Few things make your whole house smell quite as delicious as a warm batch of fresh, homemade granola. (…unless you burn it, which I sort of did by mistake the first time I made this. :/ Note to self: Don’t forget to set the timer when making granola.)
Homemade granola is pretty awesome for so many reasons...
- It’s one of the easiest baking ventures you’ll ever embark on. Parents - this is a really fun one to make with the kids - just a little measuring (that doesn’t have to be too precise), stirring and throwing it in the oven and your little people will have their very own creation!
- It’s lightyears healthier than most granolas on the market (as long as you’re making a healthy version like this one!).
- You get to be in control of the flavors and ingredients.
- It’s an awesome whole grain topping for SO many dishes.
I could go on and on! But truth be told, many of these praises could be sung of most things you make at home instead of buying pre-packaged. There are definitely healthier exceptions to the sad granola selection on the shelf at most stores. Some brands are coming out with pretty great lower sugar options. However, the nutritional value of the vast majority of store bought granola more closely resembles cookie crumbles than a healthy whole grain. So, why not just make it yourself so you can ensure you’re getting all the taste and health benefits you want?
Speaking of the store bought stuff, have you ever looked at those ingredient labels? (SIDE NOTE: being an informed consumer and looking at ingredient labels of any packaged food is always a good idea. Let me know if you ever need help deciphering that mish mash of marketing mumbo jumbo) Most of them contain silly amounts of added sugar and are pretty well soaked in whatever processed oil they use. A typical serving size is just 1/4 - 1/2 cup…and who eats just 1/4 cup of granola?! That’s like those crazy people who decided to make the serving size of ice cream 1/2 cup. Sigh…
Let’s talk about the main ingredient in granola: whole grain rolled oats - a smart carbohydrate choice, indeed! What makes them so smart? They are a minimally processed whole food (i.e. single ingredient, closely resembling its original form) and high in soluble fiber. Our bodies, especially our brains, need carbohydrates to perform well, whether that’s in sports, at work, or just taking care of your everyday responsibilities. Most easily consumable carbohydrates are pretty heavily processed. Think bread, bars, baked goods, pasta, crackers, chips, juice, etc. My recommendation for almost all clients is the less processed your foods, the better. That goes for carbs too! Less processed = fewer ingredients, closer to their natural state, more satisfying and more nutritious for your body!
Some other less processed, smart carbohydrate choices include foods like fruit, starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash), whole grains (steel cut or rolled oats, quinoa, farro, bulgar wheat, sorghum, barley, spelt, amaranth, etc.), and pulses (lentils, black, pinto, garbanzo, cannelini, kidney & other beans). As always, portion size plays a role. If you’re curious about the amount of carbohydrates that would benefit your lifestyle, just shoot me a message and we can chat.
Ok, now on to the fun stuff. Chocolatey, crunchy, nutty granola! This recipe is pretty choc(olate!) full of nutrients! It’s base is those awesome whole grain oats, the only sugar comes from unsweetened applesauce and maple syrup, and the healthy fats come from coconut, pecans and cocoa nibs. The only thing missing is protein, which is why I usually pair this recipe with something like plain greek yogurt or cottage cheese…because balance.
Double Chocolate Coconut Pecan Granola
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces, raw, unsalted
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- Preheat oven to 350º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Add first five ingredients to a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add oats, pecans, and coconut to wet mixture and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated.
- Spread oat mixture in a thin even layer on prepared baking sheet and place in middle rack of oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss mixture. It should form small clumps at this point. Return to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until crispy, being careful not to overcook. Granola can go from perfect to burned very quickly - trust me. ;)
- Remove granola from oven when cooked to desired crunch level. Sprinkle cacao nibs into granola and let cool (or spoon warm granola onto treat of your choice!). Enjoy!
This granola is a perfect, crunchy, very mildly sweet, chocolatey topping for your greek yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, smoothie, hot bowl of squash soup, holiday pie, or my favorite, ice cream. :) Dig in and enjoy!
Have you ever baked homemade granola? If you try this out or have any special recipe requests, use #jeannereillyrd to show me your handiwork!
Thanks as always for following me on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook and sharing me with all your friends, family, coworkers and strangers on the street. :) I have availability for new clients at the moment, so if you or any companies you know are looking for food/wellness content creation, recipe development or nutrition coaching, send them my way!
Looking for an affordable, convenient way to get these high quality ingredients into your kitchen? Check out Thrive Market. I'm not paid to promote them...I just love them that much! http://thrv.me/jeannereillyrd