A healthy Christmas granola with no added sugar. Conjure up festive flavours for breakfast with its warming gingerbread spices, orange, cranberries, crunchy pecans with toasted oats. Our best holiday granola recipe that also makes great gifts.
Is there a Healthy Granola?
We hear this question so much these days. Not all granolas are good for you - particularly as supermarket granolas receive some pretty bad publicity in the news. Not only have many commercial granolas been found to contain too many pesticides but they also contain far too much sugar.
So to enjoy a really healthy granola, make your own homemade version such as this recipe without any added sugar. Just ensure you buy organic ingredients.
Another reason why granola has a reputation of being bad for you is on the calorie count with the amount of nuts it contains. Moderation is key so please follow the quantities I give below in the recipe. In any case, after a bowl in the morning, you'll probably find that it's pretty filling to set you up until lunchtime.
Healthy Sugar Free Granola
As with all my recipes at home, I always taste-test until I've reduced the sugar to a minimum. As with my homemade maple granola, no sugar is needed! The natural sugars from the dried fruits (cranberries and apples) are also sweet enough to start the day, coming from the maple syrup and the dried fruits. It's also vegan as it doesn't contain honey.
We also love to serve this with fruit compote. To make your own, follow my recipe for rhubarb compote - it is easily adaptable using berries (even frozen) instead.
Healthy Edible Gifts
This Christmas granola makes the best edible gifts for something a bit healthy and spicy. Just wrap into bags and tie up with a ribbon and the granola keeps well in a cool, dry place for a month.
Christmas Gingerbread Spiced Granola
To conjure up some festive flavours, add warming spices, orange zest and special Christmassy nuts such as brazil and pecan nuts, although walnuts are super too.
In France, gingerbread spice (pain d'épices) is most popular. If you can't find it, use apple spice which is closest.
Failing that, make your own gingerbread spice with a blend of the following:
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon;
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg;
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger;
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.
The orange zest may seem a lot, but the flavour calms down as it toasts in the oven, leaving just the right amount for a cosy, Christmas hint at breakfast time. If you prefer more orange, then add zest after baking.
What's more, ça va sans dire (it goes without saying) that you can enjoy this at ANY time of year!
Spiced Gingerbread Granola with Chocolate
For us, it's our favourite winter granola without chocolate. If you prefer with chocolate, add gingerbread spices like this to this chocolate granola with coconut.
Although this video is for chocolate granola, the recipe base is the same.
- 300 g (11oz/3 ¾ cups) medium porridge oats (I use Hamlyns when I can)
- 100 g (3.5oz/¾ cup) pepitas (unsalted pumpkin seeds)
- 50 g (1.75oz/ ⅓ cup) sunflower seeds
- 50 g (1.75oz) pecan nuts broken
- 50 g (1.75oz) brazil nuts (or hazelnuts/walnuts) roughly chopped
- good pinch good quality salt (fleur de sel)
- 2 teaspoon gingerbread spice (pain d'épices) SEE NOTES*
- 1 unwaxed orange - grated zest only
- 3 tablespoon sunflower oil (or other neutral oil or coconut oil)
- 5 tablespoon maple syrup
- 80 g (3oz/½ cup) dried cranberries
- 30 g (1oz/2 tbsp) dried goji berries (or dried apple slices)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F (150°C fan); Gas 3
- Measure all the ingredients (except the dried fruits) and grate the zest of the orange in a large bowl. Stir to mix them all well together.
- Grease a large rimmed baking tray with more oil or use a baking tray covered with baking paper (even better, a Silpat silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture by shaking the tray gently from side to side.
- Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, turn over the mixture to ensure the mixture is toasted evenly, and bake for a further 10 minutes or until lightly toasted brown.
- Leave to cool completely for about 30 minutes then add the dried fruits.
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon; ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg; ¼ teaspoon ground ginger; ¼ teaspoon ground cloves. Although I've indexed this under gluten-free recipes, please note that Coeliac sufferers may not be able to include oats in their diet. Please ensure that oats are marked gluten free if you're following a strict gluten free diet. Measures: Please note that all my recipes are best made using digital kitchen scales in precise metric grams. Both ounces (and cups) are given as an approximate guide.
This recipe was first published 9 December 2017 but is now completely updated with more explanatory text.
I have enjoyed this Christmas Granola now for a whole week for breakfast and sometimes brunch. It’s extra special with fruit compote. I will remember to make it myself next year but I don’t think I will be able to wait till then.
Well I sincerely hope you make this as well as the maple granola, Mum as it's a little bit more luxurious over the festive season.
Will definitely make this for Christmas breakfasts. My daughter and I don't eat commercial breakfast cereals - even Weetabix is too sweet for us, and as for chocolate-coated/stuffed bizarre things.... Husband and son have slightly greater tolerance, but are at the natural end of the spectrum. Overnight cold-soaked oats/home made Bircher muesli for daughter and me. But as a treat I will definitely make this luxury mix - and will enjoy using my Dad's former company's product. In fact in the past he would have personally selected some of the oats. I have fond memories of going round farms with him in the summer holidays, as the harvest approached, standing in fields of oats or barley as he took samples and discussed the crop with the farmer. The barley of course was destined for whisky distilling!
Linda, what an honour to have you comment here, with your Dad having been at Hamlyn's from the start. What precious memories to have of him personally selecting your oats. Pleased as punch (or whisky?) that you'll be making this too!
Much as I love granola, I can't eat sugary foods in the morning. Your recipe is perfect! xo
We are exactly the same in the morning, Liz!
Christina | Christina's Cucina
I just shared this on Facebook, Jill! You are so right about the sugar, and it's a lesson most of this country (USA) could really use! There is sugar in things that I can't even imagine putting sugar in (sugar added to beetroot, which are actually used to MAKE sugar because they are so sweet)! It's crazy because it's not an ingredient that we should be increasing in our diets.
If I'm making a US recipe I've never made before, I always cut the sugar. I usually end up cutting it even more if I make it again. This recipe would be perfect as it does have a lot of sweet fruit which adds the sweetness that's needed, instead of starting the day with a bowl full of sugar! Would make a lovely gift just as you've presented it in your photo! Nice job!
Well I'm glad we still think the same, Christina. Spot on. I'm amazed at the number of British celebrity chefs who put way too much sugar in their recipes, too. That's one of the main reasons why I love to bake at home, because we can control the sugar content!