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 local 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.