Granola is often thought of as a “health food” however, store-bought granola is full of sugar, fat, and preservatives. Most homemade recipes are only healthier in terms of cutting preservatives, but are also full of sugar, and even the “healthy” versions use large quantities of maple syrup or honey which still leaves the granola with a high sugar content. I recently found a recipe that calls for egg whites to bind the granola instead of using maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, or any other sugar to caramelize and work as a binding agent and wanted to give it a try.
I also recently came across the granola recipe from Eleven Madison Park (ranked #1 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant for 2017) and couldn’t wait to try it. However, being a restaurant recipe, I knew it would taste amazing despite having high content of sugar and fat, so I started with the healthy high-protein recipe that uses egg whites instead of sugar as a base recipe, and added some of the ingredients found in the Eleven Madison Park’s recipe for taste. I also decreased the amount of olive oil in Eleven Madison Park’s recipe from 1/3 cup to 2 tablespoons; I knew the olive oil would give the granola depth in flavor and I wanted a little bit of that without all the fat. I made a few substitutions based on my favorite granola ingredients to come up with the recipe below: I added almonds and cashews to the pistachio mix, and used ¼ cup of dried cranberries instead of ¾ cups of dried sour cherries (dried fruits have high content of sugar, so I opted to use less in my recipe). The healthy recipe yields 3 cups of granola, while the Eleven Madison Park yields 6 cups; with my substitutions, my recipe yields 4 ¼ cups so I adjusted for cooking time and temperature. While the healthy sugar-free granola recipe says to bake at 225◦F for 1 hour, the Eleven Madison Park recipe says to bake at 300◦F for 35-40 minutes. I decided to bake my recipe at 250◦F for 45 minutes, but depending on your oven you may need to cook a little longer.
This recipe is healthier than the average granola recipe, it’s not sweet since there is zero sugar added (with the exception of dried fruit), but it’s still delicious. If you want yours a little sweeter, you can always add honey to it before serving it, although I’ve found that when eating it with fresh fruit and yogurt or milk (or almond milk) there is no need to add any sugar to it at all. The wonderful thing about a granola recipe is that you can add anything you like to it. So take the recipe below as a simple guide and have fun creating your own version! The healthy egg-white recipe says to use 1 egg white per 1 cup of dry ingredients… I went a little overboard with adding ingredients but my recipe still turned out fine.
Healthy High-Protein Granola (Naturally Sugar-Free and Gluten-Free)
Recipe adapted from Super Healthy Kids and NYT’s article on Eleven Madison Park
Yields: 4 ¼ cups
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- 2 cups of oats (gluten-free, steel-cut, not instant)
- 1/3 cup unsalted raw or dry-roasted pistachios
- 1/3 cup unsalted raw cashews or pecans, broken into bits
- 1/3 cup unsalted raw almonds slices
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes or chips (can be added after baking)
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (optional to add sunflower seeds too)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit (can be added after baking)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Dash of cinnamon (you can add more to naturally “sweeten” the granola)
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt
- 3 large egg whites
- Beat egg whites in mixer until stiff peaks form; about 5 minutes. Reserve.
- Mix all dry ingredients (except dried fruit), add olive oil and egg whites and continue to gently mix until egg whites are completely incorporated.
- Spread mixture on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper or silpat.
- Bake 250◦F for 45 minutes until light golden brown. Stir once or twice during baking. If you prefer chunkier granola pieces, then do not stir at all.
- Allow granola to cool completely before storing in air-tight container for 1-2 weeks.
I hope you enjoy this healthy and naturally sugar-free granola recipe!