Puffy Pimped Protein Faux-nola aka Low(er) Calorie Granola

For the record, I am just going to state a fact. Anyone who has received or made it, will attest to its accuracy: the best granola on the planet (the Coconut Chia Granola) ...hails from my friend Miss Beeks over at Beekeats. She is currently at CIA training to be a spy. Kidding! She's attending the highly-esteemed Culinary Institute of America, and will be getting into all sorts of trouble over there- go check her out, and by all means make her granola!

I heart granola. But as with nut butters, I don't heart the full-throttle calories, so sometimes I make lower calorie versions in addition to the real thing. I have also been known to make my own (less caloric and less tasty) Maple Nut Oaties created by the fabulous Heather, of HeatherEatsAlmondButter. For accuracy's sake I call them "NoOaties."

The following "granola" recipe has fewer calories and more protein than its more decadent versions. Yet it is sweet and crunchy and a very good facsimile for real granola. The secret is in the PUFFED BROWN RICE (and less oil and less syrup).

It clocks in at abo0t 90 calories and 4 g of protein per 1/4-cup. Most regular granola has anywhere from 140-240 calories PER QUARTER CUP. Sadly, this is the reason that I must consume granola as a garnish rather than a main course.

  • 4 cups Puffed Brown Rice cereal-plain, divided in half
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats (or any rolled grain)
  • 1/4 cup syrup of your choice (maple grade B, honey, molasses, etc...I don't think that sugar-free syrups will work sadly- you need the "sticky-ness" for the grains to crisp up)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil of your choice- I used almond
  • 1/3 cup water
  • few drops almond extract
  • few drops butter extract
  • few drops maple extract
  • 2 packets of stevia (or a few sprinkles to taste)
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I tend to use up the 'bad' ones that don't fluff up in shakes...waste not, want not!)
  • Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit
  • Combine 2 cups of the rice and all of the rolled oats in a large bowl (reserve 2 cups of the rice to the side.
  • On the stove, bring everything except the oats/rice and protein powder to a low boil for a couple of minutes- just to dissolve and heat
  • Add protein powder on very low heat and whisk to incorporate.
  • Pour liquid over the mixed grain mixture.
  • Stir very well to coat the grains (you'll hear the snap * crackle * pop of the rice...this is why you don't add all of the rice at don't want all of it shriveling up like the Wicked Witch of the West)
  • Pour everything out onto an oil-sprayed cookie sheet and put in the oven
  • Turn, scrape and stir mixture every 5-10 minutes
  • After about 10 minutes (when some of the original liquid is already absorbed), add the rest of the rice and continue to stir until well-coated.
  • Keep stirring until the granola is golden, 30 minutes or so.

Stir, scrape, stir (action shot-ya!)

Keep stirring & scraping

Just stir until your arm falls off.

The next photo demonstrates my lousy first attempt at photoshopping by using the "erase" function. Allie, my BFF/Frenemy/smoothie nemesis archrival/twin sister over at Pimp My Protein Shake ordered these adorable custom mailing stickers for me. (I heart stickers!!) Sooo sweet. But I didn't want the whole blogosphere to see my address. So I erased and erased and erased with my mouse. It did not turn out pretty.

It looks like I shoved a pencil eraser through this poor sticker about 64 times.
Guess I called it "Protein Puff-Ola" that day. Ah well a girl can change her mind.

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

There are soooo many great modifications that can be made...obvi: a Beeks-style Coconut Chia comes to mind.

Q: Do you have any other brilliant ideas for flavor combinations?


Michal said...

Yum I love granola. Im like you though, I cant have it as a main meal or I just will just go crazy and eat a whole box. I love granola with blueberries, coconut and agave. Yum!

Jessica @ How Sweet said...

I am loving this because it has protein powder in it - never seen homemade 'granola' with that!!

Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said...

I love granola, but I never eat it because it's so high in calories and fat. This version looks great though. Maybe I can start sprinkling it over my yogurt again!

Allie (Protein Girl) said...

Send me your photoshop work dear. I can also put double-d's on those stickers as well as airbrush their thighs!

Love granola. In a perfect world, I would eat nothing but whole wheat waffles, with a side of granola with banana.

Thinspired said...

Yesss! I was just having some of Beek's granola this morning and thought of or granola/calorie conversation! I am definitely going to try your low-cal version.

I wanted to feature your sticker on my blog when I talk about your pecan butter, but thought the same thing about those cute labels. I'll have to get Matt to blur it out, because I am USELESS with photoshop!

Going to check out the NoOaties recipe right now....

Charlotte said...

I adore granola but never ever eat it (like maybe twice in the past 5 years?) because of what a caloric bomb it is. If I'm going to spend 200 calories on a teeny bit of food it's going to be a mint brownie, is what I'm saying. But you minx, you have given me hope again! I am totally trying this. And adding coconut.

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...

Love this Deb! When are you going to open your own nut butter, Almond silk (still haven't tried it!), granola store with a shelf dedicated to PB torani? I would shop often. :)

LOVE the labels from Pimp. What a thoughtful gift and perfect for you. I love gifts like that.

Susan said...

Hiii! I love it when I come over here and "Fredericton, New Brunswick" pops up on your sidebar. NB represent!

Aaanyways, my current stash of coconut chia granola is running low and this very recipe is next on my list!! It will be a good way for me to use up that blasted vanilla protein powder I don't like. I wonder if adding some flakes would cut back on the calories too? Or adding wheat bran for some extra fibre? (seeing as puffs and flakes are nutritionless).

On another unrelated note: I watched a documentary the other day called "Bigger Faster Stronger" about body building. They talked a lot about the Gold's Gym in Venice Beach and it made me think of you!

Serena said...

Mmmm...I've never made my own granola before but that looks delicious. :)

tam said...

Yummy that granola look so good! x x

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

Great work, Deb!
I bet since you asked, that you could create a savory one with nooch, ginger, garlic/onions (but i would omit those personally) S & P, cumin, etc whatever floated your savory/salty boat.

But you dont need any help from the peanut gallery :)

homecookedem said...

Confession: I love granola, but never, ever buy or make it anymore. I can't have it in my house b/c I eat waaaaay too much of it. This is such a brilliant solution. Thanks for the recipe, Deb!! I will be trying it!! :)

Julie said...

i feel the SAME way about granola girl! i always want it but it just feels like i could be eating so much more for the same calories so i do not like to waste it haha this is genius though!

electropositive said...

Hi deb, I don't think I've ever commented on your blog before, and I felt like it was time to remedy that, since I've been a reader for a long time!

I saw this recipe, and I think it's a genius, because it's so obvious! Everyone whines about calories in granola, but somehow you are the first one to come up with a tasty solution. I think I will be off to buy ingredients ASAP. I actually haven't had granola in a realllllly long time due to the calorie issue, and I have been thinking really hard about Beeks' CCG recently! Thanks :)

Janetha said...

DEB! thank god for you. i am making maple nut oaties AND chia granola today and now i am going to use your two healthified versions. i LOVE you. i miss you so much already... sigh, cry.

Bekah said...

It's funny this is "healthified" as Janetha pointed out.. but both Heab and I are NOT trying to fatten our fellow bloggie friends by sharing our granola or oaties! I promise you- we're not! In the real world.. and not the world that is the healthy living freak world of blogging- my granola and Heabie's oaties ARE healthy! Just a somewhat "caloric bomb-i-ness" version of healthy. They're still healthy! And- its funny the recipe I adapted to make coconut-chia-granola, I EVEN MADE HEALTHIER! Hehehehe.. the recipe required 1/3 cup of oil, where I only put in 2 T. But I digress.... not to say I don't agree with you. I do not consume my granola on a daily basis- or any granola for that matter. And when I do, AT MOST its going to be 1/4 to 1/3 cup with greek yogurt or something. And that's probably all the carbs I will see that day.

I cannot wait to try your puffed version though. Sometimes my views on this subject changes.. I don't know.. sometimes I would rather have the real deal (aka my granola), once in a while, rather than a tablespoon four times a week. OR like some of the other comments said.. for 250 calories, I may just want a freaking scoop of ice cream one day, and 2 cups of puffed fauxnola the next day. At the end of the day- its still about balance.

And MY GOD- if Heabie's oaties aren't in my range of balance, I would DIE. Love love love love love them. I need to make your Almond Silk asap too. TOO BAD I DON'T HAVE MY MAGIC BULLET!!

Gargh. Sorry for the ramble- and if my "caps" were a little intense. This post is going in my list of favorite posts ever!

Bekah said...

p.s. have you figured out the calories in my granola? i didn't on purpose. i didn't want to know.

curious now though- i might just add it up later tonight.

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) said...

Beeks. No idea on the cals of your magnificent creation. I use the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on that one :-)

Becky (flybynyght @ wordpress) said...

I absolutely stay away from granola, because it's just not something I can keep to a small enough serving :( However, I will completely be trying this recipe out though! ...and stat!

prashant said...

I would eat nothing but whole wheat waffles, with a side of granola with banana.
Grow Taller 4 Idiots

jane said...

this recipe looks really good! could you make it without the protein powder though? i don't have any. also, how much sugar/maple syrup would be equal to the two packets of stevia? don't have that either. i'm a poor college student, what can i say?! ;)

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) said...

Jane- I just used protein powder b/c it's an easy quick dry source of protein. You really can get it anywhere now- even supermarkets- you could try it with dried milk.

As for the sugar/maple- go to Beeks for her recipe. I just used stevia to save a calorie or two- hers tastes better :-)

Grow Taller For Idiots Reviews said...

Your pictures are too yammy.....

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