Olive oil? In granola? Certo! (Certainly!) This idea offered to me by my sister-in-law Mirna, was worth exploring. I’ve made plenty of granola in the past and recently started craving it with my morning yogurt and fruit. A quick label read at the local healthy grocery store revealed that every single brand on the shelf from medium-priced to expensive all contained canola oil. As a canola oil rebel, I was disgusted that all these companies creating so-called nutritious and healthy cereals would be reluctant to add anything other than canola! Yes, I realize that canola oil has its benefits for some but I choose to eliminate it from my diet – GMO’s, pesticides, high heat processing – you get the picture. When the suggestion was made to substitute olive oil for canola oil, at first I suspected it might have a flavor incongruent to the cinnamon and maple syrup in the granola. I took the chance anyway. The results – the best granola I have ever made. I used my Galantino medium fruity EVOO but think it would be extraordinary with lemon or mandarin oil as well. The granola cooks at a very low temperature so the oil remains stable and holds onto all its health benefits. Because the ingredients in granola are personal, feel free to substitute your own favorite nuts or fruits. I love coconut and feel this adds the amount of sweetness I like. One trick I’ve learned over the years is to add the nuts and coconut nearing the end of the baking time so they do not over-toast. I stir in the dried fruit when the granola has cooled.
So for you brave hearts that try this delicious snack, please send me a comment and let me know how you liked it. I think it will make a great nibble at work!
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees
- 4 cups oatmeal I use Trader Joe’s organic
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon I used a bit more and love King Arthur’s Vietnamese Cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 cup nuts: I used ½ cup slivered almonds and ½ cup pecans
- ¾ cup dried fruit of your choice: I used dried cherries, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and dried blueberries
- ¾ cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut or as I just discovered, coconut chips
- A sprinkling of chia or flax seeds is nice too.
- Mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Combine the olive oil and maple syrup.
- Pour olive oil/syrup mixture over oats and stir to combine well.
- Pour out onto a 13 X 18 baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I do this so the pan stays cleaner! You can also use two smaller cookie sheets. If you use two cookie sheets, the layers are thinner so watch carefully as it will cook faster.
- Bake for about 2 hours or until desired crunchiness and well-browned. Stir every 20 minutes to evenly brown.
- Just before the granola is finished, stir in the coconut and nuts and cook just until browned.
- Cool and stir in the dried fruit of your choice.
- This granola is not clumpy. If you prefer it clumpy, give it a gentle stir in the beginning and then allow pieces to stick together.
- A word of caution: Do not be tempted to increase the heat to cook the granola faster. I did this the last time I made it and it burned very quickly!
“The olive tree is such a beautiful reminder that this isn’t how it’s going to be forever. On the other side of the harsh wind is fruit. On the other side of the process of being broken and waiting is a useful heart free of bitterness. On the other side of being pressed and crushed is oil . . . the most valuable part of me set free to emerge.”
― Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
Ciao for now!