If you had asked me even a month ago, what I thought about baking with olive oil, you would have most certainly gotten something like this face 😝
It’s not that I hate olive oil or anything. I’m thrilled to use it in a vinaigrette to top my salad or to drizzle it over roast chicken or veggies or even to dip some crusty bread into, but in things as beloved as cake, cookies or granola? No way!
But I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the health benefits of incorporating more olive oil into our diets and I know some pretty famous pastry chefs who swear by it in their baked goods, so I decided to step outside my comfort zone and…
What a revelation to find that it makes the most delicious granola ever!! Cross my heart!
You don’t taste the olive oil at all, or rather it doesn’t taste the way you’d think olive oil would taste in something sweet. What it does do here is add just that right amount of savory bitterness that perfectly balances out the sweetness of the crunch.
People who don’t know it’s in there won’t quite be able to put their finger on what’s different about this granola but they definitely won’t be able to keep their hands off it! It’s addictively good. I have a bunch of other granola recipes on the site and while I love those, I think this is my new basic go-to (I’ll still have to make this chocolate one at regular intervals of course, although maybe I can tinker around with this olive oil version to make it chocolate friendly!)
Another plus, is that this version is ridiculously easy to make, literally you mix everything up, spread it onto a baking sheet and bake—no stirring involved. And it makes a big batch that will last at least a couple of weeks, unless you absolutely can’t control yourself!!
So have a great Monday, whether you’re working or enjoying the holiday break. And be forewarned—expect to see some other olive oil based baked goodies in the near future. I have definitely found a new love!
Olive Oil Granola
Makes about 2 quarts
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 35 minutes
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raw seeds and/or nuts (I used a mixed cup of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and chopped almonds)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ -2 cups mixed dried fruit ( I used apricots and cherries—if you are using whole apricots, use a pair of scissors to cut these into bite-sized pieces)
1. Make sure a rack is positioned in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350ºF.
2. Place the oats, seeds and nuts and coconut in a large bowl together and toss to mix. Add in the oil, syrup and salt and use a spatula to mix everything together so that it is well coated. Scrape onto a large rimmed baking sheet and spread it into an even layer.
3. Bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the process, until the mixture looks dark golden brown and toasted and smells fragrant. Immediately stir in the dried fruit and spread out again. Let the granola cool completely, then transfer to mason jars or other airtight containers and store for about 3 weeks at room temperature.
Note: Recipe adapted from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music. I cut the cardamom. Feel free to make this your own.