Finally, a Not-Too-Sweet Granola

Bob's Red Mill Granola

Bob's Red Mill Granola

I Paid: $3.89 for a 12-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 5 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods of Milwaukie, Oregon, is a powerhouse in the natural foods market: The company produces over 400 items for sale, most of which are whole-grain products ground by antique quartz millstones. These include cereals, flours, pancake mixes, and beans.

The company had a few whole-grain, ready-to-eat granolas out already, but several new flavors recently hit the market. And after reviewing a sometimes endless slog of fast-food hamburgers and dumb-dumb corporate desserts, it seemed like a nice chance to connect with food that was a little more forgiving on the body. As per the granolas' press materials, "each granola averages more than 27 grams of whole grains, 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving, and features sweeteners such as honey, pure vanilla, brown sugar and molasses."

The granolas are simple but delicious, packing a nutty, toasty, "whole wheaty" flavor augmented by a mild natural sweetness. The Natural "No Fat Added" variety is as simple as it comes: plain oats and dried apples, softly sweetened with cane sugar and fruit concentrate. It tastes great with fresh fruit and yogurt. Apple Blueberry (flavored with dried apples and natural blueberry flavor) leads with a pleasing apple taste and fades into blueberry on the back end of each bite. The overall impact is mellow and agreeable, the fruit flavor neither too sweet nor too aggressive, as can be the case with flavored granolas.

Cinnamon Raisin is remarkably punchy from a spice perspective, and beautifully sweetened with brown sugar and barley malt—it works particularly well as a breakfast cereal, served either hot or cold. Honey Oat is close enough to Natural that the two are functionally interchangeable, although the former does have a pleasing honey-kissed finish.

If you prefer your granola mellow, simple, and modestly but notably sweet, Bob's Red Mill is right on the money.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.