Crunchy, Chewy and Super Healthy Granola with Protein Granola Bars to Match! + Simple Smoothie Bowl

Updated: May 14, 2020

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

For me, the perfect homemade granola shouldn't be a strict recipe ruled by scales and numbers. Everyone's preferences will be different. Everyone's available ingredients will be different. It's also the perfect opportunity to be creative in the kitchen, trusting your instincts and intuition to create your perfect granola. Making your own granola also means you can ditch the heaps of refined sugar that you find in their supermarket counterpart.

And while you're at it, why not make protein granola bars to match? Using just four additional ingredients you can turn your granola mix into crunchy high protein bars, convenient to grab pre/post-workout or on the go for a kick of energy. With the addition of peanut butter, protein powder

and coconut oil you're left with the perfect balance of fast and slow-digesting carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. If that wasn't enough already! Hang on until the end for my protein smoothie bowl recipe, the ideal accompaniment for your freshly made granola.

Be sure to share your creations with me on Instagram: @bensmithlive

All great granolas should have three things: Crunch, chewiness and sweetness. For some, there's an additional fourth, bitterness, but we'll get to that. So, where do you get these from?

Crunch: Rolled oats, quinoa, puffed rice, nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, etc.) ...

Chewiness: Dried fruit (goji berry, cranberry, cherry, blueberry etc.), raisins or sultunas, coconut flakes...

Sweetness: Grade A Maple Syrup and/or honey.

A few of these ingredients are staples, the rest is open to interpretation. This is the perfect opportunity to have a dig through your store cupboard and find those nuts and seeds going dormant. Just don't forget to add some chew. You can also add some cocoa nibs once the granola has cooled - it may get a little messy if it's still hot though!

Here's an example of a granola I made, simply add or subtract based on what you have:

For a large batch, as shown in the image...

200g honey

500g oats

250g quinoa (I like 2:1, oat:quinoa)

A sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and almonds until it looks like the desired ratio

A good splash of grade A maple syrup

A crack of salt

A sprinkle of cinnamon

A good handful of raisins, goji berries and cocoa nibs

Additional ingredients for protein bars:

1 heaped scoop protein powder - I used MyProtein chocolate whey.

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tbsp nut butter - I used peanut.

A splash of your choice of milk, I used almond - Roughly 70ml

For the granola:

1) Preheat oven to 160°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.

2) Bring honey to the boil in a pan and set aside.

3) Add oats, quinoa, nuts and seeds (your crunch) into a large mixing bowl.

4) Add honey, a good splash of maple syrup (your sweetness), cinnamon and a crack of salt (this allows the granola to dry in the oven) to the bowl.

5) Mix ingredients until fully combined and even, with or without clumps depending on your preference - I'm a clump fan myself.

6) Set aside 150g of the mixture if you'll be making protein bars.

7) Lay the (remaining) mixture evenly on the baking tray and bake for 10-30 minutes, gently turning throughout - This time will depend on the sizer of your batch and your preference.

8) Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

9) Sprinkle the raisins, goji berries (your chewy element) and cocoa nibs over the cooled granola - The chewy element is added after cooking as ingredients may toughen in the oven.

10) Store in a tin or jar of choice.

If you like your granola with a slightly bitter crunch, as I sometimes do, you can slightly increase the oven temperature (up to 180°C) - The cooking time will be shorter in this case.

For the granola protein bars:

1) Line an 8x4 loaf tin with baking paper.

2) Add protein powder to a medium-size mixing bowl.

3) Add enough milk to make a slightly runny mixture, as shown. How much will depend on the protein powder you use, the more liquid you add the softer the bars - I used 70ml

4) Add coconut oil and peanut butter to the bowl and mix until combined.

5) Add the granola mixture that you set aside into the bowl (150g) and mix until combined - Optionally add the chewy elements that you would sprinkle over the granola.

6) Lay the mixture evenly into the loaf tin and press down. This can be tricky and a little sticky, use your hands or the back of a tablespoon.

7) Bake until golden around the edges, 15 minutes or so.

8) Remove from the oven and cut into bars using a sharp knife while still soft.

9) Leave to cool and enjoy!

Store the bars in a cool space or the fridge, fresh for up to a week. Granola bars keep for longer if stored in clingfilm/sandwich bags in the fridge.

Finally, for a quick smoothie bowl:

1) Blend 1-2 scoop(s) protein powder, 170g frozen berries, 200ml milk of choice until smooth.

[Add any additional ingredients like maca powder, cocoa powder, coconut oil, etc.]

2) Top with your fresh granola and preferred toppings, I went for banana, peanut butter, a sprinkle of chia seeds and a couple of rice cakes to scoop with!

Be sure to share your creations with me on Instagram: @bensmithlive