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Recipe updated 6/22/16
This granola was a surprise.
I mean, I’ve seen some interesting ingredients turned into marvelously yummy food (like cauliflower cake or cottage cheese ice cream), but I didn’t expect leftover oatmeal to turn into perfectly crunchy granola. Especially when my previous granola experiments were less than spectacular – and they used normal ingredients.
But thankfully I was super surprised and super impressed. And so was my mom (who is a
lot little pickier than I am)…so much so that the next time she made oatmeal, she made extra. On purpose. So she would have leftovers to make this granola. We eat oatmeal quite often as a family, so if we have leftovers, we just freeze them until I decide to do something strange with them. Although now that I have this granola recipe, I have a feeling that the oatmeal leftovers won’t stay in the bottom of the freezer quite so long as before. Not only is this granola great-tasting, but it’s super easy and only takes a few ingredients.
This recipe also takes some leftover cooked brown rice because I had some on hand and decided to throw it in. I like the texture it gives, but I’m sure you could just use more oatmeal.
The problem I had with trying to make granola before was that I couldn’t add a lot of fat to it (because combining carbs and fats is not weight loss friendly, as per Trim Healthy Mama) and I also couldn’t add a sticky substance like honey (because it spikes blood sugar). So there was none of that syrupy-ness that normal granola uses to give it its crunch and flavor. Enter cooked oatmeal. Cooked oatmeal has amazing properties when cooled and acts as a perfect binder!
One of my favorite cold cereals (well, I don’t eat it any more because it’s not good for me) is those Quaker Oatmeal Squares. They come in flavors like cinnamon and brown sugar, and they’re not super sweet. Not ever really being a fan of sugary cereal, that’s a good thing in my book. This granola reminds me so much of those oatmeal squares – same taste, same sweetness, same texture. This granola is crunchy, but it softens nicely in unsweetened almond milk. It doesn’t get soggy, though! It’s just perfect, and I’m still kind of amazed that the leftover oatmeal idea worked. It was pretty much a shot in the dark.
You can always add more flavor and sweetener if desired. Feel free to change up flavors by adding different extracts or spices. What I give you here is just a basic generic cinnamon and maple tinted cereal that is great for eating plain, on yogurt, or in some unsweetened almond milk (my personal preference).
I used our Excalibur dehydrator to make this granola, and it worked great. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you could try making this in your oven. I would try 300 degrees F, flipping the granola occasionally. Get it out when it’s dry and crispy. (Update: one reader, Stacy Runner, reported back that she baked this granola in the oven at 350 degrees for about 2 hours.) (Update update: I tested this granola in the oven myself; you can find info in the recipe below.)
Trim Healthy Mamas, this granola is an E. I would stick to one cup of granola as the carb source in an E meal. Keep your other carbs to a minimum and add some protein, like low fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, on the side.
Question of the day: have you ever had Quaker Oatmeal Squares? Do you like them?
You can find this recipe in my cookbook, Necessary Food.
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 T THM Super Sweet Blend
- 1 T cinnamon
- 2 tsp. maple flavoring
- ¾ tsp. salt*
- 6 doonks THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder (a doonk is 1/32 tsp.)
- 7 cups leftover cooked oatmeal made from old fashioned oats, cooled (thawed if frozen) - use gluten free oats if necessary (my oatmeal was salted)
- 2 cups leftover cooked brown rice, cooled (thawed if frozen) - make sure the rice is certified gluten free if gluten is an issue - short grain brown rice that is well cooked and completely soft works best here. I do not suggest using instant brown rice as it doesn't soften up nearly as well. My rice was unsalted.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first set of ingredients. Add the oatmeal and brown rice and knead the whole mess together with your hands until everything is distributed evenly.
- Spread the mixture equally onto 2 dehydrator trays (ideally using a nonstick liner provided with the dehydrator) and smooth it out so it's fairly thin. Dehydrate it until crispy. I set it at 135 degrees F for 6 hours, then down to 115 degrees F for another 8 hours (overnight). Flip the sheets of granola over half-way through dehydration.
- If you don't have a dehydrator, you can make this in the oven. I spread it out onto two greased cookie sheets using my hands (it will be like 2 thin sheets of baked oatmeal, basically). I would bake it at 350 degrees until crispy, flipping the granola and switching the pans between the top and bottom oven racks every 30 minutes. At some point in the process, break the granola into pieces so it can dry out faster. When I tested this, I put it in the oven for an hour at 300 degrees, 45 minutes at 350 degrees, turned the oven off and cracked the door open while I went to my church's vacation Bible school, then came back 3 hours later and baked at 350 degrees again for a little over an hour. 350 degrees until dry and crispy should do the trick...haha. Let it set out on the counter overnight to cool and dry out some more. It's really not an exact science. Some of the granola will probably still be slightly chewy in the middle if making this in the oven (the dehydrator does a better job about sucking the moisture out), so if you make this in the oven, store the finished product in the refrigerator.
- You could also try baking this at a lower temperature, like 175 degrees, for a longer period of time. Low and slow will probably give you a more evenly crispy result. All depends on how much time you have.
- When the granola is done, the easiest way to break it up into pieces is to put it into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag and smash it with a rolling pin. If you made the granola in a dehydrator, you can store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature. If you made it in the oven, I recommend keeping it in the fridge. Yields 7 cups (7 servings).
Feel free to add more flavorings/spices/sweetener to customize this to your own personal tastes!
- THM Pure Stevia Extract Powder and Super Sweet Blend can be purchased from the Trim Healthy Mama online store.
- I used our Excalibur dehydrator to make this granola. It works great and is oh-so-easy!