Pumpkin Seed Granola

Although there are lots of commercial granolas available, they are all quite high in fat. This homemade granola is low in fat, and the fat it does contain is primarily healthful monounsaturated fat. The roasted pumpkin seeds in the granola are packed with fiber and minerals as well as alpha-linolenic acid, a type of fat that may help prevent hardening of the arteries. You’ll also benefit from the rolled oats, which are a top source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. And regardless of which type of dried fruit you use, it will supply important nutrients and fiber, as well as some potentially healthful phytochemicals.

5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups dried cherries or dried cranberries

1 Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, toss together the oats, pumpkin seeds, and wheat germ. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and bake until lightly crisped and browned, about 30 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, apple juice concentrate, brown sugar, and oil. Stir over medium heat until the brown sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
3 After the oat mixture has baked 30 minutes, pour the maple mixture over the oat mixture and stir well to coat. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Return the granola to the oven and bake until no longer wet, about 20 minutes.
4 Break up the clumps of granola with a spoon and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, add the cherries, and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container. Makes 8 cups

Makes Makes 8 cups

Per serving: 212 calories, 5.5g total fat (1g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 3.9g dietary fiber, 34g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 95mg sodium.