Hello Naturally Me Blog readers! Justine from Cooking and Beer here to share one of my favorite granola recipes with you today.
I was absolutely thrilled when Alissa asked me to do a guest post for her. Alissa and I go way back; like so far back that I don't even remember the first time we met. It is quite possible that I was still in the cradle! Our parents have always been fantastic friends, and it seems that the tradition has been passed right along!
I also have such a deep respect for what she is doing. Her constant enthusiasm and determination for maintaining a healthy and wholesome lifestyle is overwhelmingly amazing. I don't know if I will ever be as good of a yogi as she is as my flexibility has become non-existent since I turned 29, but I will spend the rest of my life trying to be!
So how is everyone's spring going so far? I am from Colorado, and let me just tell you that it has basically been raining for like a month straight. If you didn't already know, Colorado is one of the sunniest spots in the country, with over 300 days of sunshine per year.
Lately however, this has not been the case. It has been gloomy, rainy and annoying. I'm definitely one of those types where the weather affects my mood. I hate the rain, and I'm over it! I guess the biggest problem with the current weather situation is that it makes my daily run difficult to tackle. I am a very active runner, but when it's icky outside, I basically have to force myself out of bed and into my running shoes. It's a good thing I have a big old batch of this blueberry vanilla granola to keep me sane.
I don't know about you guys, but the primary thought going through my head while I'm running is food. Seriously, I have daydreams about hamburgers and cupcakes at the 6-mile mark. While I don't always have a hamburger or cupcake on hand to munch on after a long run, I definitely need some sort of nourishment.
Enter this blueberry vanilla granola. I am a granola snob. I hate to admit it, but I am. There is like one brand at Trader Joe's that I will actually buy. Other than that, I always make it myself. You guys, if you have never made granola from scratch, you need to. It is RIDICULOUS how easy it is to make. This recipe is super easy, too.
Loaded with oats and nuts, this granola packs a big old punch of flavor. Bursts of dried blueberries are the tart component you need to tone down the sweetness from the vanilla and dark chocolate chunks. Coconut oil and almond butter are the glue that holds this granola together. This granola is crunchy, sweet and so addicting that you'll never buy the pre-made stuff again.
Recipe is below!
Blueberry Vanilla Granola with Chocolate Chunks
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 40 min
Yield: 10 cups
2/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup almond butter (I used salted)
1/2 cup raw honey
1-2 teaspoons good-quality vanilla extract (I used a coconut/vanilla blend)
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (adjust to taste based on personal preference)
2 cups dried blueberries
4 ounces at least 65% cacao dark chocolate chunks
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, and line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
2. To a small saucepan, add the coconut oil. Melt over medium-low heat, and then whisk in the almond butter, honey and vanilla extract. Continue to whisk until melty and smooth. Keep the pan over low heat while you prepare your dry ingredients.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, salt and blueberries. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. (Try to avoid breaking up the blueberries.)
4. Pour the granola onto both baking sheets; spread evenly.
5. Bake the granola in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until evenly brown.
6. Give the granola a good stir at the 12 minute mark. Remove from heat and let the granola cool COMPLETELY in the pan.
7. Once completely cool, break up the granola into small clumps. Sir in the chocolate chunks.
8. Store the granola in an airtight container for about a month. It is best served with Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
NOTE: I always use coconut oil as the moistening agent for granola. It browns up so nicely in the oven (better than butter and other fats). Although coconut oil provides the perfect "crispness," it can burn easily. Keep a close eye on it while it's in the oven. If you find it's browning up too much, give it an additional stir or pull it from the oven completely.
I hope you guys love this recipe for blueberry vanilla granola with chocolate chunks just as much as I do. Have a wonderful day!
xoxo - Justine
All images via Cooking & Beer