If you can turn on a oven, you can make this easy, whole food granola. Beetroot powder adds the subtlest of pink hue without any weird taste. And the nuggets of dried raspberry are little sweet-tart flavour bombs on the tongue. A fab breakfast or snack for the whole family.
Countless batches of granola have been in and out of my oven over the past 20 something years. As soon as my daughter Rachel was old enough to competently eat small crunchy bits without me poised to administer the Heimlich manoeuvre, I was on it with the homemade granola. She is now almost 23. And, do you know what? Granola is still the first thing she asks me to make when she is home. Of course I happily oblige.
As well as the incomparable taste of homemade granola, there is the tantalising smell. If you have ever made granola you know what I mean. The aroma, swirling into every corner of the house, is irresistible. Toasty oats and nuts, sweet spices, caramelising syrup – mmm. Am I making you hungry?
Sometimes we (okay, me) scoff little crispy nuggets right off the hot tray. Mostly we are able to delay our gratification until it cools right down, the individual clusters and stray bits getting super crunchy. Then I use the parchment paper underneath as a funnel, decanting the insanely aromatic granola into airtight jars for breakfasts – and, more likely for me – evening snacks.
Why make your own granola
Although I mainly make granola because of its supreme ease and customisability (less sugar!), there is also the price thing. Store-bought granola of the pedigree I desire is quite the costly business.
If you have perused your cereal aisle lately you will no doubt have seen a distinct patch of faux-rustic, brown cardboard boxes amongst the standard, giant white boxes. Emblazoned with the words superfoods, no-sugar, naturally-sweetened, these pricey packages contain all manner of wondrous mixtures – courgette and cacao, turmeric and banana, beetroot and ginger. I’ve tried a few in my day and have to say, for the most part, they are “meh.”
Maybe I am just picky about these things but honestly, when something is as easy to make, and it keeps so well, it is silly not to make EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT. And for a much lower price.
Granola has few rules as such, but this is loosely what I tend to stick with for any given batch. Exceptions are made, of course.
Oats – wholegrain; big, fat and toothsome. In the UK it is easy to get oats that have been processed without contamination from gluten-containing foods.
Other whole grains sometimes too – popped quinoa or millet are faves of ours, as are buckwheat, barley and rye flakes. A variety of grains gives varied nutrients, too.
Something sweet – dark molasses, rice malt syrup, maple syrup, honey, date syrup, brown sugar – whatever floats your boat. I tend to use molasses syrup plus dark sugar. The added dry sugar gives us those delectable clusters we all crave. If cutting way back on added sugar and fat, consider using applesauce or similar (pear, prunes) to replace some of the sugar as well as fat.
Fat – extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil or coconut, depending on the taste fit. I sometimes use nut butter for some of the fat, but it’s mainly there for flavour. Egg white can replace all of the fat, but I find it too austere on its own. As above, fruit purees can replace some fat and sugar.
Nuts and seeds – raw and shelled. Large pieces chopped for a better eating experience
No dried fruit – at least for me. With few exceptions I skip the dried fruit and just add fresh fruit to my milk-sloshed bowl of granola.
Spices – cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and vanilla powder are favourites. Mix and match, but easy does it. You can always add more, but it’s hard to hide if you add too much.
A healthy Valentine’s breakfast
This is the latest addition to my homemade cereal stable, a pretty-in-pink Beetroot and Raspberry Granola. It’s a bit of a nod to Valentine’s Day, but it’s perhaps not really pink enough to pass muster.
Beetroot powder gives it a subtle glow but for more full-on pink, puree a small, cooked beetroot and stir it straight into the warm syrup mixture. I have beetroot powder for smoothies, no-bake treats and as a natural food colouring, so it’s kind of a normal ingredient for me. You can get it online or in any health food store, and even some supermarkets. But use a cooked beet if you don’t have the powder. You’ll get the same result in the end. Oh, and no, the granola won’t taste of beetroot. It’s there for a smidge of colour and nutrients. As for the freeze-dried raspberries, these are often in the baking section at larger supermarkets. And of course, online.
I have (at least) eight granola recipes on Food To Glow – all easy and customisable. Some with sweet spices, a sunflower seed butter version, one sweetened/”oiled” with pear puree. Heck, I’ve even got a savoury version. Please do scroll through the breakfast section of my recipe index if you want to see some more hearty, homemade granolas, as well as serving ideas. I add granolas to pancakes and waffles, too.
**Remember to follow me on Pinterest and, if you make my Beetroot and Raspberry Granola, click on the pin below the recipe card and leave a photo of your make with a comment telling me what you think, or any awesome changes that you made.
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Like this kind of recipe? Why not look through my Recipe Index, under “Breakfast” for loads more granolas to bake and enjoy?
Beetroot and Raspberry Granola
Beetroot powder and freeze-dried raspberry nuggets make for a healthy and colourful granola. A healthy breakfast or snack for the whole family
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 120 ml unrefined molasses or 100 ml maple syrup
- 4 tbsp dark brown sugar optional
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 500 g jumbo wholegrain oats
- 100 g pistachio nuts shelled, unroasted
- 2 tbsp beetroot powder
- 4 tbsp freeze-dried raspberry pieces amount is up to you
Heat oven to 140C fan/160C/Gas mark 3/320F. Line 2-3 rimmed baking trays with parchment paper (my oven is small so I use two).
In a very large saucepan very gently heat the molasses, olive oil, sea salt and brown sugar until all is liquid and slightly bubbling. Stir well and immediately add in the oats pistachios and beetroot powder. Fold over and over with a large spoon until all is lightly coated – really reach under and pull everything to the top. Pour onto the waiting, lined trays.
Bake the granola for 15 minutes, stir the granola (I use a spatula to draw the outside bits to the middle and push the middle bits out) and swap oven shelves. Do this again 15 minutes later. Then bake for five to 10 more minutes until it all looks dry and golden, but not at all burned.
Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the trays before sprinkling over the raspberry pieces.
Decant into an airtight jar or other container. Theoretically the granola keeps for several weeks. Hopefully you've eaten it up within the week.
Serve with milk of any kind, kefir, yogurt or a combination of these, adding fresh fruit. This also make a nice nibbly snack mix, so save some for your desk drawer or work out bag.
You can of course make this without the beetroot powder but it is easy to get online and can be used to give natural colouring to all kinds of foods and recipes, as well as boost a smoothie.
You can also leave out the dried raspberries but again they are useful beyond just his granola. They are fab in baking, homemade chocolate "barks", healthy snack mixes, raw treats and to top a smoothie bowl.
The key to crisp but not burned granola is the low and slow baking. Don't be tempted to speed things up by turning up the temperature. You'll be glad you were patient. 🙂
RIPE FOR PINNING!