Nothing smells better than fresh homemade granola baking in the oven. I absolutely love it. It smells like you’re baking pie, with none of the work and way less calories!
Is granola a health food? Well, yes and no. I tend to think of it as a healthy cheat. The grains are good, the nuts are good, the fruit is good. But, whatever you’re using to sweeten it with is not so good. So, like I said, a healthy cheat. All good things in moderation right?
What I really love it for is a cereal replacement for my kids. If you have time to wake up and cook your kids a healthy breakfast every morning, I’m so happy for you. But that’s not my life. And I need fast.
You can whip up a batch of this at the start of the week, and you’ve got delicious, nutritious “cereal” for the week. Plus it’s amazing on yogurt parfaits!
The base of any granola is oats and something to sweeten them with. I’ve literally made granola from oats, maple syrup and cinnamon. It’s the easiest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen.
You can add in whatever good stuff you like! My favorites are almonds, cranberries, chai seeds, and amaranth.
But I didn’t use any of those in this recipe. This recipe is specifically for fall. We’ve got pumpkin, we’ve got spices, we’ve got apples. Yum!
I found the original recipe at the following site and modified a bit. If you go to this site, and I suggest you do, you will notice one thing. The pictures are substantially better than mine. So don’t be coming back to my page judging my pictures, ok? Mine are taken with a spackled counter as the background and with a 10 year old Kodak easy share camera, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
This is how easy it is. Mix the maple syrup and pumpkin puree over medium heat on the stove. If you like your granola really sweet, add some brown sugar at this point. I didn’t use any and it was sweet enough for my tastes. Once it’s all melted together, remove from heat and add the spices and vanilla. I always have pumpkin spice mixed up and ready to go this time of year. I believe you can purchase it. But you probably have all the ingredients laying around. Here’s a link to a recipe for it.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. This is your oats, chopped apple pieces, nuts, and amaranth. I used walnuts instead of pecans because that’s what was in my cupboard. But I think pecans would be ideal so that is what I put in the recipe card.
Now, if you’re going to use amaranth you have to “pop” it. If you don’t pop it, it’s like little tiny pebbles.
To pop it warm a pan over medium heat. Toss a couple tablespoons of amaranth in at a time. I like to put a clear lid on top so I can watch it, but they don’t pop out. They’re jumpy! I keep the pan moving the entire time on the stove so they don’t burn. They will pop within a few moments. Remove from heat immediately. This is what it looks like before and after popping.
Now add the popped amaranth to the dry ingredients. Pour the wet on the dry. Mix. And mix. And mix. Make sure it’s all nice and coated!
Bake at 325 of about 30 – 45 minutes. I usually leave it in closer to 45. I also like to lay a sheet of parchment paper on the cookie sheet so it doesn’t stick. Make sure there’s an even layer of granola. You may even need to use 2 cookie sheets so the layers are thin enough. You are going to want to stir it every 15 minutes or so until done. When it’s to your desired level of crunch and toasty goodness take it out and devour!
Here’s the actual recipe I used. After the recipe I’ll give you a little heads up on the amaranth!
- 3 cups oats
- 1/4 cup popped amaranth
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 apple, chopped
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 Tbsp honey
- Toss oats, popped amaranth, apple and pecans together in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat over medium heat coconut oil, maple syrup and pumpkin puree.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and spices.
- Poor the wet mixture over the dry ingredients.
- Mix well.
- Spread in thin layer over baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 - 45 minutes @ 325. Stir every 15 minutes.
- During the last 5 minutes of baking, drizzle with honey.
Here are a few other fun facts:
- Gluten free
- High fiber content
- Lots of vitamins and minerals
- Lowers blood pressure
If you’re a lover of research articles like myself, check out this site. They have listed out research articles about amaranth and health.
Amaranth research: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-amaranth
I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you have a favorite granola recipe please send it my way via the comments section or email! I love hearing from you 🙂