Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and reserve.
Combine brown sugar and water in a 4-cup microwave proof glass measuring cup or bowl. Place in microwave on high for 5 minutes and cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from microwave, add vanilla extract and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, and brown sugar syrup mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread the granola onto cookie sheets and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden and crunchy.
When the mixture comes out of the oven, it is still very pliable. You may choose to add in dried fruit as a finishing touch at this time. When granola has cooled completely, store in an airtight container.