The Day-After Granola

[Congrats to those who ran the New York City Marathon today!]

Shaun and I were reminded last night why Tavola is the best restaurant in C’Ville. We had an incredible experience. The wait ended up only being about an hour, and although the place was packed we weren’t rushed at all. We enjoyed every last bite.

To begin, we shared a trio of bruschetta [tuna belly with olive pesto, white bean and speck, and caponata] and skillet-roasted mussels.* Then, pappardelle with pork ragu for Shaun, and capellini with shrimp, capers, roasted peppers and gorgonzola for me. The chef’s grandmother’s recipe. Oh my gosh. We finished our bottle of 2009 Nero d’Avola [Sicilian, but I dealt with it], closed with double espressos, and then I died. Ok, that’s a lie, but I am in authentic Italian cooking heaven.

Since we’re full of cheese, wine and carbs, I was compelled to spend part of this afternoon working on a wholesome project [our “reset” food]: homemade granola. I generally dislike store-bought granola. They’re all so calorie dense and filled with canola oil [even Whole Foods and Kashi brand have oil] and sugar. It makes me sad inside when my half-cup serving of cereal has almost 300 calories in it. It’s just not right. Anniversary dinners should put you in a calorie coma, not breakfast.

I started making my own granola last year, using little to no sugar and zero oil. The beauty of the bulk section at Whole Foods is that granola possibilities become endless. Start with rolled oats, pick a seed, a nut and a fruit – and you’ve got yourself a granola.

granola waiting to happen.

I think I’ve done an apple-berry, a chocolate peanut butter, and a lemon cranberry blend in the past. They might not turn out as crunchy as store-bought granolas, but they’re much healthier and way less sinful. Today’s combo is my favorite so far: pumpkin granola with chia, pecans, pumpkin seeds, raisins, and spices.

rolled oats...

pumpkin, pt. 1.


sweets and nuts.





the end.

The oven’s been off for a while now, but the kitchen still smells like pumpkin pie. PIE. I sampled a little [read: a lot] on a cup of vanilla yogurt, and this is definitely a fall must-have. Is it breakfast yet? I want to get gnarly on some oatmeal with this stuff.

Pumpkin Pecan Granola (Vegan, Vegetarian)

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 6-8 1/2 cup servings, more if served 1/4 cup at a time


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: oats, pecans, pumpkin/chia seeds, raisins, spices, sugars (if using). Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the water, syrup and pumpkin until well blended. Pour slowly over the dry ingredients and stir well until combined. The granola should be well-coated, but not soggy (you don’t have to use all of the liquid).

4. Spread the granola onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring with a spatula after 15. Granola should be golden-brown. If it smells like burning, you’ve left it in too long (I do this all the time).

As I said before, I sometimes eat fish. Tavola is one of those “sometimes,” because the staff can reliably tell me exactly where everything on my plate is coming from and how it got there.


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Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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2 Comments on “The Day-After Granola”

  1. November 7, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    That restaurant sounds FANTASTIC. I agree, breakfast should be enough to get you going. I always eat a tiny breakfast and then after an hour eat some fruit. I don’t understand how some people can eat like 600 calories as soon as they wake up. I think I would be sick.

    • November 7, 2011 at 8:48 am #

      Yeah, I usually have to eat within an hour or so of waking up (which is why I struggle with AM workouts so much), but I try to keep it under 500. I have to go the longest b/w breakfast and lunch on class days, so I usually try to get as much protein as possible. I just think my tiny bowl looks sad when you use store-bought granola.

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