I have a bit of a sweet tooth. And by sweet tooth I mean — an unwavering, don’t you dare leave me you sweet beautiful thing — love of sugar. Growing up, that sweet tooth meant I ate big bowls of sugary cereal for breakfast every day. You name the brand, I had it. Every once in awhile, I’ll be at a hotel or a brunch buffet, and the sight of the cereal will catch me like a middle school crush.
Sometimes I’ll get a bowl just to satisfy my nostalgic craving, but more often, I’ll make a granola at home. I’ll be the first to say that granola isn’t always a world apart from cereal, but when it’s homemade, it’s a good kind of different. Here’s why:
Homemade Means Knowing Your Ingredients
Lots of times, homemade means more wholesome. When I make my own granola, like I did with this delicious Cashew Ginger Granola with Dates and Sesame Seeds, I can pick and choose exactly what goes inside, packing it with nutritious ingredients like coconut oil, cashews, sesame seeds, whole grain oats, Medjool dates…and leave out anything iffy or unidentifiable. Since granola is packed with such high-quality, nutritious ingredients, it tends to be calorie-dense. But a small serving goes a long way, especially when combined with Greek yogurt rather than milk.
Using Natural Sweeteners
I packed this granola recipe with Medjool dates, which only taste like candy, because they’re actually a fresh, whole fruit, full of fiber, potassium, and 16 vitamins and minerals. The natural sugar in them can sweeten a recipe and bump up the nutrition at the same time–exactly what I did here.
And since the Medjool dates did a lot of heavy lifting in the sugar department for my granola, I didn’t need to add much more sweetness to the overall recipe. A little bit of maple syrup is in there, too (and maple syrup is high in antioxidants).
Cashew Ginger Granola with Medjool Dates and Sesame Seeds
This granola is fragrant with cinnamon, allspice, and spicy ginger–plus a handful of chopped crystallized ginger for more zing. It’s crunchy and crisp, nutty with cashews and sesame seeds, and full of sticky, sweet chopped Medjool dates. Enjoy it over yogurt, on top of oatmeal, on its own as a snack, or even over frozen yogurt or ice cream!
Cashew Ginger Granola with Dates and Sesame Seeds
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- ¾ cup dry roasted cashews
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil melted
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 Natural Delights Medjool dates pitted and chopped small
- ⅓ cup crystallized ginger chopped
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the oats, cashews, sesame seeds, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the coconut oil until melted, about 20 seconds. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour the coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture and toss well to combine.
- Spread on the prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until golden brown, fragrant, and crisp, about 25 minutes.
- Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the dates and crystallized ginger. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container for storing. Keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.