Breakfast

Cranberry Pecan Granola with Orange Zest

This cranberry pecan granola is no exception to the rule that homemade is the best kind of granola! The oats are crunchy, you can control the sugar content, and experimenting with different ratios and flavors is all your own prerogative.

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SKIP TO RECIPE

Tray of cranberry pecan granola taken fresh from the oven.
Fresh from the oven

The smell of this granola is intoxicating as many of my housemates will attest. It all starts with the chopped pecans, then add in the cinnamon and finally the orange zest. Pop it in the oven, and it only gets better. By the time you take the tray out of the oven, your entire house/apartment/boat will be enveloped in the aroma of a warm oatmeal cookie. Mix in some cranberries, and you get a bit of autumn all year round—rain, shine, fog, or snow.

Cranberry pecan granola for a healthy breakfast

If you pick out the right oats, you have a gluten-free breakfast. Because oats are often processed in the same facilities that process wheat, you run the risk of cross contamination, so check your labels closely and do your research. You could also try a paleo version of granola by adding almonds and walnuts in place of the oats. I called this “nut-ola” back in my old grain-free days and highly recommend it if you want to go that route. Just check on the oven frequently to make sure the nuts don’t burn.

Once you are ready to eat, add kefir or Greek yogurt, and your bowl is jam-packed with whole grains, fiber (approximately 3–5 grams), and protein (approximately 20–25 grams). Serve with fresh fruit such as berries and bananas for a full belly all morning long. I’ve talked positively about overnight oats before, but nothing is more satisfying than the crunchy yet chewy tartness/sweetness of this cranberry pecan granola.

A spoon next to a bowl of cranberry pecan granola, strawberries, sliced bananas, and kefir
Granola with kefir, strawberries, and banana
A spoon next to a bowl of cranberry pecan granola, chopped strawberries, and kefir
Granola with chopped strawberries and kefir

SKIP TO RECIPE

A note on the ingredients

I use sprouted pumpkin seeds, but you can use whatever you like. My sunflower seeds are raw as well as my pecans. The honey in this recipe may be too generous an amount for your taste, so adjust accordingly. Raw and unfiltered honey tends to be sweeter than the more processed stuff. For oil, you can use grapeseed oil or any neutral oil you got, such as sunflower, avocado, safflower, or canola. Or, if you don’t mind the subtle taste and scent, use coconut oil or a light olive oil.

Mixing bowl with all the ingredients for cranberry pecan granola. A rubber spatula is positioned to stir.
All the ingredients for the cranberry pecan granola ready for mixing together

Get a large orange to maximize the amount of zest for that burst of orange tang that is also taken up a notch with the orange and vanilla extracts. Finally, if you can find unsweetened dried cranberries, they would be best to avoid too much sweetness. You can also use dried tart cherries for a similar flavor profile. Just make sure to add them only after the granola is baked—I made the mistake of putting them in with everything else and ended up with “rocks” in my breakfast bowl.

Tools and methods for making this granola

Hands mixing the granola in a bowl
Mix it with a fork … and your fingers.

For chopping most nuts, I use a food chopper, but pecans tend to be quite easy to crumble with just the fingertips, so I recommend that method to cut back on the dishwashing. I have a zester like this one to get the zest off my orange, but you can also use a vegetable peeler and paring knife—just peel off strips, slice into thinner strips, and mince.

Use a fork and your fingers to mix the honey up good, or whisk the oil and honey together before adding them to the granola. I don’t normally use the latter method because I’m lazy to get more dishes dirty, but feel free to try it out and see if it’s easier!

I used to use aluminum foil to spread the granola out on the baking sheet, but I finally got myself some silicone baking mats from Amazon Basics (cheap!) that clean up nicely. You can use aluminum foil or just go bare, but the granola may stick to the pan a little depending on how much honey you use.

I hope you enjoy this cranberry pecan granola as much as I do each and every morning!

SKIP TO RECIPE

Meal prep options

Granola itself is meal prep for breakfast, so you’re all set.

Just a note

Check out the video for this recipe!

Make this …

Vegetarian: It already is!
Paleo: Substitute the oats with any combo of almonds, walnuts, and more pecans.
Gluten-free: Make sure your oats are free of cross contamination.
Non-dairy: Have it with soy or coconut yogurt.


Shopping list

Produce

1 large orange

Nuts and Seeds

raw pecans
raw pumpkin seeds
raw sunflower seeds

Baking and Spices

honey
grapeseed oil
vanilla extract
orange extract
cinnamon
salt
dried cranberries

Grains

rolled oats

Tools

food chopper (optional)
zester
large mixing bowl
fork
large baking sheet
foil or silicone baking mat
rubber spatula
large spatula

Cranberry Pecan Granola with Orange Zest

Serves: 6
Total time: 1 hour

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients and preparation

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup pecans: Chop
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 orange: Wash and zest
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
  2. Mix everything except the cranberries together in a large mixing bowl, using a fork to break up the honey.
  3. Cover the baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat. Pour the granola in one layer onto the baking sheet, and bake it in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove the granola from the oven, and let it cool before mixing in the cranberries.

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