Finding a granola that doesn’t contain oil is nearly impossible. This is another food that can be perfectly delicious (and still crunchy) without added oil. Making your own homemade granola is very easy, and you don’t even need a food dehydrator.
½ cup water
3 ounces dates, pitted and quartered (about 6 medjool or 12 deglet)
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1¼ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup sliced almonds (optional)
1. Place the water, dates, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a blender and set aside for at least 15 minutes (so the dates can soften). Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (see photos below) or a silicone mat.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, raisins, and nuts.
3. Blend the dates, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth. Pour into the bowl of oats, raisins, and nuts, and mix with a fork.
4. Spread the granola evenly on the baking sheet, breaking up any big clumps. Cook on the center rack for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and using a spatula, shuffle the granola around a bit. Return to the oven for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. It should be a light to medium brown when done. For full crunchiness, completely cool the granola first. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 55 to 60 minutes
Makes: 3½ cups
Juice instead of water: For added sweetness and flavor, try substituting the water with any unsweetened fruit juice (like orange, tangerine, pineapple or apple). I’ve used orange juice instead of water, and also added the zest from the orange and it was really tasty (if you try this, don’t blend the zest, just add it at the end while stirring everything together).
Nut options: Any kind of chopped or small nuts would work here, but I think the texture of the sliced almonds is my favorite. I’ve also used chopped walnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds.
Raw raisins and nuts: If you don’t want to cook your raisins and/or nuts, feel free to toss them in with the oat mixture after cooking.
What is granola? Granola is a breakfast and snack food popular worldwide. It most often consists of rolled oats, nuts, raisins, and some kind of sweetener. It is stirred halfway through baking to achieve a loose, crispy consistency. Granola is popular with hikers, campers, and backpackers because it is lightweight and high in calories.
Above: Granola can be made in a food dehydrator or an oven. Most people don’t have a food dehydrator, so my recipe utilizes the oven. Granola prepared in a food dehydrator doesn’t cook but rather dries out over time. Warm air is circulated around the food, gradually causing it to lose all or most of its moisture. To use a dehydrator, spread the granola on a teflex sheet that is placed on a dehydrator tray, and dehydrate at 110 degrees F for 3 to 4 hours, or until your desired crunch level is achieved. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to preserve freshness.
Above: If you don’t have a dehydrator, and want maximum airflow around your granola (using the oven method), you can place your parchment paper on top of a baking rack that is sitting on top of your baking sheet (I have used my broiler pan and broiler rack in the photo above). I haven’t found this to be a necessary step, but something to try if you’re interested in even crispier granola.
Above: I love a little granola on top of my morning oatmeal, with some fruit and homemade non-dairy milk.
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