Apr 22, 2013

Simple heart-healthy granola

As much as I love my original granola, I’ve since come up with a streamlined version because I make it every single week (yes, we eat a lot of granola!) I ditched the orange zest, cardamom and coconut palm sugar, because people don’t always have those ingredients on hand. I’ve also used fewer nuts and less sweetener so the granola isn’t quite as fattening.  Best of all, this recipe is easy to make on a weeknight – it literally takes about three minutes to throw it together.

In the process of revising this recipe, I had several granola revelations I want to share with you today:

1. Adding a half-cup of water to the granola makes it bake up crunchier.

2. Black Mission figs are hands-down the best dried fruit to use in granola.

3. Less-sweet granola grows on you. If you’re used to commercial granola, try using a little more sweetener, but cut it down a bit each time you make the recipe. Soon you’ll think the regular stuff tastes too much like candy (because it is like candy!)

So make my simple granola, and see if it doesn’t become a weekly habit with you, too.

Simple Heart-Healthy Granola

6 cups rolled oats (if you are gluten-sensitive be sure to get oats marked gluten-free)
¾ to 1 cup whole raw almonds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4  teaspoon salt
1/2 c maple syrup
½ cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
or high-oleic safflower oil
2/3 cup (or more to taste) dried fruit (recommend diced black mission figs)

Heat the oven to 275 degrees.

Combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the maple syrup, water, vanilla and olive oil.

Combine the two mixtures, then spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for one hour, stirring once. Add the dried fruit. Cool, then place in an airtight container for storage.

See more recipes: Breakfast, Gluten-free, Vegan


  • Pam

    The Eleven Madison Park granola recipe I tried is sooooo good but of course, not so heart-healthy. I’ll try this instead but also add some salt. That was the trick to that recipe – was the contrast between salty and sweet.

  • Bonnie

    Thanks so much for this recipe Cathy. All of your recipes are so good.

  • Thanks for the suggestion of water–I have made some pretty soggy granola and used more oil. Will cut down on the oil next time and excited to try this recipe.

  • Thanks, Pam, Tracy and Bonnie! Pam, note that the recipe does have 3/4 teaspoon of salt. You can probably increase it to 1 teaspoon but I wouldn’t do more than that, because it doesn’t have the sweetness to balance out more saltiness.

  • love granola and this looks amazing!

  • Bethany

    You could add orange essential oil if you had no zest- It is easier than zest And oh so tasty:)

  • Suzanne

    I make this on the less sweet side. I also rough chop the almonds due to having several crowned teeth that I don’t want to upset!

  • Ttrockwood

    Great recipe! I make granola all the time and have been hooked on the quinoa granola from hungryhungryhippie.com- it is super flexible and i always use more quinoa and half as much coconut oil but the quinoa gets all puffy and crispy and the coconut oil is so flavorful and makes a bug difference.
    I love that you add figs! I will put figs in anything!

  • Now that’s something I could take to work with me!

  • Hmm very interesting on the water front!! I tend to use fruit purees to add sweetness and moisture, but great tip! I’ll have to give it a try!

  • sue

    I use about 6 T of sweetener for 5 cups oats, so about the same, but 4 T grade B (less refined than grade A) Maple Sugar and 2 T molasses, which adds good taste and color. You could dissolve the salt in some of the water, heated; I find salt doesn’t dissolve once in contact with the oil. I add about 1/3 c ground toasted flaxseed, some ground chia and fewer nuts. I am thrilled to hear about the water adding crispiness.

  • Amy

    This is great – I’m starting week 2 of having this every morning for breakfast with some yogurt. LOVE it!

  • Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. All of your recipes are so good.

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