Finding commercial granola that does not contain oil is nearly impossible. This is a food that can be perfectly delicious, and still crunchy, without added oil. Making your own homemade granola is easy, and you don’t even need a food dehydrator. Serve over hot cereal or with fruit.
- ½ cup water
- 4 ounces pitted dates (about 7 to 8 Medjool or 14 to16 Deglet Noor)
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 to 2 vanilla beans)
- 1¼ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup sliced almonds (optional)
- 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 the oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (see photos below) and set them aside.
- Combine the oats, raisins, and almonds (if using) in a medium bowl.
- Blend the dates, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth. Pour this into the bowl of oats, raisins, and nuts, and stir well.
- Spread the granola evenly between the two baking sheets, breaking up any large clumps. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and shuffle the granola around with a spatula. Return to the oven (but switch racks) for even browning) for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Completely cool the granola for maximum crunchiness. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.
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.
Above: I use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so the granola doesn’t stick to the pan during baking. You can also use a silicone baking mat if you like.
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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