Since creating its first food trend in the 1970s, Granola has been touted as a healthy option for all kinds of diets. But is it really as healthy as has been claimed? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. Consumers can choose from hundreds of variations on store shelves from clusters to cereal, nuts and raisins to cinnamon and rice, and diet-related options like gluten- and nut-free. All those additions can add up to an unhealthy recipe. A plethora of recipes also stream the internet, making it really hard to decide which version is right for you. So let’s compare three gluten-free recipes to help you decide which one best fits in with your health goals and taste preferences.
Alton Brown’s Good Eats Granola
This simple, nutty mix hits the cereal and sweet tooth notes with maple syrup and dark brown sugar. A perk is the fiber the shredded coconut and raisins add. But beware! All those crunchy nuts ramp up the fat factor. Also, be sure to get gluten-free certified oats, as not every commercial company offering them can assure their customers of no cross-contamination.
3 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
- Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.
Nutrition Info (Per Serving): 679 calories, fat 41g, carbs 78g, sugar 42g, protein 14g.
The Bottom line: If you don’t mind the fat and carbs, the nuts are worth it. Kiddos are also going to love the flavors. You’ll also love the simplicity of making a big batch!
Vegetarian Times Quinoa-Rice Granola (Slightly Modified)
This unconventional granola is high in fiber and nutrients, but lower on the sugar scale. It makes a great addition to yogurt or fresh fruit, but isn’t recommended for a cereal-type serving. It has a lot fewer calories, fat, and protein than most commercial type granolas, even if you have a double serving. So consider pairing it with some additional protein for a hearty, energizing breakfast.
5 unsalted brown rice cakes (here’s a great option)
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup raw honey
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup peeled and cored, finely chopped apples
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, crumble rice cakes into raisin-sized pieces, and then stir in quinoa flakes and apple bits.
- In a small sauce pan, melt honey and butter on low heat.
- Stir cinnamon and cloves into honey mixture.
- Stir honey mixture into rice and quinoa to coat well.
- Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.
- Stir granola and return to the oven for 10 more minutes or until the granola has browned slightly and smells delicious.
- Cool on the baking sheet, and then break into clusters.
- Store in an air-tight container for up to a week. If it loses crunch, toast in 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 197 calories, fat 8.5g, Carbs 30g, sugars 15g, protein 1.8g.
The bottom line: This one may or may not fill your energy tank, but it’s great for anyone that has a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Taste of Home Fruit Granola
4 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower kernels
1/2 cup raw honey
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dried mixed fruit
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey, orange juice, oil, cinnamon, and salt; stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes and remove from heat.
- Immediately stir vanilla into saucepan mixture.
- Stir saucepan mixture over oat mixture until coated and transfer to a greased baking dish.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring 3-4 times.
- Allow to cool, and then mix in dried fruit.
Nutritional Facts (per 1/2 cup serving): 237 calories, fat 8g, carbs 40g, fiber 4g, protein 5g.
The bottom line: This super delicious gluten free granola will keep you fueled up with carbs, but isn’t overly full of fat.
These are just a few great granola options. It all comes down to what you choose to use in your mixture and what you most enjoy. Do you eat granola regularly or have a favorite add-in or recipe? Please tell us all about it in the comments below!