– vegan – gluten free – refined sugar free – oil free –
If there was only one granola recipe to try, this is the one – tastes just like banana bread! There are so many creative ways to enjoy this granola:
By itself as a snack
With non-dairy milk as cereal
On top of smoothies or smoothie bowls
With coconut yogurt
Drizzled with peanut butter
A mixing bowl + spoon
A greased baking sheet
See below for substitutions and nutritional information.
To make this granola, you will need:
- Gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats: a good source of protein and vitamins and minerals. Half a cup of rolled oats has 5 grams of protein, 82% of your daily manganese, 24% of your phosphorus, 21% of your selenium, 18% of your zinc, 18% of your copper and 17% of your vitamin B1. If you’re interested, I have a lot more information about rolled oats and other types of oats here. Substitutions: I haven’t tried instant/quick-cooking oats for this recipe, so I can’t attest to how they will work. Rolled oats that aren’t gluten-free will also work.
- Bananas: I recommend buying baby bananas if they are available at your grocery store as they are in their natural state. Standard bananas are actually a hybrid that contain more starches. However, standard bananas are still a great option since one medium banana contains 16% of your daily potassium intake, 33% of your vitamin B6, 18% of your manganese, 14% of your daily vitamin C and 3 grams of fiber. It is a good rule of thumb to use 2 baby bananas in place of 1 standard banana. It is also important that the banana is ripe not only for taste, but for quality. The more a banana ripens, the more resistant starches change to simple sugars that are easily digested and more antioxidants are present.
- Pure maple syrup: although high in sugar, is loaded with 24 antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to protect against chronic diseases, brain inflammation, intestinal inflammation, and nerve inflammation. Therefore, pure maple syrup is a great natural sweetener when used in moderation. Fake maple syrup is made with high fructose corn syrup and provides zero health benefits. Substitution: agave nectar.
- Walnuts: improves both brain and heart health due to their high omega-3 fatty acid content. A 1/4 cup of walnuts has 2.3 grams (206% DV) of omega-3, as well as 3.8 grams of protein, 1.7 grams of fiber, 47% of your daily recommended manganese and 44% of your copper. Even more impressive, walnuts naturally contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant often administered to cancer patients for its cancer-fighting properties. Substitutions: any nut of your choice will work.
- Pecans: loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and healthy fats. Just 1/4 cup of pecans has 2.5 grams of protein, 2.6 grams of fiber, 0.3 grams omega-3 and 5.6 grams omega-6 — not to mention 68% of your daily recommended manganese, 36% of your copper, 15% of your zinc, 11% of your phosphorous and 11% of your magnesium. Substitutions: any nut of your choice will work.
- Ground flax (flax meal): the combination of flax and water is a good plant-based substitute for egg in baking. Flax seed is one of the best sources of omega-3. Just 2 tablespoons of flax meal has 1.8 grams of omega-3 (& even better, 2.4 grams in just 1 tablespoon of whole flax seeds).
- Dairy-free dark chocolate chips (optional): although normally brought up with negative connotations, chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) in moderation has many health benefits, as it is loaded with minerals. Just 2 ounces (1/3 cup) provides 100% of your daily copper intake, 37% of your iron, 42% of your magnesium, 61% of your manganese, 25% of your phosphorus, 23% of your zinc and 16% of your potassium. Not many other foods can boast this many minerals! I recommend buying high quality, organic dark chocolate that is free from vegetable oils and artificial colors & flavors that disturb the digestive system. Furthermore, look for chocolate that is made with cacao rather than cocoa, since cacao is richer in magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium. For this recipe, I used dark chocolate chips made with 72% cacao. Anything above 70% cacao will provide you with the healthful benefits in chocolate. Remember to check the serving size of your chocolate, as very little is needed to get its benefits and over-consuming is not good for health.
- Pure vanilla extract: I recommend choosing a higher quality vanilla extract, as cheap vanilla extract often has artificial flavors and caramel coloring that disrupts digestive health. Stay away from extract that has propylene glycol, which is essentially just antifreeze. Pure vanilla extract is actually a great antioxidant and can reduce inflammation.
- Cinnamon + nutmeg: has great anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Adding spices to your meals is a simple way to prevent the risk of heart disease and lower blood sugar levels.
- Sea salt: a natural alternative to table salt, which is more heavily processed and contains additives.