Snack smarter with this delicious Cherry Almond Granola! Sweetened with a touch of pure maple syrup and dried cherries, it makes the perfect healthy breakfast or snack.
I used to make granola allllll the time. Who recalls back in ancient blog times when I posted this Lightened Up Banana Coconut Granola? Ahhh the good old days when i-Phone pictures sufficed. Oh how I yearn for the simpler times!
Next to questions regarding food photography and going gluten-free, the question I get asked most is whether or not to buy organic. Speaking of organic, this lovely Cherry Vanilla Granola recipe is adapted from a recipe in Nature's Path fantastical new e-book, Your Guide to Organic Food. I love love love supporting brands that not only have awesome healthy products, but that also support initiatives to better the overall planet, the environment, and our health.
I'm sure you've all noticed from recent posts that I eat way more organic than I used to. I'm super pumped to share a resource (and delish recipe!) with you today to help guide you through the what, why, and how of buying certified organic!
So remember back in the fall when I went to the Slow Food conference in Italy and it totally changed my perspective on sourcing food? Well, my choice to move toward organic has been a slow but steady one. I think our food system can be frightening and I feel a lot better knowing that by buying organic, I'm reducing my exposure to artificial pesticides and fertilizers, supporting small farmers, and protecting the health of this planet.
Know that it's not so much about the organic product being higher in a certain vitamin or mineral because guess what, sometimes it isn't. To me, it's a holistic decision surrounding the environmental impact, pesticides, big business, and GMOs. My best advice to everyone interested is to start small!
I don't want to preachy about this topic (or any topic really) because I know it can be expensive and it's totally a personal choice. The good news is that buying in bulk makes it comparable in price to shopping in a regular grocery store. I promise!
In addition to Costco being an AWESOME source for affordable organic food, try searching the web for deals (Amazon, iHerb, Swanson's, etc.). Grains, nuts, and oils are often much cheaper online. Also, utilize your grocery store's house natural brand. I shop mostly at Kroger and they have excellent pricing on their Simple Truth Organic line.
When in doubt, eat in season. This ensures that what you're eating tastes best and didn't come on a truck from a zillion miles away, diminishing in nutrient value along the way. To download the free e-book, click here!
Before I set you loose, lettuce rewind back to the granola! I like to eat granola like cereal, doused in chilly almond milk. If you're not an eat-granola-like-cereal person like me, I'm also a big fan of sprinkling the crunchies on coconut milk yogurt. It goes sensationally with a swirl of nut butter and jam if you're feelin' frisky. When all else fails, eat it by the handful and let out a harmonious "mmmmmmm."
Our whole apartment smelled like a cinnamon dream bakery while it cooked and my nose still get a little slice of heaven every time I open the bag. Making homemade granola is way cheaper and tastier than a candle, might I add.
Know that in this recipe, you can use whatever combination of nuts and dried fruit that you'd like. The world is your granola oyster!Print
You will most likely have all the ingredients in your pantry to make this lightly sweetened Cherry Vanilla Granola. Feel free to swap whatever dried fruits, nuts and seeds you have on hand. Vegan and gluten-free!
- 4 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
- ½ cup almonds, chopped
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
- ½ cup dried cherries (can sub dried cranberries or raisins)
- ½ cup puffed or crispy brown rice cereal
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, chopped almonds, pecans, pepitas, coconut, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the applesauce, maple syrup, water, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Stir until combined.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the oat mixture and stir until all the oats are well coated. Spread the mixture evenly over the two baking sheets.
- Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, sprinkle over the dried fruit and rice puffs. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 1 week or in the freezer for 1 month or longer.
This post is sponsored by Nature's Path. Thanks for supporting the brands I believe in!