Let me tell ya, there is nothing tastier (and easier to make) than homemade granola. Ten minutes of prep and you have an irresistible breakfast, snack, or dessert all week long. The store bought stuff just cannot compare (in terms of flavor and nutrition). Store bought granola tends to be very high in sugar and may have fun added ingredients like soy lecithin and high fructose corn syrup. Not to mention that your house will be filled with the wonderful scent of cinnamon and toasted almonds. The almonds are really the star of this granola. I used a combination of oven roasted dark chocolate almonds (heyy polyphenols) and sea salt almonds. Each are fabulous on their own, but together they make for the perfect combination of salty and sweet that is sure to satisfy any craving.
The granola, before it’s baked
By now, most everyone knows that nuts are healthy. If you weren’t aware check out my handy dandy Nut Guide. But did you know that almonds may be even healthier and lower in calories than originally thought? One ounce of almonds is listed as having 160 calories on nutrition labels. However, new research indicates that your body only absorbs about 120 of those calories. Due to the high protein and fiber content of almonds your body actually expends energy (burns calories) digesting the nut, so the amount of calories you absorb is about 20% lower than listed. Pretty cool, right? For my entire career as a dietitian I’ve been preaching to the choir that nuts are healthy, but beware of the portion size because they are a high calorie food. At 120 absorb-able calories per serving, I’m just gonna start preaching they are healthy, screw the calories! Just kidding, but really, my mind is blown. If you are interested in learning more about misleading calories counts on protein foods check out this article from the New York Times.
To recap, what have we learned? Almonds are a wonderful, not-so-high calorie food, which should be consumed on a daily basis. If you make this granola your taste buds will be happy, your tummy will be happy, and your house will smell like a Cinnabon Factory. Really, what more can you ask for in life?
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.
- 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Dark Chocolate Almonds, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup Blue Diamond Oven Roased Sea Salt Almonds, roughly chopped
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil or canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup dried cherries (optional, but delicious)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Toss the oats, chopped almonds, cinnamon and cocoa powder together in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl whisk the maple syrup and oil together. Add in vanilla and stir.
- Pour liquid over the oats and toss to coat. Make sure all oats are moistened.
- Spread onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring half way through.
- Allow granola to cool. Mix in dried cherries. Enjoy!