Recently I was given a couple boxes of Seattle-made Marge Granola, which retails online and at various places in Washington, a box of the original flavor and one of the cacao-nib variety.
I'll say right off that it was absolutely delicious. Crunchy, flavorful, no weird ingredients. I'll say secondly that the stuff is quite pricey ($10 for a 12-oz box). Which means that, however much I like it, I'm unlikely ever to buy any because granola is so easy to make.
In the past I've recommended Deborah Madison's recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but after tasting some homemade granola we received as a gift and the Marge varieties, I'm actually jumping ship on our old standby, in favor of a lighter, crunchier variation.
Enter Love Your Leftovers.
You might remember this book from when I posted on black bean tacos. That inspired me to get a copy from the library and see what else Nick Evans might suggest. it's a beautiful book full of good ideas, but the first one to grab me was his granola recipe because it contained less honey and oil than Deborah Madison's. Even so, I modified it a wee bit for personal preferences (e.g., I don't like sunflower seeds, and I wanted a little oil in it so the honey would come out of the measuring cup).
Nearly-Oil-Less-Nick's Granola Recipe
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (from the bulk aisle)
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp mild vegetable oil, swirled around liquid measuring cup, and then fill the rest of the way to the 2/3 cup mark with honey
1 c dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325F. Mix all the dry ingredients except cranberries and drizzle in oil-honey mixture. Stir well to combine. Spread out on two baking sheets. Bake 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from browning too much at the edges.
Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Then add cranberries and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.
It's delicious, easy, and, if you buy the ingredients in the bulk aisle, pretty cheap! Plus, this version stays nice and crunchy, isn't too sweet, and has more protein for the carb-fearing. In his cookbook, author Evans offers all sorts of suggestions for how to cook with the granola, but I haven't tried a single one because I'm hoarding it all to eat for breakfast. Maybe the next batch...