If you’ve never made your own granola, you should try it. I bet you’ll never buy granola again. It’s fairly easy to make. I mix all of the ingredients together while the oven is preheating, wash the dishes during the first part of baking, and then relax for the second part. Or write a blog entry. Whichever.
I don’t think that granola needs salt at all but I am very averse to sweet and salty things. I make this recipe or a variation of it regularly, I’ve never added a lick of salt, and I still think that it is way, way better than any granola I’ve bought. But I’m generally been pretty underwhelmed with store-bough granola. The non-crunchy kind gets very soggy, even in yogurt, while the crunchy kind is too crunchy. This has the perfect amount of crunchiness. It won’t get soggy in your yogurt but it also won’t cut up your gums. If you don’t like it crunchy or if you want to make it vegan, skip the egg whites and choose the olive oil over the butter.
Low-sodium crunchy almond granola
Makes about 6 cups granola
- 3 cups (240 grams) old fashioned oats
- 1 cup (50 grams) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup (100 grams) sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) toasted wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) melted butter or olive oil
- 6 tablespoons (120 grams) maple syrup
- 2 egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine together the dry ingredients. Set it aside.
- Whisk the egg whites until frothy in a medium-sized bowl.
- Stir the vanilla, butter or olive oil, and maple syrup into the granola mixture until combined. Then gently stir in the egg whites until the mixture is evenly coated. I try to work with the granola quickly once I start adding the wet ingredients.
- Transfer the mixture to a cookie sheet and spread it out, concentrating more granola mixture near the edges, where it cooks more quickly. If your cookie sheets are not particularly non-stick, line them with parchment paper first.
- Bake the granola for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bottom is slightly browned. With a large spatula, flip sections of it, trying to not break it apart too much. Once again, concentrate more granola mixture near the edges of the cookie sheet. Rotate the pan and return it to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until it is evenly browned and looks dry.
- Cool completely. Once it is cooled, break up any large clusters into sizes of your choosing. Store the granola into an airtight container. It keeps at room temperature for about two weeks.
Sources of sodium
- Egg whites
- My favorite way to eat it is over plain yogurt sweetened with a little bit of honey and topped with fresh berries. Check the nutritional label if you consume store-bought yogurt. Yogurt has a fairly large amount of sodium. Choosing original style rather than low-fat yogurt helps.
Skip the wheat germ if you don’t have any and don’t want to get it just to try this. The world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to granola. Add in all of your favorite granola toppings, skip all of the toppings you don’t like. If you want to add dried fruit, add it before transferring the cooled granola to an airtight container.
Adjusting the sweetness
We find that 6 to 8 tablespoons of maple syrup is great for us in both yogurt and as a snack. The sweetness is not too overwhelming and still allows us to taste the natural sweetness of the coconut and sliced almonds. If you prefer a sweeter granola, you can increase the amount of maple syrup to up to 3/4 cup (240 grams).
Stirring in the egg whites will give you crispy clusters. Use just one egg white if you have jumbo eggs. If you want to skip the egg whites altogether, stir more often while it’s baking to ensure even browning.
I’ve tried making this with pecans, which are my favorite nuts, but I much prefer the sliced almonds and the extra crispiness they bring to the granola. You can replace the sliced almonds with pecans or walnuts or use a mixture.
Make it vegan
Choose the olive oil over the butter and skip the egg whites. Stir more often while the granola is baking to ensure even browning.
Nonstick cookie sheets
I use a Circulon nonstick cookie pan. It’s made of heavy gauge carbon steel, it doesn’t need greasing when I use it for granola, it’s very nonstick and very easy to clean.