Granola Nuts

Granola Nuts | Big Girls Small Kitchen

Last weekend, I ran around the field hockey turf at my high school, more than a decade after I first made varsity, in a last-minute alumnae game. Then all last week, I drove around northern California, visiting farms and other food producers. The common thread between the sporting life and the road trip? Hunger. And: its solution.

When we played field hockey in high school, snacks were never far away. Practice started with a granola bar, and games ended with orange slices and donuts. Likewise, before we set out on the road each day last week, I made sure the car was loaded with both gas and food. On the best day, we had cheese rolls and longan in the backseat, but at the minimum there were granola bars.

Granola bars: were they everywhere when you were growing up too? They served a purpose back at a time when I played field hockey daily, but as an adult desk-sitter, I mostly avoid the extra calories. When I snack, I skip the sugar and oats and go straight for the granola bar’s powerhouse ingredients, the nuts. Cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts: these are what pick me up when my blood sugar wanes and dinner’s still far away. 

But what if we put back in just a little of the granola bar, cross-pollinating granola and walnuts. Would we get granoluts? GraNUTola? Granola nuts? Whatever you name them, that’s where my mind soon went, to a recipe that combined the most nutritionally dense part of the granola bar with a little bit of what makes good granola so yummy. The proportion is key here; instead of appearing every now and then, the walnuts and almonds anchor every bite, and the addictive, salty-sweet olive oil-maple granola coats them.

Eat these for a filling snack that’s not as sweet or carb-y as a whole granola bar, or use them to top your oatmeal. My next move is to repurpose them as croutons on a butternut squash salad salad like this one.

Do you snack? What’s your favorite–salty or sweet?


Granola Nuts
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

You can use any combination of raw, unsalted nuts. I especially like how the granola sticks to walnuts and pecans.

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg white, beaten
½ teaspoon chia seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300°F. If your oven runs even the slightest bit hot, turn it down to 290°F.

Combine the oats, nuts, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the maple syrup and olive oil, and toss to moisten all.

In a small bowl, whip the egg white until very foamy, about 1 minute. Add to the nut mix and fold together, then spread the mixture in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. You want to cluster everything together to make sure the oats land on the nuts. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the nuts over every 10 minutes, then pressing them back together. When the mixture is quite dry, remove from the oven. Sprinkle with the chia seeds, then let cool completely on the sheets before breaking up into large pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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Posted in: Single Serving
  • Warm Vanilla Sugar

    These look like such a dangerous snack in the best possible way! Yum!

  • Millie l Add A Little

    This is a fantastic and super tasty snack idea Cara!

  • Lilai

    I made these with a few nuts adjustment and it is exactly what I was looking for to sprinkle on my morning porridge, yum ^^

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