Perfectly crunchy, chewy homemade granola with olive oil, tahini, walnuts and dried fruit. This easy granola recipe with a Mediterranean twist is loaded with flavor and nutrition. Be sure to read through my tips for how to make it!
If you're anything like me, you have probably tried a variety of store-bought granola before you discovered that homemade granola is way better, not to mention cheaper! To me, the perfect granola recipe is:
- Fresh and has an element of richness not found in the dried-up ready bags
- Crunchy with just the right amount of chew
- Strikes the right balance of sweet and savory in every bite
- Has the right amount of fun add-ons in the form of nuts, dried fruit etc...
My friends, this recipe with my Mediterranean twist delivers on all the above! And I love it as a snack or for breakfast with milk, Greek yogurt, or...maybe even with a couple tablespoons of Labneh.
Granola with a Mediterranean twist
If you take a glance at the list of ingredients, you'll find this recipe starts with the usual old fashioned oats + a handful of nuts (walnuts and pistachios) and seeds (in this case, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds). But what truly sets it apart from your average healthy homemade granola and takes it to next-level delicious are two very Mediterranean ingredients: extra virgin olive oil and tahini paste (a super creamy, rich vegan paste made by finely grinding roasted sesame seeds until buttery smooth).
Not only do the EVOO and tahini infuse the oats with nutrition and deep, nutty flavor, but they also lend an extra layer of richness that helps the granola strike the perfect balance of crunchy and chewy!
For sweetness, I mainly relied on honey and Medjool dates, which are added once the granola is baked (I do pit and chop the dates into smaller pieces). It is totally optional to add spices to your granola, but I like a little pinch of cinnamon and cardamom.
How to make granola from scratch?
Some of us are more visual, so let's walk through this easy recipe step-by-step (scroll down for the print-friendly version with ingredient list):
- Combine the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, toss together your oats, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seed, and sesame seeds, and coconut flakes
- Combine wet ingredients + spices
In another bowl, whisk together the honey (it helps to warm up the honey so it's nice and runny), tahini, olive oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.
- Mix wet and dry ingredients well
Pour the wet olive oil and tahini mixture over the dry oat mixture and toss until the oat mixture is well-coated
- Spread the granola flat on a sheet pan
Make sure to use a large enough sheet pan that allows you to spread the granola in a single even layer
- Bake at 350 degrees F
It will take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to bake (mine took closer to 45 minutes). Make sure to stir the granola every 7 to 10 minutes or so to prevent burning, the outer edges will need to be pushed to the center occasionally
- Let cool then add dried fruit
Pull the sheet pan out and set it aside until the granola has completely cooled off. At this point, you can break it up into chunks and mix in your dried fruits (I used ½ cup chopped Medjool dates and ½ cup dried cranberries)
Tips for the best crunchy homemade granola
Making granola is fairly straightforward but here are a few tips that can make all the difference in texture and flavor:
- Use a lower-temperature oven. I set mine to 350 degrees F, which will allow the granola to toast nicely without over-baking
- Use a large sheet pan and make sure to spread the oats mixture in one single layer directly on the pan. I do not use parchment paper, I know it's easier for clean up purposes but it does not produce the same results in terms of crunch
- Check the granola every few minutes during the baking time and stir to avoid burning. The granola around the edges should be pushed toward the center once in a while
- Take it out of the oven when it looks lightly toasted. Remember granola will still look somewhat sticky when it comes out of the oven, it won't be fully dry yet.
- Let it cool completely. Once you take it out of the oven, allow the granola to sit in the sheet pan completely undisturbed until it has cooled. At this point, you can use a wooden spoon to break it up into chunks. This is also when you can add your dried fruit.
How to store it
Once fully cooled, transfer the homemade granola to an airtight jar or container. It should be good for up to 2 weeks.
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Homemade Granola Recipe with Olive Oil and Tahini
- 2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup shelled pistachios
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ½ cup sunflower seed
- 3 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ¾ cup honey warmed up so it’s runny
- ⅔ cup tahini
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ cup chopped Medjool dates (about 6 dates, pitted and chopped)
- ½ cup dry cranberries or cherries
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Combine the oats, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seed, and sesame seeds, and coconut flakes in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the honey, tahini, olive oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom. Pour over the oat mixture and toss until the oat mixture is well-coated.
- Spread the mixture on a large sheet pan in one single layer. Bake in the heated oven, stirring every 7 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is golden and well-toasted (anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes)
- Remove from the heat and allow the granola to cool completely. Break it up into clusters and mix in the dates and cranberries (or other dried fruits of your choice).