Gluten Free Homemade Granola

I first became obsessed with cooking and trying new recipes in high school. At the time, eating organic was becoming wildly popular, and I was becoming more health (and body) conscious.

In my house, we’d been eating fresh fruits and veggies from the garden since we were kids. Our dinners were well-balanced, and our breakfasts were well-rounded, but as an Italian household, everything was heavy in carbs. I still remember my breakfast every morning – an everything bagel with butter, plus 1/2 a grapefruit with sugar.

I became interested in cutting white carbs that year, and discovered granola. That same year, a┬álocal runner published a granola recipe in our town newspaper, The Westerly Sun, and I was immediately intrigued. My mom and I made it that weekend, and it was a hit. Over the years, I’ve edited and tweaked this recipe to granola perfection.

The long list of ingredients looks intimidating, but it’s a lot simpler than it looks. I usually try to reign in a helper to shell the pistachios with me, or knock out this task first, since it’s the longest step!

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This is my favorite mix, but you can add, subtract, and mix up as you see fit. Sometimes, I like to substitute chia seeds for flax seed, or add some walnuts or chocolate.

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Honestly, the bowl of nuts looks good enough to eat on its own. I like to mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the rest in a larger bowl, then add together. It makes the mixture much easier to mix.

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It’s important to stir the granola on the sheet every 5-7 minutes while it’s baking so that it doesn’t burn! I have 30-35 minutes listed in the recipe, but on a darker sheet or with a thinner layer of granola, it could be only 25. The granola will be crispy and golden when it’s done, and after cooling for 3-4 minutes, will form clumps.

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Look how much granola this recipe makes! This usually lasts me for a meal a day for 2 weeks – especially if I end up mixing it into yogurt for breakfast or lunch.

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Gluten Free Homemade Granola
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6 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup flax seed (wheat germ if you’re not gluten free)
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups raisins
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup pistachio meats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients except dried fruits in a large bowl until well coated.

Use cooking spray to coat 2 cookie sheets. Spread half the granola on each sheet.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees, lightly stirring every 5-7 minutes, until crispy. Switch the sheets from top to bottom rack and vice versa for even cooking. Let stand to cool.

Add raisins and dried cranberries, and store in airtight containers.

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