This Maple Pecan Granola is chock full of whole ingredients like oats, pecans and pumpkin seeds. It is toasted, crunchy, slightly sweet, and wholly satisfying. When paired with yogurt and fresh berries, it leaves you feeling full all morning
When we lived in Barcelona, I started making granola for breakfast. I bought a bag of five grains or cereals. I toasted them in a small saucepan (we didn’t have an oven) and added brown sugar to make a granola. When we moved back, I continued making it, adjusting it by using rolled oats, pecans, coconut flakes, cinnamon and maple syrup instead of brown sugar. When I had them on hand, I added in pumpkin seeds and raisins.
When our oldest was a toddler, he would wake up most mornings and ask for ya-ya (granola) and yocht (yogurt) which always made me feel good.
In the years since then, I’ve honed this recipe even further. I ditched the coconut flakes and the raisins, and now use only dried cranberries, and I always add in pumpkin seeds. We eat this almost every weekday morning for breakfast with yogurt and berries.
It is the thing that gives me energy and keeps me feeling good and full until lunch time. Whenever we run out, my mind starts churning to try to figure out something else that I can have for breakfast that is healthy, not full of straight carbs, and won’t leave me wanting to start snacking two hours later. I never come up with anything good, and so I start trying to figure out when I can make more granola.
In this recipe, I toast the oats separately from all the other ingredients. Then I toss the oats for evenness and add in the cinnamon, pecans and pumpkin seeds and toast everything a little longer. Lastly I toss everything again and add in the dried cranberries and maple syrup, baking one last time so that everything sets.
Baking the granola at three separate intervals is the thing that makes this granola so good. Oats, pecans and pumpkin seeds all start to brown at different rates. So if you were to add all the ingredients in at the same time either the pecans would burn or the oats would not get toasted enough. The same is true with the cranberries. If you were to add them in at the beginning (or raisins if you use them), they would get all dried out and gummy. So the dried cranberries get added in at the very end.
This granola is chock full of healthy whole ingredients. It is toasted, crunchy, slightly sweet, and wholly satisfying. When paired with yogurt and fresh berries, it leaves you feeling full all morning. It also always makes me feel good mentally knowing that I started the day with a healthy breakfast. I do like to add in maple syrup to tie it all together and add that distinct maple flavor, but you could always tone this down if you want to reduce the amount of sugar added.
I've made this granola about twice a month every month for seven years (and the old version for a year before that). Thats 168 times. Thats 168 times to fine tune and perfect this recipe. I hope that you and your family get as much joy and full breakfast bellies from this recipe as our family has.
- This recipe makes enough for about two weeks for our family of 5. All of us eat this for breakfast most weekday mornings, even our littlest who just turned one. Any longer than 2 weeks and it gets a bit stale.
- If you're looking for a smaller portion just halve the recipe and use only 1 sheet pan.
- This is a recipe where I don’t measure the ingredients. I use enough oats to cover the baking sheet, ensuring that the layer is not too thin or it may burn and not too thick so that the oats don’t get toasted. I use more pecans than pumpkin seeds, and even fewer cranberries. I sprinkle the cinnamon on straight from the spice jar, dusting the whole thing lightly. I drizzle on a good amount of maple syrup, but not so much that it ends up tasting sticky sweet – just enough to bring the ingredients together.
- It is important to use high quality cinnamon. Generally, I’m not that picky about store bought spices, except when it comes to cinnamon. I buy organic cinnamon from Whole Foods, usually Ceylon Cinnamon. Its more expensive, but definitely worth it.
- I chop the pecans to make it more manageable when eating a scoop of granola. I don't really want a whole pecan in one spoonful of granola.
- I also chop the cranberries even smaller because they are pretty sweet and even having one whole one in a spoon full of granola and yogurt is a bit too sweet for me. But you could always skip chopping them if you want to simplify it (and sometimes I do if the kids are demanding my attention and I'm short on time and patience).
- I use a half sheet pan that is 18x13 inches and goes up about 1 inch on the sides. The size of the sheet pan is important because it dictates how much of the oats and other ingredients that you can fit into the pan and still get a nice even toast on them in the oven. If you’re using a smaller sheet pan, you’ll need to scale all the ingredients back.
- Sometimes when I make this I think that the oats do not look toasted enough after 10 minutes, so I try and push it a bit and bake it for 12 or 14 minutes. I always regret it. If I push it past the 10 minute mark, the oats start to burn around the edges of the pan, which can make the whole thing taste burned or over toasted.
- I buy a large bag of pecans at Costco for around $10. If you don't buy them in bulk they can get quite expensive.
- I buy the pumpkin seeds from Whole Foods. They are small and green.
- I do think it's worth spending some time to find a yogurt that you really like. I don't particularly like Chobani. It has a really strong taste and flavor which I find off putting, but obviously lots of people like it because you can find it everywhere. When shopping for yogurt I pay close attention to the amount of sugar. Many yogurts have so much sugar that sometimes you're essentially eating dessert for breakfast. We love the Trader Joe's yogurt. We usually get big tubs of vanilla non-fat greek yogurt and non-fat greek plain yogurt, and sometimes I'll get the smaller raspberry yogurts. The vanilla has 13 grams sugar. If you want to reduce the amount of sugar even further you can consider mixing half vanilla, half plain yogurt.
If you're looking for other breakfast recipes, here are 3 that I love:
Every Day Healthy Breakfast Granola
- 9 cups rolled oats
- 2 ½ cups pecans, chopped
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
- Spread the oats out over two large baking sheets. Bake both baking sheets on separate racks in the oven at the same time for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Using a wide flat spatula, bring the oats to the center of the baking sheets and flip them over. Spread the oats back out on the baking sheet. Top with the chopped pecans and pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon over one baking sheet and half over the other. Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
- Add the cranberries to the baking sheets. Bring the oats, pecans, etc. again to the center of the baking sheets. Drizzle the maple syrup over the top. Using the spatula, flip over the oats, pecans, etc. to coat everything in the maple syrup. There should be enough maple syrup that some of the oats clump together, but not too much otherwise it will be too sweet. Spread the granola back out to cover the pans evenly. Bake for another 5 minutes.
- Let cool for 2 minutes. Then loosen the granola from the baking sheets while still warm so that it doesn’t cool and stick to the sheet.Allow to cool fully, then store at room temperature in an airtight container.It’s especially good while still warm, so top some of your favorite yogurt with the still-warm-from-the-oven granola (or in our house called ya-ya).