When I first started making my own granola, the family couldn’t get enough of it. 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 tailoring my recipe to reign in the salt and sugar content and decrease the calories. I had to make quite a few batches to get to a healthier and tolerable bliss point.
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
Chia seeds: high in fiber and protein
8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups wheat germ
1 cup ground flax seed
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
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅔ cup sorghum syrup (or honey)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot water
2 cups dried cranberries
Yield: 4.5 pounds
Preheat oven to 275º
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, wheat germ, flax, brown sugar, seeds, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt.
Into a 4-cup liquid measure, pour ⅔ cup olive oil, add sorghum until it reaches the 1⅓ cup line, and add hot water until it reaches the 2⅓ cup line. Stir in vanilla and whisk until well mixed.
Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and immediately mix until all of the ingredients are uniformly coated.
Pour mixture into two 13″ by 18″ baking pans.
Bake for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Once out of the oven, add the cranberries and mix. The granola will become crunchy as it cools. Store in an airtight container when thoroughly cooled. Freezes well.
Chia seeds add a nice crunch and they are high in fiber and protein. “Chia” comes from the Mayan word for “strength, ” and apparently athletes swear by them for improving endurance. 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:
A tasty and nutritious breakfast:
I enjoy having a half cup of granola with plain kefir for breakfast. Kefir is a slightly sour probiotic drink that has the consistency of liquid yogurt. It can be found in the health foods section of the grocery store. If you add berries to the top, it’s like eating a healthy sundae for breakfast!
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© 2014-2018 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.