We all need a great granola recipe in our back pocket. Whether you like eating it by the handful, sprinkling it on yogurt and fruit for some crunch (that’s me), or making it into bars for portable snacking, granola is one of those versatile, anytime foods that is so easy to make at home, there’s really no reason to go for the bagged versions at the store. And with rich dark chocolate, tart dried cherries, a touch of sweetness from maple syrup and coconut oil, and an added nutritional boost of flaxseed, this granola is a crunchy, flavorful treat.
I first started making my own granola back in the day when I was just teaching myself how to cook. We were eating pescetarian at the time, so my cooking bible was How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. This was also back in the day when I was teaching high school full time, waking up at 5:15 so I could take the dogs for an early morning walk, get ready, guzzle coffee, and still leave the house before 6:30. I am a person that needs to eat breakfast in the morning, or my stomach will start loudly growling hours before lunch time, so finding a quick and easy breakfast was key. Which is why Mark Bittman’s recipe for granola was like an epiphany.
It was really less of a recipe and more of a basic formula. Oats + nuts + sweetener + binding agent + whatever mix ins you like = delicious, crunchy granola, in no time flat. Why would I ever buy granola at the store again?
This version is on the healthier side, with no added sugar, flaxseed for a nutritional boost and maple syrup and coconut oil to keep it vegan. I added pecans, dried cherries, and chopped dark chocolate for a sweet, rich and tangy flavor punch. We’ve been eating it with yogurt and fruit in the mornings all week, and sometimes as an easy after school snack. Trust me, it’s addictive.
- You could play with any combination of nuts and dried fruit that you like. You could also easily double the recipe for a bigger batch.
- If you want big clusters of granola, add 2 egg whites to the granola before you bake it. This will help bind everything together, then you can break it into whatever sized clusters you like.
- 3 cups oats (not instant)
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed (flax meal)
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecans
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed up until it is a liquid
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 2 oz dark chocolate, cut into bite-sized chunks
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter or oil a large rimmed baking sheet.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flaxseed, pecans, and cinnamon.
- Pour in the maple syrup and coconut oil and stir until everything is coated. Spread the mixture out onto the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats are golden brown.
- Once the granola has cooled, stir in the dried cherries and chopped chocolate. The granola will keep in a sealed container for at least a week.