Basic Granola recipe

How are your healthy cooking goals coming along? By now you've probably realised that healthy cooking is so much more than just a trip to the farmer's market. It's also about understanding how to navigate your way through a supermarket without getting tricked into buying "healthy" fake food, how to save time in the kitchen, or perhaps meal prep is more helpful to you. Here are my top 10 tips to help you stay on track with your healthy cooking goals.

  1. Fresh is best. Try to buy local and / or organic if possible. Check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists to help you choose when to buy organic.
  2. Frozen and jarred food is ok - just make sure you read the labels! Choose food in glass jars over canned food. Cans need to be lined with chemicals (BPA or Bisphenol A) to prevent the metal from reacting with the food inside. Although it is deemed safe, there has always been a question about the health risks. 
  3. Use a timer. Your oven probably has one already so do yourself a favour and learn how to use it, or buy a basic one. 
  4. Keep meals simple. The fewer the ingredients, the more likely you are to succeed. Try longer recipes when you have more time and don't be afraid to experiment with new foods sometimes.
  5. Cook once, eat twice. This will save you time in the kitchen. Refrigerate or freeze the extra food for a busy day.
  6. Wash and prep fresh produce. Store them in the refrigerator in clear containers where you can see them. Fresh herbs can be stored in glass jars half filled with water so they stay fresh all week long.
  7. Try a variety of healthy cooking styles such as raw, juice, blend, steam, boil, grill, steam fry, and sautéing.
  8. Season. Use a variety seasonings such as Himalaya or sea salt, spices, herbs, citrus fruit or vinegars and other basic condiments to add flavour to the food.
  9. Make cooking part of family time. It's a great way to teach kids how to cook and they can help you too.
  10. Enjoy it! Find ways to make cooking and eating a pleasurable experience.

While you ponder on these, why not make this basic granola recipe to replace your usual store bought one? You can swap out nuts, seeds and dried fruit for any other variety you prefer. Serve with Greek yoghurt or milk alternative, fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for added sweetness.

 

basic Granola recipe

Makes 5 cups

 

Ingredients

2 cups porridge oats

1 cup almonds

1 cup walnuts

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup black chia seeds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 - 8 dates, pitted and roughly chopped

handful of dried cranberries

2 heaped tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Place almonds and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add them to the baking sheet together with the remaining dry ingredients and mix well.

  3. Melt the coconut oil and mix well into the granola mixture.

  4. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden, mixing the granola halfway during cooking time to prevent burning.

  5. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

 

BreakfastIrini Savva