There are so many things I love about homemade granola. The best thing? I can control the quality of ingredients in my granola by making it at home. There are many different ways to make granola. You can switch up the ingredients as you go, always using what you have on hand. If needed, you can make it gluten free. You can make it with oats, regular, or gluten free. You can make it using oat bran, regular or gluten free. You can even keep it oat free if you want. You can also make it with quinoa, like I do. It’s really up to your dietary needs and taste preference.
Making granola at home can be much healthier than store bought brands. Depending on your dietary needs –grain free, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, paleo, vegan, keto, whew-you name it-you can adjust your ingredients accordingly. As an example, I use maple syrup and dried fruit quite often when I’m making granola, but if you are monitoring your sugar intake, you can leave both of those ingredients out.
Oat bran, nuts, and seeds, the bulk of my homemade granola in this recipe, are nutrient dense. They provide us with ample amounts of fiber, healthy fats, protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
In this particular homemade granola recipe, I use gluten free oat bran instead of the more commonly used, rolled oats, because of its nutritional punch.
For years, I only made my granola with rolled oats, but after reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” I was convinced to make it with oat bran. And here’s why.
Oat bran is just the “bran” or the outer shell of the oat seed. It is not considered a whole grain because it does not contain the germ or endosperm. That does not mean it’s not healthy. On the contrary.
When compared to oatmeal (rolled oats), oat bran contains a higher, healthier profile. It is almost 50% more soluble fiber and is higher in protein and other minerals. That means our blood sugar level won’t rise as quickly as it does when we eat oatmeal (rolled oats) and we will stay full longer. In his book “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” Dr. Hyman says, “Oatmeal has been touted as heart-healthy because the bran (emphasis mine) it contains reduces cholesterol.” You persuaded me Dr. Hyman, oat bran it is!
Nutritionally speaking, this is a win-win for all of us if we are striving for optimal health. I always want to eat the healthiest version of foods when possible.
From a cooking point of view, I was used to knowing how rolled oats would affect the outcome of my granola. I was not certain that the oat bran would have as positive of an effect with the consistency. Well, thank you Dr. Hyman for the subliminal suggestion to use oat bran in making my granola. The oat bran actually helped the granola “clump” together, which I love. Those of you who make homemade granola know what I mean, right? Usually this happens if you use egg whites in your recipe. Because of food sensitivities that some of my family members have, I aim to keep my granola egg free.
I like making a batch of granola for my family to eat throughout the week. It’s easy to eat alone or as a cereal with a non-dairy milk. It’s incredibly yummy put on top of yogurt or kefir. And easily packed for a quick “to go” or “on the road” snack. If made in advance, it comes in handy for that hunger attack that can strike you any time of the day. I’ve also made batches of granola and given it as gifts to my friends. I will caution you. I know moderation is key, but I have been tempted to consume large amounts of homemade granola, fresh and warm from the oven. Beware! You may have this problem too. This granola produces the most amazing aroma with an equally amazing taste. Enjoy!
Homemade Granola Ingredients
- 1 cup oat bran*
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup walnuts, slightly chopped
- 1 cup pecans, slightly chopped
- 1 cup almonds, slightly chopped
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- ¼ cup quinoa
- ½ cup dried fruit, cranberries
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together oat bran and melted coconut oil.
- Mix in cinnamon, sea salt, maple syrup, and vanilla.
- Add slightly chopped walnuts, pecans, and almonds.
- Add in pumpkin seeds and stir all ingredients thoroughly.
- Pour granola on a parchment lined baking pan.
- Place on top rack of oven. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Stir every ten minutes. After 20 minutes, add in coconut flakes and quinoa. Continue baking until the granola is a light brown.
- Add the fruit as soon as you take the granola out of the oven.
*I use Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oat bran.
Use all organic ingredients if possible.
Other dried fruit options: blueberries, currants, dates, etc.
Debbie Whitehead is a licensed professional counselor (M.Ed, LPC), certified personal trainer (CPT), and certified nutrition coach. She owns a practice in Plano, Texas where she helps clients break free from trauma and live a beautiful life – mind, body, and soul.