retreat-worthy food: granola

I just finished cooking for 21 students at a weekend meditation silent retreat that was led by my yoga teacher, Jonathan Austman!  It was a great honour to nourish people as they dedicated themselves to their practice.  All the food was vegetarian (actually it was mostly vegan), and made according to Ayurvedic principles.  Some students may or may not have broken silence to tell me how good the food was…all I can say is that I have very good recipes to work from!  Over the next few weeks I will post recipes that I used, as requested by those who attended.  Enjoy!


This granola recipe is based off of the one in The Complete Tassajara Cookbook by Edward Espe Brown.  Tassajara Zen Mountain Centre is a retreat centre in California, where the author was the head cook from 1967 to 1970.  It is probably the most delicious granola recipe I’ve come across: it is light, cooks evenly and consistently, and is really simple to make. Make a huge batch and save it in an air tight jar for a few weeks.  We served it with plain yoghurt and honey.


makes 12 servings

4-½ cups (400 g) rolled oats
1-½ cups (165 g) chopped almonds
3 cups (378 g) sunflower seeds
½ cup (98 g) vegetable oil
½ cup (132 g) brown rice syrup
½ cup (140 g) maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1-½ tbsp (12 g) cinnamon, ground
a few dashes of freshly grated nutmeg
1-½ tsp (4 g) salt
1 cup-ish of dried fruit (raisins, chopped apricots…)

Combine the oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds and spread onto a baking sheet.
Gently heat up the oil and syrups until it is watery.  Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla, spices and salt.
Pour the oil/syrup mixture over the oats and mix together (use your hands, it’s easier!) and then spread it out again evenly.  Bake at 325 F, for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until it is an appetizing roasty light-medium brown.  Let the granola cool and dry (I tend to leave the granola in the turned-off oven overnight to make sure it thoroughly dries) and then scatter over the dried fruit.

homemade granola

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