You probably think of granola as “hippie food”. But granola got it’s start long before the free spirits of the ’60s claimed it as a staple food.
Granola’s history is actually rooted in vegetarianism! It’s story also includes a line of “health foodies” with last names you’ll recognize.
Granola: a brief (and interesting) history
Dr. Sylvester Graham, an advocate for vegetarianism (called “Grahamism” at that time), invented a whole grain flour called Graham flour, which he used to invent Graham crackers.
Dr. James Jackson, another health advocate, essentially took Graham crackers and created a crumbled cereal he called “Granula”.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a Seventh Day Adventist and vegetarian, became director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a health institute. There he created a whole grain breakfast cereal that he named “Granula”… until being sued by Dr. Jackson and renaming his creation “Granola”!
Charles W. Post was a patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. He eventually opened his own sanitarium where he developed his own “Granola” which he called Grape Nuts. “Granola-style” breakfast cereal soon became a wild success.
Granola is reclaimed and repopularize by the hippies!
All of these packaged food gurus might have invented it, but I think it’s time to reclaim the recipe for a good granola. I love this Oh She Glows version, but I never seem to have all the ingredients on hand. So I created a simplified version.
This Dark Chocolate Orange Fig Granola recipe comes together with only 10 ingredients. It’s chockfull of fall flavors- the figs, dark chocolate, and cinnamon give it warmth, while the orange zest brightens it up. Pile it with fresh chopped apple or stone fruits and a splash of soy milk or sprinkle over a warm bowl of oats.
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed (flax meal)
- Zest from 1-2 oranges
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup dried figs, chopped
- ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 300F
- In a large bowl, combine oats, pecans, seeds, zest, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle in maple syrup and mix until all dry ingredients are coated.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread granola in one even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
- When granola is golden brown, remove from the oven and gently fold in dried figs and chocolate chips. Let it cool completely in an even layer on the baking sheet.
- Store in an air-tight container for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 6 months.