In college, I taught myself to like yogurt … by loading it up with fruit and granola. I’m proud to say, these days there might be more yogurt than toppings in my bowl.
I wanted to like yogurt, after a lifetime of not, because it was an easy breakfast and a great source of calcium and protein. As a new runner, who was injury prone and was told her whole life she didn’t get enough calcium, it seemed like a 1-2-3 punch. Almost 10 years later, I still only like vanilla yogurt. The ones with fruit on the bottom or blended are too sweet, and I just prefer adding fresh fruit.
As I became picky about the brands I liked (and sorry Yoplait, it’s not you. Ever. Too sweet.), I also developed strong feelings about granola. Finding the perfect granola in the store was really difficult. Despite my sweet tooth, I didn’t want it overly sugary and I’m not a fan of dried fruit. A true oats and nut blend was all I wanted. There are few out there, but no brand has ever stuck out as a winner, but my homemade granola quickly did.
Like a few other recipes on this site, I don’t know where or when it was born. My last apartment in college makes the most sense because I was doing a lot of running then, and I remember making it in Mississippi thereafter. For years it has been in a ziptop bag or jar in our cabinets. I make some seasonal changes — honey vs. maple syrup, sunflower vs. pumpkin seeds — and the nut combo depends on what’s in the cabinet. It’s a versatile recipe and I hope it joins your breakfast table too.
What you need:
- 1 cup of old fashion oats
- 2 total cups of any combination of chopped nuts and seeds; my baking shelf typically contains:
- Sliced almonds
- Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Unsweetened coconut chips
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon honey (or another sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of salt
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 300˚F and line a large baking sheet with small walls with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts and seeds.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix egg white, olive oil, water, honey and vanilla extract together. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; whisk until spices are fully combined.
- Add egg white mixture to the oats and nuts, folding with a rubber spatula. Make sure the mixture is evenly distributed and each oat and nut is coated.
- Spread onto baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Stir mixture, bringing the browning edges into the middle of the pan. Return to oven and stir every 5 minutes for another 10 total minutes.
- Once the kitchen smells faintly of toasted nuts, do not wander far from the oven. Nuts go from toasted to burned oh, so quickly. At this point, check and stir the granola every 3 minutes until it is evenly golden. Remove from oven.
- Let cool completely before enjoying and storing the rest in an airtight container. The granola might seem a little soft when first removed from the oven, it’ll crisp up as it cools.