I have been looking for the perfect healthy homemade granola recipe for about as long as I can remember. I must have read hundreds of them. Tried a few. Was never really happy with the ingredients list or with the taste or texture. Until I finally came up with the holy grail (or should I say “holy granola!”), an easy and healthy vegan granola that is Mediterranean Diet friendly and addictively delicious.
Why this is the best homemade granola recipe ever
I had some very specific criteria to develop my ultimate granola recipe.
First, I wanted to stay away from coconut oil. Coconut oil is OK to use in moderation, but high in saturated fat and its production is controversial. Instead, this recipe uses a Mediterranean Diet staple: olive oil.
Next, I did not want a ton of added sugar. Most store-bought granola, as well as most recipes available out there, contain a huge amount of sweetener. It can be anything from brown sugar to honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, just to name a few. As you know, sugar goes by many names…This recipe uses just a very small amount of maple syrup. You could probably omit it altogether, but I find it adds a great taste and a delicate sweetness. Honey would be nice too if you are not concerned about keeping the recipe vegan.
Then, I wanted to incorporate a powerful mix of nuts and seeds. I chose pecans, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, and a small amount of ground flaxseed to act as a binder. Flaxseed is also one of the best plant sources of Omega 3’s, especially in ground form.
Of course, no granola is complete without some delicious dried fruit to bite into. Apricots and cranberries are my favorites here. Not only for their sweet and tangy taste, but for the nice touch of color they add.
Another must: shredded coconut! I know, I know, I was trying to avoid coconut oil, but unsweetened shredded coconut contains only a fraction of saturated fat. Plus it is a good source of manganese and other minerals. And it tastes and smells wonderful.
And finally, to enhance all this healthy goodness, a couple of warm spices. Vanilla extract and cinnamon fit the bill perfectly. Plus a pinch of salt, one of the most important flavor-building ingredients you can add to any dish (in moderation, of course).
How to customize this easy and healthy vegan granola
Of course, I will always encourage you to make my recipes your own by changing this or that. I do, however, decline any responsibility for the outcome. But there are a thousand ways you can modify it:
- other nuts that work well: walnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios…
- pick your seeds: add flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts, even quinoa…
- switch up your dried fruit: raisins, dried cherries, figs, dates…
- omit maple syrup or swap it for honey.
- be bold and add other spices you like: ginger, cardamom, cloves… or even orange zest!
You get the idea…
- This recipe will last for a few weeks stored in your pantry, but the dried fruit may harden over time. I recommend removing the dried fruit from the recipe if you want it to last more than 2 or 3 days, and adding it back in right before serving.
- If you want a more crumbly granola, stir it after 20 minutes in the oven, and again when you take it out of the oven.
How to use granola
Granola can be eaten on its own as an energy snack or with some milk as a cold cereal. However, be aware that this is not a low-calorie food. It is packed with nuts and dried fruit, hence nutrient dense, but also calorie dense.
My favorite way to use it is sprinkled over some yogurt and fruit. You can even get fancy and make it a “parfait” with layers of yogurt, fruit and granola:
You can also sprinkle it over a salad or roasted vegetables, or as a topping for your nice-cream, smoothie bowl or baked fruit.
Many reasons to try this easy and healthy homemade granola now! You will never buy granola again.
Other recipes you might like:
Easy and healthy vegan granola
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Place in a large bowl: oats, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, salt and cinnamon.
- In a small bowl, mix liquid ingredients: maple syrup, olive oil, vanilla extract.
- Add liquid ingredients to the oat mix and stir until well combined.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Place the mixture in the center and spread it out to a thickness of about 1/2". It will not cover the entire sheet.
- Bake 35 minutes. Sprinkle the coconut on top and bake another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Spread the dried fruit on top (apricots and cranberries). Let the pan cool completely, then toss together and store in an airtight container.