“Quarantine Granola” - Make Do With What You Have

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

It only makes sense that my first recipe should be relevant to our current reality and I’m calling it “Quarantine Granola.” Why, might you ask? Because it is simple, flexible and can be adapted to the ingredients you may have in the house.

Leila's typical breakfast: quarantine granola with coconut milk or smoothie
Leila's Breakfast of Choice - have it with a plant-based milk or smoothie, fruit, dried fruit or grab a handful as a snack!

In fact, I put it together precisely because I ran out of some ingredients that I normally use. To be totally honest, I started experimenting with granola because it is one of my son’s favorite breakfasts and we ran out of the ONLY granola he will eat.


Because I know store-bought granola can have tons of added sugar and oil (even if all natural ingredients), I’ve tried at least three online recipes. He hated all of them. So, I gave up on making granola at home for a while.

However, with the quarantine, we haven’t been leaving the house at all (my 78-year-old mother lives with us and is extremely high risk) and I cannot get his granola delivered. Turns out, my experimenting and keeping things simple did the trick: He loves it (the version without almond butter)! And his sister loves the version with added almond butter!

To be honest, granola really doesn’t need much:

- Oats (gluten-free or not)

- Nuts or Seeds

- Oil

- Sweetener (maple syrup, agave, honey)

- Salt


You are more than welcome to add as many other flavors and ingredients as you like. For example, in this recipe, I did one version with almond butter, one with chia seeds and one with nothing extra. Other items to include are cinnamon, shredded coconut, or dried fruit.

One note before giving you the recipe: This basic granola does not clump into bigger clusters. My children don’t like clusters. Granted, it clumps a little more with the almond butter - but not enough for all you cluster fans.

If you prefer clusters, all you need is something to bind them. A yummy, sugary, natural binder is bananas. However, in times of scarcity (we haven't gotten our hands on bananas for a few weeks), you can use chia seeds, which provide all sorts of added benefits - they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and are a great source of iron, calcium and fiber.


Just one note about adding nut butters or binders: when adding these, you should bake the granola approximately 5 minutes less AND should more frequently mix it to avoid burning it.

So, homemade granola redux number four (success!):


My favorite basics: rolled oats, nuts, coconut flakes, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon & salt!
The Basic "Quarantine" Ingredients:rolled oats, nuts, coconut flakes, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon & salt!

Yield: approx. 6 cups

Prep Time: 10 min (includes gathering ingredients)

Cook Time: 20-25 min

Total Time: 30-35 min

Storage: airtight container

Ingredients:

2 cups (180g) gluten-free rolled oats (my brand of choice - organic and gluten free and affordable, especially as a "subscribe & save item)

1 cup (150g) nuts, seeds or a combo (I used ½ walnuts, ½ almonds)*

½ cup (120ml) coconut oil (melted)

½ cup (120ml) maple syrup (honey, agave or another syrup will do fine)

1 cup (85g) shredded coconut (optional - but I love the rich flavor it adds!) (this brand is exquisite - great flavor, the flakes aren't too big or small, and aren't too firm or soft)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon


*Alt Version also includes - 1/3 cup (80g) almond butter

*Feel free to use whatever nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.) or seeds (hemp, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, etc.) you have in the house

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

2. Chop or crush the nuts and/or seeds into the consistency you’d like (my son likes smaller pieces).

Chopping raw walnuts and almonds by hand
Chopping those nuts as small as possible for my son's texture preferences!

3. Using a fork or spoon, combine the dry ingredients - granola, nuts, coconut flakes, cinnamon, and salt - in a bowl and mix together.

combining the rolled oats, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon and salt
Combining the dry ingredients so the wet ingredients mix well with everything!

4. Add the wet ingredients - coconut oil and maple syrup -, making sure everything is well coated. If you want to add the almond butter, do it now.

combine rolled oats, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, coconut oil, and maple syrup
All ingredients combine into a gooey, rich, sweet smelling mixture.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the mixture evenly onto the parchment paper, approx. 1/2 inch/1 cm thick.

Raw granola mixture on baking pan
Scrumptiousness only a few hundred degrees away

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Flip the granola mixture over every 5-7 minutes with a spatula to prevent burning at the edges.

7. Remove the granola from the oven and let it cool. This allows the granola to harden.

Baked granola cooling on a baking pan
Scrumptiousness all ready to go. Just needs to cool and harden a bit!

8. Store in an airtight container - I keep 32 oz and 16 oz containers handy - in the refrigerator. Enjoy on its own as a snack, with my Classic Banana Berry Smoothie, or however you’d like!


One request if you tried this Recipe:

I’d love to hear what nuts/seeds, sweeteners, and optional spices/flavors you used in your granola in the comments below or comment on the Facebook post here.


* Another quick note: this post contains some affiliate links - I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself & love! (Learn more here) Thanks for supporting On An Imperfect Journey!

granola, blueberries and coconut milk ready to go
Enjoy with a plant-based milk or smoothie, fruit, dried fruit, or grab a handful a snack!