Asymptotically vegan kitchen adventures
Making your own granola makes sense because: 1. it is so much cheaper, 2. you can make it exactly how you like it. I’ve always wanted to try making it, but buying it was just so much easier. Or so I always told myself. My tipping point came the other day at Target when I was trying to find a Kate-friendly granola–and spent about 10 minutes reading every package in the place only to come up empty. Everything had some sort of quizzical ingredient in it, like barley malt (gluten) or vegetable oil (soy), or soy flour (really??). The one almost-promising package I found had “natural flavors” listed in the ingredients. And let’s not even get started on “natural flavors”. (It’s a legally-protected excuse for food companies to put various unnamed ingredients into a food product–a big red flag to allergen-free eaters, vegans, etc.) You know that scene in “Father of the Bride” where Steve Martin flips out and starts ripping hot dog buns out of bags in order to make a numerically matching set with the number of hot dogs he must buy? Yeah. I was almost that customer–punting exploding bags of granola down the aisle while hollering on about the wealthy soy lobby.
So, in order to prevent myself from a being arrested for a dazzling display of granola fireworks, something needed to be done. And that something was make my own granola! And let me tell you–it is easy. Real damn easy. I can’t believe I haven’t done this before. Plus, why spend $5 on a teensy package of granola when I can get a huge tube of Quaker Oats (enough for making like 8 or 9 ‘teensy package’ amounts) for $2.50? I don’t have a good answer to that either, so I spent my Friday night in with some wine, experimenting in the kitchen. I got so into it, I even came up with two different flavors in one night. I’m hooked.
Before we get to them, a couple notes on the recipes… I found that I probably could have used even more lemon juice in the Lemon-Ginger Apricot recipe–more like 1.5 or even 2 lemons. The lemon tasted sufficiently strong in the uncooked mixture, but really mellowed out and became quite subtle in the oven. So if you are going for more of a lemon kick (like I was trying to), don’t be shy with the lemon juice–maybe even toss in some zest!
Also note that you could trade the coconut oil for the Earth Balance (and vice versa) in either recipe. The coconut oil gives a lovely, incredibly rich flavor to the granola–think more buttery than coconut-y–while the Earth Balance backs off and lets the other flavors do the talking. Either is a great choice depending on what flavor profile you are going for–or, nutritional profile, since coconut oil is a great source of those fitness-friendly MCTs! (If you want to be really picky about keeping as many MCT molecules intact as possible during their trip through the oven, try cooking the granola at a slightly lower temperature, like 300F, for a longer amount of time.)
Ok, enough talking, time for cooking! :)
(Both recipes adapted from Oh She Glows.)
Apple Currant Granola
Lemon-Ginger Apricot Granola
Directions (identical for both recipes):
0. Preheat oven to 325 F.
1. Mix dry ingredients together in a big mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients together in a different, smaller bowl. If you like, you can warm the wet ingredients a bit to help them mix.
2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Check salt, spices, and/or lemon juice, adjust as necessary.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly on top.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time to ensure desired crumbly-ness/texture.
5. Let cool 10-15 minutes (this is when it gets crunchy!) before eating or storing. Will keep for 1-2 months in airtight container, and even longer in the freezer.