, flax, brown sugar, seeds, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt.
Into a 4 cup liquid measure, pour the olive oil to the 2/3 cup line, add the sorghum to the 1-1/3 cup line, add the hot water to the 2- 1/3 cup line, and finally, add the vanilla. Stir together with a whisk.
Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and immediately mix with a large spatula until the liquid and dry ingredients are uniformly incorporated into one another.

Pour mixture into two  13″ by 18″ baking pans lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Once out of the oven, add the cranberries and mix together. Allow to cool. The granola will become crunchy as it cools. Store in an airtight container. Freezes well.

A nut free alternative:
My son asked me to tweak the recipe so he could enjoy homemade granola without nuts. I looked for ways to replace the sweet crunchiness that would be lost when I removed the nuts. He told me that flax seeds and chia seeds were in a nut-free product he regularly bought at the store. I added both of those and also increased the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

The chia seeds added a nice crunch, and I now include them in my regular granola recipe. They are high in fiber and protein. The word “chia” comes from the Mayan word for “strength, ” and apparently athletes swear by them for improving their endurance while exercising. The chia seeds are on the right. The flax seeds are on the left.
You may be wondering where you have heard the word “chia” before:
chia granola
A tasty and nutritious breakfast:
I enjoy having a half cup of granola with plain kefir for breakfast. Kefir is a slightly sour tasting probiotic drink that tastes like liquid yogurt. Kefir can be found in most grocery stores in the health foods section. If you add berries to the top, it’s like eating a healthy sundae for breakfast!

Related Breakfast Posts
Fruit and Nut Bread
Raising Sorghum Cane
The Biscuit King
The Navel Mary Way: How to Peel an Orange

Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe.

© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.

15 thoughts on “Sorghum, Oats, and Cranberry Granola

  1. Great recipe, Judy! I have one that is very similar but I’m going to try your sorghum substitution for the honey and olive oil for canola. I also use low sugar craisins rather than the full sugar craisins which helps with calorie content. Always trying to make recipes more healthy and it’s helpful that you already figured it out without sacrificing taste.

    1. Thank you, Mary! Glad to know about the low calorie Craisins. Let me know how you like the granola. Try it with the Kefir if you haven’t done so already. I love it!Thanks for following my blog, too!

  2. i make granola all the time, but have never heard of including water in it! what does that do for it? I’m psyched to try using sorghum, a flavor i LOVE. Have you investigated the nutritional implications (good or bad) of using coconut oil? Also, have you ever added bee pollen?

    1. The water thins out the other liquids so they spread easier, and adds moisture. I LOVE olive oil on just about everything, so haven’t had a need to try a new oil. I originally tried the olive oil out because I thought, I’d never dunk bread in canola oil, so why put it on my granola?? I feel the same way about coconut oil as I do about canola oil. Don’t know anything about bee pollen. Tell me more. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out.

  3. Judy, I used to make granola all the time, but I haven’t made it in years! This inspires me to do it again.

    1. Gloria, big smile over here. We make a batch once a week and eat it with plain kefir for breakfast most mornings, and sometimes, again as a snack in the afternoons!Thanks. So great to finally meet you. You have been a gardening hero of mine for years.

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