Monday, 21 April 2014

Recipe: Healthy Granola

Breakfast is easily my favourite meal of the day. Anything breakfast related excites me, including this wonderful quote from Hunter S. Thomspon. Although, this recipe doesn't involve four bloody Mary's.

During the colder months I tend to stick to warming bowls porridge (with lashings of cinnamon, which happens to be a great immune system booster). For spring and summer, I like to mix it up a little. Granola and Greek yoghurt is my combination of choice 80% of the time. Recently, when scanning the shelves of supermarkets, health food stores etc I've found the granola options on offer to be full of refined sugar, chemicals and ingredients I can't actually pronounce, leaving them lacking in vitamins, minerals and protein - essential to keep you going.

This encouraged me to make my own honest granola. No honey, syrup or sugar binding the oats together, just ripe bananas, apricots and dates. 
It's versatile and contains a natural sweetness. Brimming with fruit and protein, setting you up to be super productive (or relaxed), what better way to start your day?

Yield: 10 servings (at 50g each)
Time to prepare: Up to an hour and half
Lasts: a very long time! (best kept in an air tight container)
Equipment: blender, chopping board, mixing bowl, scissors, baking tray, greaseproof paper, spoon

Basic Mix:
2 slightly over ripe bananas
8 dates (medjool dates are perfect)
7 dried apricots
300g oats (gluten free if you prefer) + 50g extra for toasting
50ml water or milk (of your choice)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

70g raisins
40g chopped almonds or sliced if preferred
**Note: These are all optional and highly depend on your own taste! Other great toppings include: any seeds, spices, nuts, dried or fresh (best added at time of eating) fruit.

1. Start by preheating your oven to 180ÂșC and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Weigh out 300g of oats. Then, cut (scissors work well for this) the dates, apricots, and bananas in to small chunks - best kept in separate bowls.

2. Add half the dates and one of the bananas to the blender, leave to blend on medium power for 2-3 minutes - don't be surprised if the dates are tricky to completely break down, a few chunks taste great in the finished result.

3. Next, you want create the component that will bind the oats together.
Throw half the apricots and a few chunks of the second banana in to the mix. Maintain medium power on the blender. Slowly add 50ml of water/milk to the blender as the mix continues to blend. Follow with the remaining banana, dates, apricots and cinnamon - this should be done slowly if your blender isn't very powerful.
Leave to blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed (this helps to break down the structure of the fruit).

I know it looks gross - stay with me!

4. In a clean mixing bowl, spoon half of the liquid mixture (It will most likely be quite thick) and half of the oats. Combine the two entities together until the oats are full coated. Repeat this action with the rest of the fruit mixture and oats.

5. Evenly spread the uncooked granola mix on to the lined baking tray. Break up the mixture with a spoon, leaving a few chunks. Sprinkle the extra 50g of oats on to the baking tray and place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes or until golden in colour. Check your granola every 10 minutes, turning/moving the chunks around so all cooks evenly.  
If you prefer your granola a little soft then 20-25 minutes in the oven should be just enough. 
Remember to take in to account that it will continue to cook and firm up until fully cool.

6. Leave the cooked granola on the tray to cool for 15/20 mins - if the cooked granola is left in the container before completely cooled it will turn soggy and not so scrummy. 
Pour the finished granola and your chosen toppings into an airtight container and gently shake so each spoonful gets a decent serving of all the yummies.


  1. This sounds amazing and I LOVE that it doesn't have any added sugar. I'm definitely trying it out.

  2. It's worth a try - let me know how you get on with it!