Healthier Homemade Granola

Healthier Homemade Granola on The Creekside CookMaking granola, like making yogurt or tofu, was practically required for the Mother Earth News reading, funny cigarette smoking, barefoot live off the land types that we once were. I never bought granola back then, mostly because it was more expensive than making your own. Even the stuff in the co-op or health food store didn’t compare in either price or flavor to what I could make myself.

Unfortunately, my old recipe had an unbelievable amount of oil, making it very high in fat, and as we get older, we don’t burn off fat as well as we once did, so I stopped making it. I tried a couple different store bought low fat kinds but they mostly tasted like cinnamon infused cardboard. Reading the ingredient list is even less appetizing. Even if you had a wicked case of the munchies, you don’t want to eat that junk.

Then I ran across Nigella Lawson’s recipe which uses applesauce instead of quite so much oil, lowering the fat content somewhat and still tasting amazing.

I have to admit that I am not always so crazy about the results of substituting applesauce for fat in recipes – I understand wanting to find an easier-on-the-hips way to make brownies or what have you, but I am rarely a fan of the result. In this case though, I actually think it tastes better and I can’t imagine going back to my old recipe.

And now, there are so many more easily accessible ingredients for granola making – I used a mixture of rolled oats, barley flakes and wheat flakes, as well as adding some quinoa flakes for the increased protein. Quinoa flakes have a bit of a vegetable-y quality about them normally, but in here they just kind of disappear into the mix so that you can’t really taste it much, but you still get that all important protein boost at breakfast time.

I added some of my favorite seeds too – golden flax, chia and sesame – each brings a unique bit of nutrition, fiber and flavor along. Coconut oil and unsweetened coconut chips both get added in for flavor and because they are good for you.

Use whatever dried fruit you enjoy, keeping mind that dried fruit is pretty high in sugars, albeit natural ones, but that they also add to the fiber count, not to mention a huge flavor boost and a little additional sweetness.ingredients being added to the granolaI’ll admit, this takes a little more effort than opening a box from the supermarket, but I think you will agree that the result will be worth the bother. So, we better get going!

Healthier Homemade Granola
Recipe type: Breakfast / Grains
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 6 cups cereal grains [any combo of oats, wheat or barley]
  • 2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 2 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 cups sliced raw almonds
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped raw pecans
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped blanched hazelnuts
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1 & ⅓ cups unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup honey [vegan option - use agave]
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 -3 cups dried fruit of your choice [raisins, apricots, sour cherries, apples, plums, etc], chopped if needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 300º and line two large, heavy baking sheets [18 x 13 inch] with parchment paper.
  2. In a very large bowl, combine the grains, quinoa flakes, coconut flakes, sesame, flax and chia seeds and the nuts. Mix well.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the applesauce, honey or agave, maple syrup and coconut oil. Heat until the oil melts.
  4. Whisk in the vanilla, salt, cinnamon and ginger.
  5. Pour half of the applesauce mixture over the grain mixture, and mix to combine.
  6. Add the second half of the applesauce mixture and mix to combine that as well. [it is easier to get the applesauce completely combined if you do in two steps]
  7. Spread the mixture evenly on the two pans - it is going to fill them both right up.
  8. Bake at 300º for a total of 40 to 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so to break up large pieces and cook evenly.
  9. When it is toasty and evenly cooked, remove to cooling racks.
  10. Immediately, mix half of the fruit into each pan - the residual heat will meld the fruit in without making it get hard.
  11. Once cooled, store in tightly sealed containers - will keep up to a month. you can freeze it to keep longer.

Don’t cook the fruit – just add it after you remove the granola from the oven – it will get melded into the cereal without getting dried out and hard.finished granola
You can enjoy this granola on yogurt, straight out of the container, or my favorite – in a bowl with milk – yum! A copy of Mother Earth News propped up in front of you is optional, but not a bad idea.Bowl of Healthier Homade Granola on The Creekside Cook

24 thoughts on “Healthier Homemade Granola

  1. Aging is largely such a good thing, but boy do our metabolisms change! So this recipe is perfect for the way we’re trying (and mostly succeeding) to eat now. This is perfect — thanks so much.

  2. Well now isn’t that a great idea! I sure remember my old granola recipe from the sixties. Back then,even my mom who was not at all into dieting used to say “You know Adri, that stuff is really quite fattening.” Of course she was right. And of course I ignored her… so it goes. Now I realize that she was spot on. The applesauce is a most welcome innovation. Thanks!

  3. I think I’ll be making a batch of this tonight! So tasty…and full of so many yummy ingredients! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  4. this delicious granola is way better than one can ever get on stores….there is something so energizing about making such treats at home…buying can never give that….and with such a wonderful recipe….we won’t even think of getting a pack of granola from stores again,thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  5. I want to stay young forever and eat everything I want! Oh well, as hard as we try, it’s inevitable and we have to start watching this and that. It’s horrible because as a youngster I could eat anything and stay rail thin ***sigh***
    This granola is a super foods wonderland! Love the colours and all the goodies.

  6. Hello, Donalyn! I love coming across granola recipes because it’s firmly on my ‘cooking and baking bucket list’! I particularly like this recipe of yours, though, with the applesauce and quinoa … it’s such a good idea to sneak in those heallthier little ‘bits’. This is definitely getting pinned for later!

    • Thanks Helen – I think the hardest part is getting all of the ingredients around, unless you have a very good health food store or bulk market nearby. Hope you get the chance to make it!

  7. Gorgeous granola. I think just the natural nuts have quite a bit of natural oil so adding more would be a bit much. Love your lightened up version and lots of yummy things inside an at half of the cost for sure.

    • Hi Bam – the nuts do have oils, but not enough to really spread to the other ingredients and make them crunchy. That’s why some recipes have so much oil. The applesauce acts as a binder plus gives you a nice crunchy texture as well. And you would never know that this is a lighter version!

  8. Granola sure has come a long way from those munchie days hasn’t it Donalyn? I remember them well, lol…I can’t tell you how many different granola recipes I experimented with in my youth. As you say though now they can be prepared with so many innovative ingredients including applesauce. I’m so loving this recipe! I must save it. I have recently learned my granddaughter is quite the granola lover. (she’s 11:) I can’t wait to share this recipe with her!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Donalyn…

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