When I lived in Urbana, Illinois, I belonged to a food co-op called Common Ground. They’ve long since moved into a bigger space, but at the time that I was a member, it was very much what you might think of when conjuring up a food co-op: small, a little cramped, in a basement.
In the back corner, where the bulk bins were clustered, was a sign hanging from the ceiling that read, “Granola (of course).”
I’ve been eating a lot of granola lately, and it’s something I love to make. It’s super-easy, customizable, and pretty good for you (I think, I hope), with all the whole oats and good fats from the nuts. I almost always use coconut in my granola. For one thing, I love coconut any way I can get it. For another, when baked with the granola, the small, unsweetened flakes fuse to the oats and nuts and brown, which both makes it taste toasty and delicious, and also minimizes the dry texture in coconut that some folks don’t like.
This recipe can be made just as you like it – just try to keep the proportions of oats, fats, nuts, and dried fruit about the same. In this recipe, I used pistachios, almonds, currants, cranberries, and dried mangoes, but you can mix it up and use any combination you like. Some of my other favorites are dried peaches, dates, and cashews.
This is s small batch of granola that makes about 4 cups. It’s easily doubled or even tripled. You can also substitute regular butter for the coconut oil, for a non-vegan granola.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoon raw hulled hemp seeds
3/4 cup chopped nuts
Pinch sea salt
1 cup chopped dried fruit
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil and maple syrup until the coconut oil melts. Stir well. Prepare a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper, or oil it well. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, hemp seeds, nuts, and salt. Drizzle in the maple syrup mixture and stir to combine.
Spread the oat mixture over the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. (Stir the granola after 10 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after for browning, stirring each time.) Stir the dried fruit in while the granola is still warm. Allow to cool, and stir in an air-tight container.