Lemon Granola

I have been spoiled by good roommates.  There have been seven all together, and we’ve shared adventures, crises, shenanigans, and who knows how many meals cross-legged on the couch.  Over the years, we’ve also shared a number of moves.  Some of the lessons I’ve learned from moving: I have more houseplants than most people; Award-winning Naval Reservists make for very organized movers;  and Always start a move with a good breakfast.

This weekend, my most recent roommate Ciara moved to a new apartment across town, so Dave and I came by to help.  I made this granola the night before to give us a solid start – hearty, healthy, and good for the long haul.  (As it happened, we ended up sleeping late and ate bagels on the go instead, but the granola made a very nice post-move, healthy late-night snack; Ciara fed us such a substantial thank-you lunch that it carried us right through dinner.)

I owe my granola-making to Catherine, another former roommate.  When I was in undergrad, my housemates and I would pitch for the nuts and Catherine would make a massive batch of granola for the entire house – did I mention that I’ve been spoiled?  While I’ve tried a few different granola recipes in my search to find one as good as Catherine’s, I’ve settled on this lemon granola from a cookbook that Mike (also former roommate) recommended on a visit to Ottawa a few years back.

The original recipe calls for dried blueberries, which are definitely delicious but also expensive and sometimes hard to find.  I usually use raisins instead, or fresh blueberries or strawberries when they’re on sale.  The only things you really need for this granola are the oats, some nuts, and the honey; everything else is a perk and workable around what you have in your kitchen at the time.  It also works well with additions like flax seed & wheat bran, or substitutions like orange zest instead of lemon.  I eat it over yogurt; Dave eats it under soy milk; it makes a passable apple crumble topping, too.

Lemon Granola

adapted from 12 Best Foods Cookbook


4 cups old fashioned (large flake) oats
2 cups nuts, chopped (almonds, walnuts, etc)
1/3-1/2 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
dash of cardamom
1/3-1/2 cup honey
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dried fruit or fresh berries


1.  In a large pan over medium heat, cook the nuts, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes; they will start to darken in colour.  Add oats; continue stirring occasionally for another 3 minutes.  Add sesame seeds & coconut; continue stirring occasionally for another 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

2.  Sprinkle lemon zest & cardamom over oat mixture.  Drizzle all with honey and stir until evenly coated.  (If the mixture appears dry, add more honey.)

3.  Scrape granola onto a baking sheet.  Bake for 4 minutes at 350 degrees; remove from oven and stir to redistribute the granola.  Return to oven and repeat, baking for 4 minute intervals and removing to stir, until granola is golden-brown (about 12-18 minutes).  Allow to cool on the pan.

4.  When cool, transfer to a container and add dried fruit (if using).

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