In recognition of this little event called Election Day, I've created a red, white, and blue granola featuring cranberries, coconut, and blueberries. This is the order of your day - vote first, make this granola second. Got it?
Cranberries are bitter, so they're usually prepared with loads of added sugar (cranberry sauce on the Thanksgiving table, for example). In an effort to limit added sugar, I've combined cranberries with a sweeter blueberry and added banana over sugar for a lightly sweet granola which makes for a great topping to smoothies or yogurt.
Cranberries are in season, so purchasing fresh this time of year makes sense. However, I used frozen wild blueberries since berry season is long gone and frozen berries are picked at their peak of freshness before freezing which preserves the nutrients.
Cranberries and blueberries are both rich in antioxidants, some of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanin, the phytochemical that gives cranberries and blueberries their bright color, has been linked to cardiovascular protection and also has potential anti-carcinogenic properties. Plus, they taste great, so eat up!
CRANBERRY, BLUEBERRY GRANOLA with COCONUT
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries)
3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 ripe banana
2 tsp vanilla extract
In a food processor, blend banana, cranberries, and blueberries. Add coconut and vanilla and pulse until combined. Remove blade and add oats. Stir with a spoon. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet and bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes. Important: stir mixture every 10 minutes to prevent from burning.