A nut-free, lightened up version of good old granola.
Happy Friday! I’m hopping on for a quick moment to share the recipe for this seedy granola. Recently I started making an effort to feed myself. This is not to be confused with eating, which involves little more than shoving whatever food is within arm’s distance into one’s mouth. If you’re a parent, or maybe you have a demanding job, you understand the distinction.
In order to accomplish this, I had to first realize that feeding yourself during the day is not selfish. I discovered what most seasoned parents already know, and that is that you’re no good to anyone if you’re tired and cranky and hungry. I also returned to a much simpler way of cooking that sometimes just amounts to having a few good components in the fridge or pantry to throw together for quick meals. A nice tuna salad, fresh bread for sandwiches, washed salad greens, avocados, fruit in the freezer for smoothies… it doesn’t have to be fancy. Sometimes food just needs to be functional.
This granola is a good example of a staple you can keep around to elevate some of your more “just functional” meals. It’s nut free so a good option for families with allergies, and the only fat (aside from the seeds) is some olive oil. It’s also much lower in sugar than your standard store-bought granola. I happen to like the flavor of brown sugar and maple syrup together, but if you’re avoiding refined sugar feel free to use all maple syrup (for a total of 1/2 cup) or coconut sugar might be nice. Sugar is what creates those great clumps we all love, so admittedly this is a little less clumpy. You can bump the sugar content up by another quarter cup or so if you like. Also feel free to add in dried fruit like diced apricots, golden raisins, or toasted coconut. I didn’t just so I could keep it more versatile, but I’ll add them in with each serving. Add these items in at the very end, after the granola is cooled, and know that it will go stale a little faster because of the moisture in the fruit.
A few crunchy ways I like to use my granola:
the standard yogurt and fruit bowl
with milk of your choice, like a cereal
on top of a salad (pictured here with mixed greens, ricotta, strawberries, olive oil and fig balsamic vinegar)
as a garnish to creamy soups
baked into cookies or sprinkled on top of bar cookies
sprinkled over toast and ricotta
with fruit and a swipe of crème fraîche
over ice cream
If your kids are old enough to be eating small seeds, try making this with them. It’s a fun way to introduce them to cooking. Let them choose the mix of seeds that you use (or nuts if you prefer). I like a ratio of 4 cups of oats to about 2 1/2 cups of seeds or nuts. They can mix the whole thing with their hands.
SEEDY OLIVE OIL GRANOLA
Makes about 6 cups
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the pumpkin seeds out on one sheet and place in the preheated oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds (including toasted pumpkin seeds), brown sugar, and salt and stir to combine. Drizzle in the olive oil and maple syrup and mix until well incorporated (don’t forget the smaller seeds, which like to hang out at the bottom)
Spread the granola mix across the two sheet pans (you’ll reuse the one that you used for the pumpkin seeds) and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and toasted, checking to stir every 10 minutes or so.
When the granola is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, undisturbed. You don’t want to mix the granola up at this point because it will clump together as it cools and the sugar and maple syrup harden up. Store in airtight containers for several weeks.