This past week I visited a place that is very green and in a gulch. Off the grid. I emptied my mind of all extraneous thoughts, breathed the cleanest air my lungs had seen in quite some time, and listened to a constantly changing orchestra of birds, frogs, water rushing along a stream, and branches rustling in the wind. It was a good week.
While I was there, I became especially fond of the homemade granola stocked in the guesthouse kitchen. It was simple and perfectly balanced, lightly sweet. I thought by the time I got home I would be done with granola for a while, but to my surprise on my first morning back in New York I was already hankering for more of the stuff. So I whipped up a batch of my own, flavored with lemon zest and cardamom, and bound together with maple syrup and olive oil, and baked it until deeply golden brown and crunchy. It’s an uncomplicated granola, just oats, almonds, and seeds; I didn’t even add any dried fruit. Not too sweet, and lightly lemony. Tasty with whole milk, or yogurt, or all by itself.
lemon cardamom granola
This recipe makes 1 baking sheet’s worth of granola – about 4 cups – but you can easily double or triple the amounts shown to make a bigger batch.
2-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds)
3 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp fine grained sea salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup maple syrup (I used grade B)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
Heat oven to 350 F.
Stir together the oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, and salt in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon zest, and cardamom, until well combined.
Pour liquid mixture into oat mixture and toss to evenly coat the solids. Transfer to a baking sheet, distributing the mixture evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the granola is golden brown.
Let the granola cool before transferring to an air-tight container. Will keep about a month covered at room temperature, it also freezes well.