Olive Oil Granola with Apricots & Pecans – Ageless Diet™ for the Holidays

Making Christmas cookies for the holidays is a tradition in my house. Did I mention I’m an ace baker? I baked desserts for a living to put myself through acting school. But, this year I wanted an Ageless Diet™ replacement for the usual butter, powdered sugar, corn syrup, dark chocolate, and more!, laden pastries. And I landed on an old olive oil granola recipe in the New York Times. I’ve adapted it to my southern taste buds, using pecans for pistachios. I’ve added golden raisins because I love them. This granola is not something you want to eat often because it does have inflammatory ingredients, like honey, sugar, and high-in-fructose dried fruits, but it’s a healthIER alternative to my crazy good but so bad for you Christmas cookies. This is part of the Holiday Recipe and Meal Plan Program I’m creating for the Ageless Diet™. These recipes, like this granola, are healthIER versions of some of our favorites. It is still delicious, and it still counts as a holiday indulgence. And it might even taste better than a sugar cookie with buttercream frosting. It’s certainly more energizing. I hope you like this granola as much as I do!

Here’s my version of olive oil granola with dried apricots and pecans. Granola can be super inflammatory with lots of sugar and processed vegetable oils. This version is healthIER. Obviously, a honey and brown sugar sweetened snack is not something we want to eat everyday, but it is the holidays. With that in mind, I wanted something that tastes as good or better than the traditional holiday sugary treats we normally consume, but doesn’t leave me feeling full and bloated. There’s no sacrificing taste with this recipe. And with the addition of olive oil, you get a good fat that adds a savory touch to the granola, which balances the sweetness nicely. Just one note, if you are allergic to gluten you’ll want to avoid the rolled oats as they can prove tricky for those with that sensitivity.

Oats in the bowl, mixed with sea salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts, seeds, coconut

Oats in the bowl, mixed with sea salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, nuts, seeds, coconut

Adding the honey

Adding the honey

The final product. Olive oil granola out of the oven & totally delicious.

The final product. Olive oil granola out of the oven & totally delicious.

Olive Oil Granola with Apricots & Pecans

(Makes about 18 cups, halve this recipe if it’s for one family or for you to munch on. This makes a lot of granola. In the spirit of making Christmas cookies to give away, I make a big batch.)

Ingredients:

  • 6 1/2 cups organic old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 cups organic raw pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups organic raw sunflower seeds, hulled
  • 2 cups organic unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (100% cane sugar)
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins or currants
  • 1 1/2 cup unsulphured dried apricots, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, honey, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. The last 10 minutes the mixture is in the oven add the apricots and raisins, stirring them into the mixture.
  2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and store in mason jars. You can give this granola as gifts. I give it away instead of holiday cookies – it’s healthIER and addicting, your friends and family won’t be disappointed. I like to jazz up a jar with a bow and a label with the ingredients, in case there are any allergens for some people.
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About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. She is a writer and content creator, working in film, tv, and online. She wrote the popular lifestyle book "Ageless Diet," published in late 2015. And she is currently working on her next book. She also developed a sitcom pilot set in the restaurant business called "Employees Only TV" and is developing another web series comedy about Denver.

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