Most recipes for granola include some kind of sugar--either brown sugar, honey or maple syrup. Or, as an alternative, they include artificial sweeteners. For healthy, sugar-free granola, use applesauce as the sweetener. The granola also gets sweetness from dried fruit. Cinnamon and ginger add extra flavor. Plus, it has a lot of crunch, thanks to generous helpings of nuts and seeds.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Mix old-fashioned (not instant) oats, almonds or pecans, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a large bowl .
Mix unsweetened applesauce, apple juice and canola oil in a small bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix everything together.
Spray two 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dishes with cooking spray.
Divide the mixture in half and spread half into each baking dish.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until evenly brown. Stir with a spatula every 10 minutes to make sure the mixture browns evenly. When you take it out of the oven the final time, stir again and then smooth the mixture to keep it from cooling into a solid mass.
Add your favorite dried fruits once the mixture has cooled. Try dried cherries, dried apricot pieces, date pieces, dried cranberries or raisins. Stir the fruit into the mixture.
Store mixture in an airtight container or in zippered storage bags. Recipe makes 10 to 11 cups, depending on how much fruit you add.