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Olive Oil Granola: The Best Way to Start Your Day

Preview: This Olive Oil Granola deserves to be your new breakfast habit. Sprinkle it over yogurt or eat it with a spoon. The chocolate version will change your life!

When I tear open a package of storebought granola, I like to eat it like Chex cereal–in whole pieces. Don’t give me a bunch of powdery and dry crumbs. It makes a sad way to start the day.

Each ingredient in this olive oil granola is clearly identifiable, crackly, crunchy, and irresistibly tasty. It’s the best yogurt topper ever!

Don’t miss the chocolate version. You may never eat granola without chocolate again.

olive oil granola with a scoop

A GRANOLA RIDDLE

Question: How is granola like an oatmeal cookie?

Answer: Both are delicious and taste similar. Both contain heart-healthy oatmeal, some form of sugar and fat, and should probably be eaten in small quantities. (Speaking for myself here.)

Question: How are they different?

Answer: Oatmeal cookies usually contain flour and eggs. Granola does not. That means granola most likely has fewer calories (depending on the recipe) and is gluten-free.

Recipe Inspiration

Have you ever made your own granola? It’s not hard at all. All you need is a large bowl and a big spoon. But be warned. Once you make it, you’ll never want to go back to the grocery-store variety.

My favorite granola recipe was introduced to me by Orangette and slightly adapted from Nekisia Davis’ Early Bird Granola and Food 52.

Try this Apple-Cranberry Yogurt Parfait with Olive Oil Granola

Do you like granola with your yogurt? The sweetness and texture of granola contrast perfectly with the tang and creaminess of yogurt.

APPLE-CRANBERRY YOGURT PARFAIT with olive oil granola
Apple-Cranberry Yogurt Parfait with Olive Oil Granola on top

This yogurt parfait is made with vanilla-flavored yogurt, Microwaved Cinnamon Apples (with dried cranberries added), and topped with Olive Oil Granola. You can easily whip this up in 5 or 6 minutes.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • OATMEAL: This recipe is written for old-fashioned oats. Instant oats are thinner so the bake time would be different. Steel-cut oats are a completely different animal. Save those for another recipe.
  • OLIVE OIL: Extra-virgin olive oil that smells fruity will set this granola apart from the average. You could use avocado or grapeseed oil, but it won’t be quite the same. Coconut oil has been suggested as another option. I can’t vouch for it personally.
  • BROWN SUGAR: Brown sugar adds a butterscotch flavor that plays well with the maple syrup. If you use artificial brown sugar as a substitute, watch your granola carefully in the oven. It has a tendency to brown faster than real brown sugar. Read the package for the specific amount recommended to replace regular brown sugar.
  • MAPLE SYRUP: Maple syrup is a distinctive feature of this recipe. Honey or molasses are both thicker than maple syrup, so they would not be a 1:1 replacement. Read more about how to substitute for maple syrup.
  • DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS: Because I buy dried fruit and nuts from Costco in large quantities, I feel compelled to add fruit–usually raisins and dried cranberries– to nearly every recipe I can. Gotta use them up before they get old. Chopped dates are good, too.

    When it comes to nuts, I play fast and loose. Substitute unroasted cashews, macadamias, walnuts, pistachios, pinenuts, etc.
  • COCONUT: Coconut flakes (shaved coconut) are my favorite ingredient. Of course, you could substitute shreds, but coconut lovers will appreciate the bigger pieces of coconut. It’s fun to pick them out of the mix and eat those toasty babies individually when no one is looking.
untoasted coconut flakes--good to add to granola
Un-toasted Coconut Flakes

Variation

***Chocolate Olive Oil Granola

I’m telling you. This is the BEST stuff. Can’t keep my hands out of the cookie granola jar.

  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of dark (Dutch-processed) cocoa powder to the oatmeal and nut mixture. Do this before adding olive oil and maple syrup.

    You can substitute regular cocoa for the Dutch-process cocoa. However, the finished product will not look or taste as chocolatey.
  • I leave out the dried fruit in the chocolate version. It’s a personal preference.
chocolate olive oil granola ready to sprinkle over yogurt parfaits

If you want to keep your granola lean and mean, check out my recipe for Skinny Granola. That name may be an oxymoron, but it’s leaner than this recipe for Olive Oil Granola.

skinny granola sprinkle over yogurt.
Skinny granola

FAQ about making homemade granola:

Does granola need to be refrigerated?

No. Refrigeration will cause granola to eventually lose its crispiness.

Can I freeze granola?

Yes. Wrap securely in a freezer-weight zippered plastic bag.

How long can I store granola?

Granola can be stored in the pantry for approximately one month. Store in a Mason jar or zippered plastic bag. Prolong the storage period by vacuum-sealing your granola into a Mason jar in much the same way I do lettuce.

How can I make my granola more clumpy?

Only stir it once while baking. When done, press granola down onto the tray with a spatula or your hand (good use for exam gloves). Let it cool completely before you break it up.

Since I eat all of my granola with yogurt, I prefer the granola broken up into smaller pieces. Otherwise, I eat too much.making clumpy granola

What is the difference between granola and muesli?

Granola and muesli contain the same dry ingredients. However, granola has oil and liquid added so that when baked, it coats the crumbles and helps them stick together. Muesli can be served cooked or uncooked.

What is the best kind of fruit to use in granola?

Any dried fruit such as dried cranberries, raisins, dried cherries, dried blueberries, dried apricots, or mangoes, etc.

Let me repeat that you should wait until after the granola is baked before you add any dried fruit. Otherwise, it can turn really hard when it cools, as in hard enough to break a tooth.


More Recipes for Oatmeal Lovers


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    Paula

    p.s. Questions? Email me: paula at saladinajar.com.


    Yield: 10 cups

    Olive Oil Granola

    olive oil granola falling out of a Mason jar

    This granola is sweetened with brown sugar and maple syrup. Olive oil makes it crispy and adds a subtle fruity flavor. Good for breakfast. Even better with yogurt.

    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 50 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 4 cups old-fashioned oats (not instant or quick)
    • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
    • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
    • 1 cup coconut flakes
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup maple syrup
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 - 1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, and/or chopped dates

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 300˚F.

    1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a large spoon or your hands.
    2. Pour maple syrup and olive oil over oatmeal mixture and continue mixing.
    3. Spread in a thin layer on a greased full-sheet cookie tray. Or, cover your tray with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet for easier clean-up.
    4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
    5. Add dried fruit as you take the granola out of the oven the last time. Allow to cool completely before storing in glass jars or plastic bags.
    6. Makes 1/2 gallon plus one pint.

    Notes

    Chocolate Olive Oil Granola

    • Add 2-3 tablespoons of dark (Dutch process) cocoa powder to the oatmeal and nut mixture before adding olive oil and maple syrup.

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    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    30

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 3g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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    Vicki W.

    Wednesday 5th of June 2013

    Thanks to you, I took the plunge and made yogurt today. Since I have never eaten it, I'm actually not sure how it is supposed to taste. I went with a slightly sweetened version with a touch of vanilla. I think with all the possible variations I'll be able to find a few add ins to give it a wow factor. The granola topping looks wonderful. I'll have to add maple syrup to the list and make it!

    Piper

    Monday 3rd of June 2013

    You are better than Martha Stewart! ; )

    Juliana

    Monday 3rd of June 2013

    What a great afternoon snack...looks delicious, and very tasty...yum! Great pictures as well. Have a great week Paula :)

    Paula

    Saturday 1st of June 2013

    This looks delicious, I love that granola and those apples in a bag look wonderful.

    lurker

    Saturday 1st of June 2013

    Are the coconut flakes sweetened? That seems to be the only kind you can find around here, even at W**** F****!

    Paula

    Sunday 2nd of June 2013

    Yes, they are unsweetened.