Low Fat Granola Clusters with Almonds, Coconut and Strawberries


Granola with strawberries

Whole Grain Goodness

“The stove was warming, with orange light showing around the lids and the soft thunder of drafty flame leaping past the open damper. The kitchen clock flashed its pendulum behind its glass skirt, and it ticked like a little wooden hammer striking on an empty wooden box.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Fabric strawberries


Granola with fresh fruit is a terrific way to begin the day. Whole grain goodness to power through the morning with hints of sweetness to wake our sleepy minds. Add just enough seasonal fresh fruit and we are seduced into a moment of daydreaming before we begin our day. Granola with quality ingredients can be made at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought and perhaps best of all it requires no prep time on busy mornings. A batch can quickly be made on the weekend and it will last through a week of breakfasts for a family.

So many recipes for granola can equal so much disappointment. Granola that is too sweet or greasy, with entirely too many calories to be considered anything but a robust whole grain dessert masquerading as breakfast. I want whole grain goodness for an everyday breakfast without the guilt of starting the day with too many calories. I’m saving those for actual dessert. This is a granola to make on the weekend and eat on Monday and Tuesday with whatever seasonal fresh fruit is available from the weekend shopping. By Wednesday the fresh fruit has been devoured and I boldly suggest freeze dried berries as a delectable second choice. Freeze dried berries have the intense flavor we crave without the heaviness of dried fruit. The tradition of loads of dried fruit in granola amps up the calories and sugar content. Here is a tasty and low-fat alternative.

Strawberry Jars


Strawberry Jars

I started with this excellent recipe and made a few changes for crisper, firmer clusters. I like my granola to stay clumped in glossy clusters that only fall apart after a nice long soak in a bowl of milk. Three ingredients in the recipe guarantee this outcome. The addition of egg whites, a scoop of quick-cooking oats and the amazing power of just the smallest amount of malted milk powder. Agave syrup is my sweetener of choice for granola. It has a neutral taste that lets the whole grain goodness shine. A boost in flavor that traditional dried fruit brings to granola is replaced with just a whisper of molasses. The soft mellow smoothness of coconut oil pairs nicely with the toasted coconut flakes but a fruity olive oil would be marvelous. Dried fruit is omitted entirely but it can be added after the granola has finished baking. Cherries, apricots and figs all would pair nicely with the structure of oats, almonds and coconut.

A few ideas for the busy week ahead: The night before, make a yogurt parfait with seasonal fruit and granola for a fancy breakfast to grab and go. Plan ahead, add a few pieces of dried fruit and fill a small bag of granola for a crunchy afternoon snack. Sprinkle the granola crumbles and stray coconut flakes on top of a kale salad. If there are strawberries left, add them to the salad too.

3-1/2C old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2C quick cooking oats
1-1/2C sliced almonds
2T sesame seeds
2T malted milk powder
1-1/2t fine grain sea salt
1/4C coconut oil
1/2C agave syrup
2T molasses
2t almond extract
2 egg whites
1-1/2C dried coconut flakes or shavings, unsweetened
1.2oz/1pkg freeze dried strawberries
1basket fresh strawberries
  1. Heat oven to 300°. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl mix together both of the oats, almonds, sesame seeds, malted milk powder and salt. In a small saucepan warm the coconut oil, agave and molasses. Mix to combine and stir in the almond extract. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and throughly mix together. In a small bowl beat the egg whites until frothy and then add them to the mixture in the large bowl. Mix until all the oats are covered and no longer dry. Mix a few more times to make sure the entire batch of granola is coated with the egg whites. The mixture will seem too wet but will bake into a nice big, crisp sheet of granola. Scrape out the entire contents of the bowl and spread the mixture evenly across the surface of the sheet pan, pressing down with a rubber spatula. For an even thickness, push the granola out from the middle of the pan to the edges. The edges cook more quickly, make sure they are the same thickness as the granola in the center of the sheet pan.
  3. Bake for a total of 35-40 minutes. Rotate the pan after 20 minutes for even baking. After baking for a total of 30 minutes spread the coconut evenly across the top of the granola. Return to the oven to bake for another 5-10 minutes. When the coconut and granola are toasty brown and smell scrumptious remove the pan from the oven. Let the granola cool completely and then break into clumps and add the freeze dried strawberries. Or serve with fresh, juicy, sweet strawberries and milk.

Strawberry granola jars

Low Fat Granola Clusters with Almonds, Coconut and Strawberries

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37 Responses to Low Fat Granola Clusters with Almonds, Coconut and Strawberries

  1. Carol Sacks says:

    So many smart ideas in this post and recipe. I love your approach! Pretty photos, too!

  2. Gorgeous granola, I am all about the clusters too. Thanks for the malted milk powder tip – I will be adding that to my next batch!

  3. Deb: I LOVE granola!!! This one of yours — with coconut, strawberries and almonds– is a must-try. What a wholesome, full of goodness cereal! I am looking forward to try this recipe.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the wonderful comment Denise! Let me know how you like the granola if you get a chance to try to the recipe.

  4. I like my granola in clumpy clusters, too, and this recipe looks like just the ticket! Thanks for sharing, Deb.

  5. Fantastic recipe – brimming with all sorts of yummy ingredients. I love the addition of dried strawberries and am right there with you with the coconut oil. I’ll be sure to try agave next time I make a batch.

  6. Gerlinde says:

    That granola looks fantastic. I like to have a some for breakfast tomorrow.

  7. Deb, I have been into eating granola of late and now I can add one more recipe to my list. The addition of malt is clever and must add a unique note to the granola. I especially appreciate the suggestion of using freeze-dried fruit, something so convenient to keep on hand.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for the lovely comment Mary! The amount of malted milk power is so small we really couldn’t taste it. It acts as one of the binders in the recipe to make a crisp sheet of granola.

  8. shannon says:

    looks delicious, Deb! and incredibly satisfying: i love fresh fruit and granola for breakfast in the summer months, especially when it’s light and crisp.

  9. Patty says:

    Beautiful granola with strawberries-one of my favorite combinations for breakfast-love to make granola and will have to try your recipe Deb!

  10. What Carol said and more proof that we need to cook together and eat together. I so agree w you about granola. I love your ideas for the extra crunch and as usual your photos make me swoon – that’s all!!

  11. Deena kakaya says:

    Your granola bites look so golden and crisp, perfect for a refreshing start to the day, and I love that picture! X

  12. Ala says:

    DEB. I. Love. Your. Blog! I rarely say this right off the bat, but I am totally in love with everything, and when I saw your follow on Twitter I clicked over not even knowing what a whirlwind of awe I’d flutter into. As an English major (I’m in an English PhD program), I love the idea of a literary-based blog that totally embraces the connection between our love for books and food. I’m also heavily, platonically, non-creepily in love with your format and the elegant way you describe the entire granola process–this is no ordinary recipe! I’ll be looking forward to lots of recipes and again am so, so glad you found me through Twitter, otherwise I would’ve never found your gem of a blog. Cheers, Deb, and I’m looking forward to seeing you around the blogosphere! <3

    • Deb says:

      Oh Ala! Your gorgeous comment has lifted my blogging spirits! I am pleased we connected and also look forward to sharing food stories with you.

  13. Deb, I am so craving this granola right now – and it’s far from breakfast! I’ve been hankering for homemade granola lately to avoid the sneakily unhealthy versions on the store shelves. I appreciate your essential tips above – I will most definitely be putting them to use when I make this. Love the flavors!!

  14. Joyti says:

    Ah, this looks delicious. And yes, granola is a just about perfect way to begin your day. But I often make an afternoon snack of granola, fruit, and yogurt too 🙂

  15. Valentina says:

    Granola is at the tippy-top of my favorite food list, and this one looks wonderful. I love the addition of the molasses!

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  17. Great granola tips for those new to making their own, and old hands (emphasis on old!) like myself. I have an unchristened dehydrator that I must unbox and use. Wild strawberries for granola needs to be top of the list!

  18. I love granola clusters too. I like how you’ve lightened it up. Sounds like a great recipe. I’ll have to try it soon.

  19. You’re so right about everything you say about granola Deb, especially the fattening part! A healthier recipe with wild strawberries sounds like a perfect breakfast to me. And clumps are probably my favorite part of homemade granola! And why is it so expensive when you buy it?? Never understood that.

    • Deb says:

      So good to hear from you Paula! I couldn’t agree more about the price of store bought granola! Makes me wonder why the name brand breakfast cereal is so expensive…….

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