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Homemade Granola With a Star Ingredient

Article author photo. Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD This featured post is by Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD. You can follow this blogger @LaurenOConnorRD.

I don't bake a lot in the summer due to the heat. But the weather had cooled down a bit, and I was itching to bake something tasty and wholesome. I didn't have any flour, so I decided to go with a staple I always have, a nutritious whole-grain ― oats! I love the versatility of this grain, and it's a great option if you are wheat-free.

My husband had just bought some coconut sugar on a whim from the Thai market in our neighborhood, and my kitchen is well-stocked with coconut oil and unsweetened coconut flakes. So it turned out to be a coconut-sweetened treat with a six-pointed twist. I only had a bit of cinnamon spice left, so I turned to my spice cabinet and found star anise (in powdered form).

My star ingredient comes from a star-shaped seed pod of an evergreen tree grown in southwestern China and Japan. Its distinctive licorice taste adds a pleasant sweet flavor to food. Star anise is most commonly used in Asian dishes that have a more savory appeal. These dishes include eggs simmered in black tea and Indian curries. A digestive aid, star anise may help cure colic in babies. An extract of this seed, Shikimic Acid, is one of the chief ingredients in the antiviral Tamiflu drug used to fight influenza. This spice can be found in both seed pod and powdered form.

Nut-Free Granola With Coconut, Cinnamon and Star Anise

Recipe by Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD

Serves 8

2 cups oats
1/3 cup palm sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup of coconut flakes (unsweetened)
a pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp of star anise


  1. Melt coconut oil and mix in spices.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients: oats, palm sugar, coconut flakes.
  3. Thoroughly mix wet and dry ingredients until oats well coated.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Toss with a spatula.
  5. Turn oven off and leave for about an hour in the heated oven. Remove when lightly toasted brown and let cool.

Cal 150, Fat 8g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 35mg, Fiber 2g, Sugar 10g, Protein 2g

Enjoy! This treat makes a great topping for non-fat, plain Greek yogurt.

Lauren O'Connor, MS, RD, is owner and nutritional consultant for Nutri-Savvy, a lifestyle program with an intuitive sensory approach to food. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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