Every other blog post or news article that I read at the moment is about some sort of January cleanse whether it’s a month without booze, a new “healthy” eating plan or some juice-based diet. Twitter and pinterest are awash with salads and slightly anemic-looking bowls of soup.

I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with indulging over the holidays and so I never really see the need to start January off in a particularly austere fashion. A month of feasting in December and then a month of fasting in January doesn’t seem like the kind of balanced diet that I want anything much to do with –  the idea of being trapped in an endless binge/purge cycle seems utterly demoralising.  Not to mention that the idea of starting any kind of abstemious regime in January – surely the most depressing month of the year – seems to me to be rather foolhardy.

I have no resolutions this year. I’m not even jumping on the dry January bandwagon (we did it last year, I didn’t really see the point). I like to think that we have a fairly well-balanced diet these days and, honestly, I don’t really like people telling me what I should be eating (or doing in general).


That said, there’s something quite comforting in returning to our routines in January.  I’ve always done best when I have some kind of regular pattern – I find that the structure of the working week can be as liberating as it is confining.  I often find myself trying to impose a routine where there isn’t one and the fact that I can’t do that over the holidays so easily is a little disarming.


One area of my life where I really need structures is the mornings.  If I’m not careful, I can easily find the days when I’m not working slipping away of their own accord. By the time I’m ready to face the world, it’s already mid-afternoon and I’m wondering whether a meal is still technically breakfast if it’s eaten at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

Clearly, working in an office affords no such luxury but still, the only way I ever make it out of the flat on time in the mornings is because I’m on auto-pilot. Wake up, make a cup of tea, have a shower, straighten my hair, get dressed, eat breakfast, leave.  It’s the same every day – sometimes I’m vaguely surprised to find myself walking to the tube station because I could have sworn I was still padding around in my pyjamas.

Yoghurt + granola is my go-to in the mornings.  Not because it’s “healthy” or because anyone told me I should eat it but because it’s quick, easy and is just about the only thing that keeps me vaguely full until a respectable time.  After a couple of weeks of breakfasting on the daily offering from my advent calendar and a handful of chocolate coins, it was good to get back to normal.


five-seed granola (with optional cocoa nibs)

Yield: About 4 cups of granola

I don't know why I've said that the cocoa nibs are optional - they're really not. Quite apart from the bitter notes of chocolate which is more than enough to brighten my January mornings, I love the crunch that they bring. This granola is very much seed-focused but you could add some nuts in there too. If you must, you can stir in some dried fruit at the end.


  • 300g (3 cups) oats
  • 125g (1 cup) mixed seeds - I used a mix of pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, linseed and golden linseet
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract in a pinch)
  • 30g (1/4 cup) cocoa nibs (optional, but not really)


  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with a wooden spoon making sure that everything is well coated and sticking together nicely.
  2. Spread the granola out on the baking tray and bake for about 35 minutes, stirring every now and then. I like to pat it together with my (asbestos) hands as well to encourage good clump-formation. When the oats are browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before transferring to a container. I may be weird but I like to store my granola in the fridge; it will be fine in in a cupboard though.
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40 Responses to "five-seed granola (with optional cocoa nibs) {gluten free}"
  1. Seems great minds think alike, I shared a granola recipe today too. :) I love your version, especially the cocoa nib addition.

  2. Ooh, I love the idea of cocoa nibs in granola! I like routine too – I got home yesterday and it’s nice to be back in my own groove.

    And don’t worry about the juice-filled blogs, tomorrow I’m starting Pudding Month… comforting, gooey, hot, ice cream, custard, lashings of cream… ;)

  3. Smozzy says:

    Im so hungry after seeing this it looks so yummy!

  4. Caz says:

    I completely agree with you, who wants to deprive themselves in the dark days of January! A balanced diet all year round is definitely the way to go. The granola looks delicious and I love the idea of adding cacao nibs.

  5. We are clearly on the same page about not needing to diet in January…I was nodding my head to the computer screen whilst reading this post. Couldn’t agree more!!
    Quick question about the granola: do the cocoa nibs not melt in the oven? I can see from the picture that they don’t but I was just wondering. I always add chocolate to the granola after it’s baked.

    • kathryn says:

      And I loved your post a couple of days ago about resolutions – so with you! The cocoa nibs don’t really melt at all, they’re a bit hard and solid to do that. Like you, I add chocolate chips at the end but with cocoa nibs, it seems to be fine to bake them for the whole time.

  6. Boo to new year diets! I read that giving things up for a month doesn’t actually make any difference in the long run anyway, so here’s to cake and chocolate and all the good things (in moderation, of course). I usually have two granolas on the go at home – breakfast granola and pudding granola (for sprinkling on ice cream, fruit, yoghurt, chocolate pots etc after dinner. Cocoa nibs normally get consigned to pudding granola but I don’t see why I shouldn’t eat them for breakfast too. January resolution :-)

  7. mehrunnisa says:

    i’ve found it really difficult to go back to work this year possibly because it was the first time in four years that i have had an actual break. we didn’t travel, lounged around the house and caught up on the sleep deficit of the year. by the first of january i felt more me than i have in a long time! but yes, i do like the order of the working week. this granola looks great! we’re on porridge these days but i’ve bookmarked it for the near future. and i could not agree more on the dieting and food purges. it is the most ridiculous proposition.
    m x

  8. Oh my goodness, I couldn’t agree more. I just ate a muffin for breakfast and don’t care one bit! This sounds like such a nice granola – and looks awesome!

  9. Jessica says:

    Could not agree with you more, and so happy to be back to a routine. This granola looks fabulous and perfect with the addition of cocoa nibs.

  10. Dry January? What would possibly be the point of that?! I think the fact that most of my family has January birthdays helps a lot with preventing that kind of silliness. When the holiday festivities are done with there’s a whole round of birthday cakes and drinks and other celebrations to contend with, so there’s never a risk of the month being dry or cleanse inducing. But, like you, I’m glad to get back into a routine. I had one too many breakfasts of advent chocolates and one too many dinners of crackers and cheese. I realized reading this post that it’s been far too long since I’ve made a batch of homemade granola. It tends to be a weekend treat for me, but that’s no excuse. I’ll have to get a batch going this weekend!

  11. I have been in such a granola mood lately, this sounds right up my alley. Like your perspective on eating, too, K. Balance is so important and yet so easy to lose when we get stuck looking at this person and that person. Better to just take things one day at a time and relax a little.

  12. Oh yum. Do you use quick cooking oats here? I ask just cause they look a little smaller in hue he photo than old fashioned oats and I have quick from making granola bars! I love the idea of seeded granola.

  13. Skye says:

    I love this idea of structure being as liberating as confining. Makes me think of Perec who wrote a (really quite long) novel without using the letter ‘e’ because he believed that being restricted made you more creative. I think that granola with cacao nibs is your novel with no letter ‘e’! But tastier. :)

  14. Amen, sister. And now I’m going to proceed to make and eat all four cups of this granola.

  15. I totally agree with you Kathryne, all the diet/detox recipes out there are quite overwhelming. This granola, with all its seeds and the addition of cacao nibs sounds absolutely perfect! I’m always on the look out for a new spin on granola, can’t wait to try this one out!

  16. Tieghan says:

    Heck yes!! I could not agree with you more!

    Now, I must go make some late night granola. This look so good! Oh and I am of course adding cocoa nibs!

  17. Hannah says:

    I find cocoa/chocolate is optional (but not really) in most life circumstances :) I am with you on avoiding the whole binge/purge of Christmas/January…I need my chocolate to see me through this grey old month! This granola is definitely going to be featuring in my mornings, thanks for sharing!

  18. Charlotte says:

    I had literally written a blog yesterday with exactly the same thought process. I never understand the whole ‘don’t eat anything in January’ idea! January is a horrible month as it is, so why punish yourself further. The granola recipe looks delicious, perfect timings after finishing my supply off recently.

  19. Joanne says:

    I’m with you, girl. No crazy random detoxes for me. Just good healthy, wholesome eats in a back-to-normal kind of way. I’ve recently become obsessed with yogurt for breakfast and love the sound of this granola to top it!

  20. Ruth says:

    Sounds delicious and so simple – I’ll have to try it. Thank you!

  21. Sini says:

    You had me at “five-seed”. I still have to make your cashew butter granola (next on the list) but I really need to make this version soon. Granola mornings are the best.

    P.S. And a definite no to New Year’s resolutions and detoxes in any form. Give me that cookie.

  22. Ha, I was totally going to comment that the cocoa nibs are NOT optional, until I read your post/recipe and saw that you already said the same. This granola sounds fabulous, and it’s totally the type of well-rounded breakfast with a bit of yogurt that starts the day off right. Yum!

  23. I totally agree that it’s best to just try and live a ‘balanced life’ in every sense of the expression rather than bingeing and purging. Love the look of this granola, too, as it’s so simple … and I would definitely add the chocolate! I often put a few squares of chocolate in my morning oatmeal!

  24. Kelsey says:

    Amen, sister! So comforting to read you share my sentiments about the season. Cheers to granola, winter stillness, and the winding road. xo

  25. I don’t do the diet thing either but I will continue posting the heck out of smoothies because people go wild for them in January. :D

    And what lovely looking granola! And yeah. I agree. The cocoa nibs aren’t optional!

  26. Sophia says:

    It seems like this is the week for granola! While I am a devotee of the stove-top variety, I like the sound of your olive oil version (and the ‘optional-yet-mandatory’ cacao nibs – since discovering the 300g bags of cacao nibs in Whole Foods I have basically stopped using chocolate chips and always schlepp back 2 or 3 bags when I visit my sister in London). And yes, while every holiday should start with the next trip already planned, I absolutely crave my normal life after a while – I like the regularity of getting up at the same time each day, being in my flat, cooking in my kitchen and relaxing on my sofa, besides, weekends never feel as good as after a hectic workweek!

  27. Nooooow this is a “diet” I could get on. 3 bowls of granola a day! With cocoa nibs!? Hellz yes, sister!

  28. Yead says:

    This is so great. I’m so hungry seeing this post.Please give me.

  29. I love making my own granola for quick and easy breakfasts too (and snacks). This looks great, and for me cocoa nibs won’t be optional!

  30. I love the addition of cacao nibs to this granola. Granola and yogurt is my go-to breakfast too because it’s so easy and I can eat it at my desk when I get to work. My auto pilot morning routine is so similar to yours: wake up, tea, shower, out the door and before you know it I’m sitting at work. Sometime I wonder how I drove there lol!

  31. I didn’t make any resolutions for the new year either. Change can happy at any time, but I prefer modifying my life in small ways as opposed to changing all of my habits cold turkey. I love granola and this recipe looks incredibly delicious! Great blog. I also love the font use for you the title of your blog :)

  32. Sonja says:

    I agree – what’s important is sustainable ways to cultivate balanced eating throughout the year, not just January! I love the simplicity of this recipe, and the addition of cacao nibs sounds so interesting! We’ve never used them so it would be a good excuse to start.

  33. Starting January with fasting and deprivation has never seemed a very attractive option, no matter how heavy festive tables were. Eating well all the time is much, much better. I love the cocoa nibs in your granola!

  34. cynthia says:

    Such a lovely post, Kathryn — I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your thoughtful words. :) This granola sounds wonderful, too! I’ve been meaning to try cacao nibs for some time now… in your granola sounds like a great place to start.

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