Granola: how to make it nutritious and delicious?

Everyone likes granola because it’s crunchy and sweet and delicious. A lot of people also avoid it because it’s crunchy and sweet and delicious. They worry it’s going to make them gain weight because it’s high in both fat and sugar. Look I’m not going to lie, commercial granolas are high in fat and sugar. Does that mean we should avoid them? No. Shout we opt for low sugar versions? Go ahead but I have never had any that actually tasted like proper granolas. At best they were nice mueslis, at worst it was like eating sawdust and life’s too short for this.

Unsatisfied, I took it upon myself to create my own version. A version that is lower in both fat and sugar but that doesn’t compromise on taste and texture – more on that in a sec.

Portions matter

I know you are worried about the calorie content still but do remember that portions matter and that balance is key. If you have a bowl full of any granola (even mine), your breakfast isn’t going to be very balanced: not enough protein or fibre, too much fat and sugar. So I use granola as a breakfast topping, a nice crunchy addition, rather than the main ingredient of my breakfast. I’d have it with some yoghurt and some fresh/stewed fruit, not on its own.

I haven’t added dried fruit to my granola precisely because I often have it with some fresh fruit. Nothing stops you from adding a few raisins or any dried fruit chopped up. I’d probably add them after baking though because they can quickly burn and become really hard and bitter, which isn’t what we’re after.

What makes this granola different from all the others you have tried before

I make mine quite differently to most recipes I have seen around. I decided to whizz the oats into a flour because I really wanted all the ingredients to clump together. I like texture, crunch and big chunks in my granola not just powder.

You may wonder what the water and egg whites are doing on the ingredients list so here is why. The clumps in a granola come from sugar and since balance is key we don’t want too much. The water helps the dry ingredients bind together while reducing the overall fat and sugar ratio. See it as a way to reduce fat and sugar without using “low fat” products and artificial sweeteners. We still want fat and sugar, we just want to dose them differently. The water will evaporate during baking, it won’t be soggy.

Now for the eggs, this came to me literally as I was baking the granola. I was half way through baking and it was good but good enough… I wanted clusters and crunch, and not just a few. It suddenly came to me that egg whites would be an excellent way to achieve the results I wanted. Plus that increases the protein content and everyone knows that a high protein breakfast sets you up for the day. Some of you might be horrified about the eggs and worried about salmonella or something but it’s cooked! How long does it last? I don’t know but I can’t see a problem, after all meringues are baked egg whites and they last forever (fact). Also, it doesn’t really last long enough in my house to have ever been a problem.

I’ve seen a lot of food bloggers having used my tip over the years, which I definitely see as a compliment! Please don’t be shy though and let me know if you try this recipe and that it works for you. I’d love to know your thoughts and see your creations.

Ingredients needed for your best ever granola

• 300g oats
• 200g ground almonds
• 100g dessicated coconut
• 200g pecans
• 100g sunflower seeds
• 110g coconut oil
• 110g honey
• 110g water
• 4 egg whites
• 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
• 1 pinch of sea salt

How to make your granola

Whizz the oats into a powder in a food processor then mix them with the almonds in a large bowl. Pulse the pecans into small pieces (since you’ve got to clean the food processor anyway you may as well!). Add to the bowl along with the coconut and sunflower seeds.

Heat up the oil, water, honey, vanilla and salt together in a saucepan until completed melted. Next pour the mixture into the bowl and mix with a knife – that it’s the best way to get lots of clumps (this is how I make crumble).

Now place your mixture onto a couple of bake trays, spreading it evenly. Place in a preheated oven at 140 °C for about 30min.

After 30min, whisk a couple of egg whites in a bowl and pour on one of the trays. Make sure you quickly mix the granola around without breaking all the clumps. Repeat with the second tray and put back in the oven for another 30min. Turn the mixture after 15min to make sure you get an even bake.