DIY Granola

Smoothie bowl with Cacao Granola
Smoothie bowl with Cacao Granola

Granola… Muesli… whatever you call it, it has become all the rage lately, which you would have noticed if you have been on any health food bloggers Instagram pages recently. I know myself am guilty of posting way too many ‘smoothie bowl with granola’ shots, so it is only fair that I finally share with you my favourite recipe and my granola obsession with you.

Whilst Google classifies it as a ‘breakfast food’, I find that label much too restrictive, as you can often find me (especially the nights I work as a waitress and need a fast & early dinner) chowing down some sort of smoothie bowl piled high with my favourite cacao granola at anytime of the day or night! So ignoring Google for just one second (I guess it doesn’t know all the answers after all) granola or muesli is one of the most versatile foods and something that is ALWAYS stocked in my cupboard. I mainly use granola as a smoothie topper, or with some coconut yogurt, however, it is also tasty on stewed apples, as a crumble topping, squished together to make granola bars, as the perfect trail mix, sprinkled over a salad, or even as a Christmas gift, which Erica and I did last year for our entire extended family. The compliments and recipe requests alone proved everyone loves granola, even the healthy stuff!

So in this blog post I aim to share my absolute sworn by, use-every-time, fail-free granola recipe and an easy 5-step plan for anyone to create their own personalised granola!

You may be thinking why would I go to all the effort of making my own granola when there is an entire aisle at the supermarket devoted to the stuff? And I have your answer. SUGAR. Unfortunately majority of the granolas and muesli’s sold at the supermarket are jam packed full of added sugar, on top of the already natural sugars from various dried fruits. Please do not be fooled by all the fancy packaging or labels claiming it is 100% organic, yes it probably is, but sugar can be organic too! The major food companies are also big fans of re-labelling sugar so the standard consumer does not recognise it. If you were unaware of this it would not be a bad idea to check these names out so you can be wary of them next time you are shopping, a good article that highlights the main ones is:

In all my time, I have not yet managed to find a store bought granola that does not contain some type of sweetener. For me this just was not good enough, because yes a little bit of healthier sweetener (such as stevia or rice malt syrup) is okay, but I personally eat granola at least once a day so I prefer to know exactly what is going into it!

Here is my go to recipe, which I use as a basis now, as I generally throw what I have into a bowl and bake it.

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cups of quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup of raw buckwheat
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup of flax seeds (also called linseed)
  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoon psyllium husk
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • And if you really need the sweetener ¼ cup rice malt syrup, maple syrup or dates.

Lay the granola out evenly on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 30 minutes at 160 degrees, turning the granola once. Once baked, remove from the oven and let it cool, or enjoy it warm, which is often a popular choice in our house.

If you are still unsure of how to use the granola, try one of these two simple smoothie bowls and put it on top! Plus I always like to add extra raw pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut flakes because they are three of my favourite foods!

Berry Bowl:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • ½ cucumber
  • ¼ avocado
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • Blend, and top with granola!

Green Goodness:

This is my personal favourite smoothie of all time, which I have religiously every single morning for breakfast! It is tasty but also packed full of nutrients to power you through the morning, whatever it may bring!

  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ zucchini
  • ½ cucumber
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • ¼ avocado
  • Handful of macadamias
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • Blend, and top with granola!

5 Step DIY Granola

If you struggle to find a granola recipe that is perfect for you, why not make your own?! Below I have outlined 5 simple steps to making your own perfect granola.

  1. Choose your base

For the base you want to use something to bulk out your granola, for example: buckwheat, quinoa flakes, rolled oats, or coconut flakes. Generally add about 2-3 cups of your choice.

  1. Seeds & Nuts

Next you need to add your seeds or nuts, or both! Some good ones include: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, walnuts, macadamias, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pistachios, chia seeds or flax seeds. These add a nice crunch to your granola and pack lots of protein and vital minerals. Depending on how many you are adding go for about ½ cup to 1 cup of each, however if you’re using chia seeds a few tablespoons is enough as they expand when they absorb liquid (like your smoothie or saliva) and you may find lots of little slimy ones in your mouth for hours later…

  1. Spice it up

At the moment your granola is probably looking a little like a trail mix, so add some spices to cultivate the taste. Examples include: cacao powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, chai spices or even tahini.

  1. Sweetener

The granola is probably looking very dry at this stage so its time to add the liquid for optimum baking and a bit of sweetener if need be. I suggest coconut oil, however you could also use: maple or rice malt syrup, which will also add some sweetness to the granola. When adding the liquid ensure that there is enough to make the mix damp but not soaking, so it is able to bake properly. For natural sweetness some options are: pitted dates (chopped up), sultanas, goji berries (add after the baking process), cacao nibs, dried fig or any other dried fruit in small amounts.

  1. Superfood Time

Now is your chance to go crazy with all the goodness you can find in the health food section and can tolerate in your granola! Such as: psyllium husk, goji berries, hemp seeds, bee pollen, dried blueberries, maca powder, the list goes on. However, if you use my suggested ingredients you will already be getting your fair share of superfoods – thus I doubt you will need to trek through the Peruvian Alps to find the latest Incan berry.

After you have added all the ingredients; mix, lay out of a tray with baking paper, and bake at about 160-180 degrees for approximately 15-30 minutes or to your personal crunchiness liking.

And of course there has to be step 6. Enjoy!! Whip up a smoothie or grab some coconut yogurt (I recommend Nudie plain coconut yogurt sold in Woolworths), and sprinkle some of your own healthy granola on top. Share some with friends and family, or enjoy the whole lot to yourself, either way you will not regret your time spent baking it!

Much love, Peta xx