Crunchy Granola & Variations

There's only one thing vegetarians, vegans, carnivores and even paleo eaters never disagree on: Granola. Crunchy, salty and open to a vast well of interpretations, this epic breakfast, snack and topper-of-all-things is so simple to master, there's really only one question to answer before making it: What's your signature blend?

In addition to launching countless granola companies, that question is the reason so many incredible blends of grains, fruits and flavors occupy store shelves. But why leave all the fun to the entrepreneurs? Successfully inventing your own signature granola is as easy as remembering a simple ratio and a few rules of thumb. Here's the breakdown:

Everyday granola is a mix of three elements: Dry ingredients, wet ingredients and heat. "Dry ingredients" represent a blend of oats, seeds, nuts and your other favorite grains. "Wet ingredients" represent a mix of fats and sweeteners (which in granola function best as liquids like coconut oil, maple syrup, or liquid coconut nectar). Pairing the wet and dry ingredients at a steady ratio of 6:1 ensures your dry ingredients are perfectly coated with just enough wet stuff to do their crunchy bidding, brought out by a few rounds in a 300F oven.

Put in practice, that 6:1 ratio can inspire hundreds of different recipes, but every single one of them will represent six parts dry ingredients, and one part wet ingredients (for example, 3 cups total oats, grains, seeds and nuts to 1/2 cup total  liquid fats and sweetener). There are only two good rules of thumb to both keep things simple and maximize the flavors of your final ingredients:

1) Seasonings like salt or cinnamon don't need to be included in your total dry ingredient measurements. It's too complex and won't make a real difference in the final product.

2) If you're using things like dried or dehydrated fruit, chocolate chunks, or other components (bacon, perhaps?) whose flavors won't be enhanced by toasting, mix them in after the oat blend has come out of the oven. Since you're mixing them in after baking, these ingredients also don't need to be included in your 6:1 ratio.

Got it? Awesome. Here's a recipe to get you started, but we hope you feel confident enough to riff on it until your signature granola is perfected. 

 

Cocoa Cabanana Granola

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup pistachios

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup coconut nectar syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup dried pineapple, roughly chopped

1/2 cup dried bananas, roughly chopped

1/4 cup raw cocoa nibs

 

1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix oats, almonds, pistachios, cocoa powder and salt. Add coconut nectar, oil and vanilla and stir thoroughly, until dry ingredients are evenly coated. 

3. Spread mixture evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-45 minutes total, stirring every 10-15 minutes. 

4. When granola is toasted to your taste, remove from oven. Allow to cool slightly, then add dried pineapple, bananas and cocoa nibs and stir to blend. Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.