I’m burnt out on oatmeal. Providing a sustained energy release, it was long my breakfast of choice before a long run. Then one morning at 4:45am, I found myself staring listlessly into my bowl of nutritious mush. I knew the party was over. I could never, ever eat another bowl of oatmeal again.
Along came Melissa Clark’s recipe for Granola with a Perk of Olive Oil in the Foods section of the Times. Oats are repackaged into a breakfast that is sweet, a little salty and filled with super foods.
Clark is a favorite food writer of mine. In a meandering yet captivating style, she recounts her adventures in recipe creation. Some of her recipes have become family favorites (spicy chicken with garlic, cashews and lime, chicken soup with chickpeas and North African spices and lentil soup with lemon, to name a few.)
This granola is simple to make. It lends itself easily to substitutions. Besides the whole grain benefits of oats, Clark’s recipe is chock full of runner-friendly foods; walnuts (omega 3, antioxidants), sunflower seeds (vitamin E, magnesium, selenium), olive oil (cardio-vascular benefits, as well as anti-inflammatory properties) and apricots (beta-carotene and antioxidants.)
And yes, it is delicious. Don’t be dissuaded by the idea of olive oil. If you are of a certain age, this granola will bring to mind a very sophisticated version of Cracker Jacks.
I cut the granola into large pieces for snacking at work and break it into smaller pieces for breakfast. It is filling, but not too. I am hoping to stick with it through the Chicago Marathon. There are few things able to spice up life at 4:45 AM, but this bowl of granola is easing my journey.
Recipe: Granola with Olive Oil (slightly adapted)
Yield: 9 cups
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup dried, sweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup pure maple syrup (honey works well too)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher (or sea) salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, maple or honey, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots, tossing to combine.