Breakfast is tough for me. I’m going to guess that’s the case with most people with dietary restrictions. When I find one thing that sounds good- that’s pretty much the only breakfast I’ll want for weeks, months, or longer. Granola is currently my breakfast of choice and the store options are overwhelming and not always my favorite. There’s this one brand my family is obsessed with: delicious but insanely sweet. Starting off the day with a sugary cereal isn’t the best idea for those who want to function the rest of the day, so I’ve opted to make my own. We’ve been having a lot of rainy Sundays here in sunny Southern California and it’s a perfect time to throw a batch of this in the oven and eat it for a week or two, then start again the next week.
As you can see, I am quite particular about my granola: I don’t love raisins or large chunks of nuts, I do love a hearty granola but without tons of oil or sugar or chunks, and I do want to start my day with something that will be tasty and satisfying. This is a basic granola I’ve been making for years- easily adapted according to your own likes and dislikes as well as what you happen to have in the pantry.
Here’s my favorite version with dried cherries and currants as well as pecans, cashews and almonds. Use any combination of the nuts and fruits. There are no large granola chunks in this version.
Pecan, Cherry, Chia Granola
2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats (or regular if you’re not gluten-free)
1/2-3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup cashews, chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries*
1/4 cup currants*
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds
1/4 cup + 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other mild oil)
1-2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon unsulphured molasses (optional)
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 250. In a large bowl, combine the oats, your combination of nuts, dried fruit, flax and chia seeds. Mix.
In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk until as amalgamated as possible. Pour over the oat mixture and combine completely until all of the ingredients are coated. Spread granola out on a baking sheet, shaking the sheet so the oats spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, stir and re-shake, and bake for another 20-25 minutes.
The granola is done when it doesn’t stick at all to the pan and feels somewhat dry- it will continue to dry and bake a bit out of the oven. Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight jar on the counter for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Make sure to shake the jar every so often or the seeds will all be left at the bottom.
Serve with your favorite type of milk and berries, drizzle with honey for more sweetness, or have it as a topper to your breakfast yogurt.
*I like the cherries and currants somewhat chewy but not break-the-jaw chewy like some granola. If you want your fruit fresher and not chewy add them after the first 20 minutes of baking.