Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola

THK Applesauce Granola2

So, I used to think, “I don’t have time to make granola. It must take days.

Boy, was I wrong!

Now I make at least two batches a week. And when we run out, there are moans and whining. Even my non-cereal-loving daughters are all about it! My husband stirs it into his natural peanut butter for a post-workout “second breakfast,” and I love it with Greek yogurt as part of my lunch!

THK Applesauce Granola1

The truth? It is sooooo easy to make! Yes, the total time (from ingredients in a bowl to happily crunching) is over an hour. BUT … it’s not active time. It just needs to be stirred about every 10 minutes.

My solution? I make granola while I clean the kitchen. Or while I work in the laundry room. (Does the dirty clothes pile ever go away?) Or while I address and sign Christmas cards. Or … well, you get the idea.

It’s sort of the multitasker’s dream food. You can get SO much done in just an hour – and you also end up with a big, yummy, fresh, crunchy batch of homemade granola!

When I decided it was time for me to take on this “granola making” challenge, I did what most people do. I googled it. What I found was that many granola recipes call for lots of oil. Ok, but I really wanted to limit the fat and calories from oil. And, I usually sub in applesauce for most of the oil when I bake. Hmmmm … but would that work for granola???

Turns out that, yes, yes it does! My initial research gave me quite a few recipes, but none of them really spoke to me. I realized that I just needed to start experimenting and build my own recipe. So I pushed up my sleeves and went for it!

THK Applesauce Granola5

Both Shelley’s family and mine munched happily along as each batch got closer and closer to perfection. After at least five or six batches, we decided it was just right! And honestly – we’re loving it. (One of the dangers of being a THK taste tester is that you often get totally hooked!)

Shoved in the back of the cupboard was an old bag of store-bought granola. I took a look at the label and was shocked. There were many (many!) ingredients listed (some nearly unpronounceable), yet when I was looking at the granola-in-a-bag I couldn’t really determine why some of those ingredients needed to be in there. I mean, I couldn’t see them … but apparently they were there. Blech!

I love knowing that something my family eats (every day now!) is wholesome and full of good-for-you, nutritious ingredients that I can easily recognize and pronounce!

THK Applesauce Granola3

Really, you can do this. I promise! And, it’s sooooo worth it!

THK by Gretchen

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Mmmmmmm … granola … As a breakfast cereal or a quick snack, mixed into peanut butter or Greek yogurt … so many ways to enjoy it! How do you love to eat granola?

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Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola
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Yield: About 4½ – 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup nuts and/or seeds (we used roasted sunflower kernels, chopped walnuts and sliced almonds)
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed meal
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit of choice (optional)
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 275° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats with the mixed nuts and/or seeds and the ground flax.
  3. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine the applesauce, honey, canola oil, cinnamon and salt. Microwave on 100% power for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds, just so that it is warm and a little thinner.
  4. Pour warm applesauce mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Add coconut and stir again to mix through.
  5. Spread granola mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in dried fruit, if desired.
  8. Store in an airtight container for several days.
Notes
The recipe calls for 3½ cups oats and ½ cup nuts and/or seeds. If you prefer more nuts for added crunch, simply make adjustments. Your total amount of oats and nuts/seeds should be 4 cups.

 

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Comments

Easy, Healthy Applesauce Granola — 30 Comments

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  7. I’m alive! And look at what I’ve missed! Applesauce Granola? Could you make it sound any better? I never thought adding applesauce would work in granola though.. But since we have enough apples and applesauce to fill a swimming pool and I make granola on weekly basis anyway.. Oh, Im excited about trying this!

    • Yes, both of our homes have been overflowing with apples, as well! We just can’t seem to get enough! (Haha!! But maybe not enough to fill a swimming pool!)
      This applesauce granola is so easy to make – you’ll be glad you’ve got all that applesauce on hand! But you already know granola is so simple to whip up – and now healthier! :) ~G&S

  8. I just love granola! I still remember way back when I was looking to buy a package of granola and could not get over how much sugar and fat is added. Yuck! It may be convenient, but just doesn’t taste as good as homemade. I love your version. I’ve never made it with applesauce, but it sounds yummy!

  9. i LOVE granola. I have made it in the past but never found a memorable recipe. I love how you keep it healthy and limit the oil/butter that some recipes have! Homemade granola is so much better than most store bought brands. I will say that I found the best store bought granola (they sell it in Wegmans and Whole Foods)..the granola factory- and I love their honey pecan flavor. The ingredient list is short and sweet and you can see all of the ingredients in your bag of granola! Although it can get pricey! I am definitely going to have to give your recipe a shot!

    • Great tip on The Granola Factory – never seen it, but I’m gonna keep a lookout! Won’t hurt to have a box of it stashed in the cupboard in case we run out of our homemade – it’ll help keep the hungry wolves (errrrrrr … my kids …) at bay while I quick whip up another batch! :D ~Shelley

    • Yes – Christine, gotta try it! We try to sneak ground flax into whatever we can! It’s so very healthy, but doesn’t really have any flavor. It’s perfect in recipes like this applesauce granola, other baked goods, and we love it in our Quick and Healthy Snack Bites – you should definitely try! It’s full of really good-for-you Omega-3s and loaded with fiber. It’s been shown to protect against some cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. All that amazing nutrition from such a tiny little seed that’s been around for thousands of years! You get the most benefits when it’s ground – you can purchase whole seeds and grind them yourself or (even easier!) just grab some flaxseed meal. :) ~G&S

  10. I’d like the granola to be in somewhat larger chunks that I could bag-up and take to golf for a pick-me-up energizer. If I stir it less, will it hang together or do you have a GRANOLA BAR recipe up your sleeve? Keep up the good work!

    • Seriously great question! In truth, I could get into a really long-winded and geeky food science answer about a number of techniques that you can use to create clumpier granola. This granola recipe is actually specifically designed to be the smaller-crumbled kind that is perfect for things like breakfast cereal and yogurt parfaits. Your suggestion of stirring it less might help just a little, but you want to be careful that you stir it often enough that it browns evenly. One easy technique you could use is to add egg white to your unbaked mixture to promote clumping, and you can even sort of moosh it together into clumps before baking (which you then try not to over-stir and break apart). If you’re truly interested in delving deeper, google “how to make granola clump” (I just tried it to be sure it yields good info!) and there are a bunch of returns there that can give you the more detailed types of info that I simply can’t get totally into here. Also, some of our future granola recipes are slated to have more “clumpability” … so stay tuned! Oh – and about those granola bars to give you the energy you need to golf like a pro? We’re definitely planning to unveil more of those type of grab-n-go snacks in the future, too! Hands-down, though, we’d recommend tucking some Snack Bites in your golf bag when you head to the links. They’re so portable and perfectly bite-sized, and you’ll really be surprised how just 3 or 4 will fill you up and give you the sustained energy you need! (We see a hole-in-one in your future …) :D ~Shelley

    • Hey, Dustin! Thanks for stopping by! We’re so pleased with how the applesauce works here! Turns out, applesauce is really one of the best friends a healthy baker can have! Give it a try and let us know what you think! ~G&S

    • Hi, Rachel! Good question! Yes, yes – we actually do have some ideas about pumpkin. In fact, we have oodles of ideas about how we’re gonna take this “basic” recipe and turn it into all sorts of other awesome flavor combinations (hint hint … stay tuned!), but we definitely wanted to get this “starter” recipe out there to you guys first! ~G&S

    • Yay! Consuelo – should totally take a road trip and come be a guest taste-tester! (Ummmm … yeah, ok … we fully realize you absolutely don’t have that kind of free time, but, let’s just pretend!) We would have crazy-lots of fun!!! <3 G&S

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