When the first cold front drifts through and Fall sets in each year, I automatically retreat to hot beverages and warm spices. It’s like there’s this threshold inside me where, once cooler temperatures have commenced, my mind is consumed with cinnamon, ginger, orange, chai-spiced chamomile tea, apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and other foods which give me the inexplicable joy that is the essence of Fall.
That is also how I feel about this Holiday Harvest Granola recipe. I am pretty darn stoked about the way this granola turned out. Cinnamon, ginger, pecans, cranberries, orange zest, coconut flakes, and maple syrup are all wrapped up in one combination and the result is magic.
One obvious difference that stands out about this granola from others is it is grain-free. Yep, there are no oats in this granola! The reason I decided not to include them is I believe it’s more versatile this way and there are also fewer carbohydrates. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a firm believer in carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and unrefined foods, but there are times where I need a crunchy topping on my carbohydrate-rich foods that doesn’t include extra. Think oatmeal, cereal, ice cream, etcetera. And as far as versatility, the possibilities of what this granola can be added to are truly endless: oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, cereal, muesli, ice cream, pie, pancakes, EVEN salad!
With diet restrictions abounding these days, it’s also nice to have a few go-to recipes that fit most all restrictions and can be made for big occasions or as gifts to others. I’ve intentionally made this granola vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free for this reason. This recipe is intended to reduce the stress that often comes from planning food gifts or meals during the holidays because, let’s face it, there is enough stress during the holidays as it is!
- 2 cups pecan halves and pieces
- ½ cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- dash of ground nutmeg
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (F).
- To an 11x7 or 13x9-inch baking sheet with a 2-inch rim, add pecans, coconut flakes, orange zest, vanilla extract, oil, maple syrup, and salt. Stir everything with a spoon to combine.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg on top of granola ingredients and give it one more stir.
- Bake granola at 350 F for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice with a metal spoon to prevent burning.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes or until the granola hardens.
- Add dried cranberries and stir to combine.
- Store in a 1-quart mason jar.