~ Granola doesn’t need loads of butter or canola oil to be delicious. Applesauce is the key! This easy, healthy and really yummy granola proves it! ~
This Recipe Is: • Make Ahead • Vegetarian •
So, I used to think, “I don’t have time to make granola. It must take days.”
Boy, was I wrong!
Now I make at least two batches a week. And when we run out, there are moans and whining. Even my non-cereal-loving daughters are all about it! My husband stirs it into his natural peanut butter for a post-workout “second breakfast,” and I love it with Greek yogurt as part of my lunch!
The truth? It is sooooo easy to make! Yes, the total time (from ingredients in a bowl to happily crunching) is over an hour. BUT … it’s not active time. It just needs to be stirred about every 10 minutes.
My solution? I make granola while I clean the kitchen. Or while I work in the laundry room. (Does the dirty clothes pile ever go away?) Or while I address and sign Christmas cards. Or … well, you get the idea.
It’s sort of the multitasker’s dream food. You can get SO much done in just an hour – and you also end up with a big, yummy, fresh, crunchy batch of homemade granola!
When I decided it was time for me to take on this “granola making” challenge, I did what most people do. I googled it. What I found was that many granola recipes call for lots of oil. Ok, but I really wanted to limit the fat and calories from oil. And, I usually sub in applesauce for most of the oil when I bake. Hmmmm … but would that work for granola???
Turns out that, yes, yes it does! My initial research gave me quite a few recipes, but none of them really spoke to me. I realized that I just needed to start experimenting and build my own recipe. So I pushed up my sleeves and went for it!
Both Shelley’s family and mine munched happily along as each batch got closer and closer to perfection. After at least five or six batches, we decided it was just right! And honestly – we’re loving it. (One of the dangers of being a THK taste tester is that you often get totally hooked!)
Shoved in the back of the cupboard was an old bag of store-bought granola. I took a look at the label and was shocked. There were many (many!) ingredients listed (some nearly unpronounceable), yet when I was looking at the granola-in-a-bag I couldn’t really determine why some of those ingredients needed to be in there. I mean, I couldn’t see them … but apparently they were there. Blech!
I love knowing that something my family eats (every day now!) is wholesome and full of good-for-you, nutritious ingredients that I can easily recognize and pronounce!
Really, you can do this. I promise! And, it’s sooooo worth it!
- 3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup nuts and/or seeds (we used roasted sunflower kernels, chopped walnuts and sliced almonds)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit of choice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 275° F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats with the mixed nuts and/or seeds and the ground flax.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the applesauce, honey, canola oil, cinnamon and salt. Microwave on 100% power for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds, just so that it is warm and a little thinner.
- Pour warm applesauce mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Add coconut and stir again to mix through.
- Spread granola mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 10 - 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in dried fruit, if desired.
- Store in an airtight container for several days.
The recipe calls for 3½ cups oats and ½ cup nuts and/or seeds. If you prefer more nuts for added crunch, simply make adjustments. Your total amount of oats and nuts/seeds should be 4 cups.