I’ve always longed to be the sort of girl who wafts around making her own granola. Yes, I know making granola is neither arduous nor complicated. But it often seems a faff – you have to turn the oven on in advance, then you have to hang around while it’s baking, gently prodding and turning. When I wake up feeling like a bowl of granola, I want it in ten minutes not an hour. And that, I guess, is why supermarket shelves are groaning with bags of granola (most full of sugar, I hasten to add).
So imagine my joy at discovering the perfect recipe for no-bake granola. Not only does it take ten minutes but it’s delicious. And when I read the October issue of the British Journal of Nutrition (which had an entire supplement devoted to oats), my joy was complete. Because oats, it would appear, are the answer to many of the things that keep Ms’s Kale & Cocoa awake at night. Here’s a quick summary of the most recent research on the humble oat:
- Oats are a key ingredient for boosting Bifidobacteria (the gut’s most important probiotic)
- Oats are a vital weapon in the obesity battle – they’re more filling, calorie-for-calorie, than any processed cereal. That means you won’t need to snack before lunch…
- When it comes to cardiovascular health, the power of the oat is so compelling that many government authorities (including the US, Europe and Japan) have issued formal health claims on the ability of oats to reduce cholesterol (by up to 20% when eaten regularly).
- An oat-rich diet has also been shown to: reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes; control blood pressure; and boost the immune system. All this is due to a soluble fibre contained in oats called beta-glucan. The only grain with a higher beta-glucan content is barley (sign up now so you don’t miss our upcoming posting on bountiful barley).
Finally (and this could have contributed to my recent feelings of oaty joy), the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that moderately-stressed women (can someone show me a woman who isn’t ‘moderately stressed’?) taking beta-glucan supplements became less stressed, had more energy and fewer infections. Eat your heart out diamonds, oats are a girl’s New Best Friend!
So now I’m throwing oats into everything …. a handful into smoothies and crumble toppings, ground oats into soups, stews, biscuits and cakes. But most of all, I’m making edited versions of teen-blogger Izy Hossack’s glorious granola (from her just-published debut cook book Top with Cinnamon). And my children all have their own versions (a cinnamon-spiked, cranberry-stuffed one for Daughter Number One, a nut-free one for Daughter Number Two, a coconut-y one for The Boy,) … that’s how easy and versatile this stove-top granola is.
IZY HOSSACK’S STOVE GRANOLA (makes 4 generous portions)
- 2 cups rolled oats (I use jumbo oats)
- ½ cup chopped almonds (or whatever nuts you like/have)
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds and 1 tbsp desiccated coconut (optional)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter if you must)
- 2 tbps honey, agave or maple syrup (reduce if you’re going easy on sweeteners)
In a large frying pan, dry roast the oats and nuts (and seeds and coconut if using) for five minutes, until just golden. Move the mixture to the sides of the pan. Add the oil and sweetener and stir everything together for a further four-five minutes. Leave to cool (it will crisp up as it cools). If you want to add dried fruit or cinnamon or chia seeds (anything you like, frankly), do this now.
We like ours with live yoghurt and fresh fruit. It lasts for a good two weeks (but rarely beyond a couple of days in our house). Oh – and did I mention that oats are chock full of biotin and zinc? Perfect fodder for my hair project (more on that later).