Okay, I don't know about you guys but granola is probably one of my favorite things. EVER. I used to eat granola with milk as a cereal every day after school and look forward to it, having AT LEAST one, if not multiple, bowls before I even sat down for dinner.
The problem is now that I read labels and have a much clearer understanding of what real food and nutrients are, I realized most of the store bought granolas and cereals are made with high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, and refined grains. The added sugars and fat just have no place in my lifestyle anymore and I'm totally fine with that because I found ways to make my own!
I swapped out the refined grains for healthy whole grain, gluten-free, rolled and steel cut oats. The high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar are definitely not necessary to get sweet granola, and I created mine with dates, applesauce, cinnamon, and vanilla!
Dates are so yummy and the most nutritionally dense natural sweeter. High in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin B-6, and magnesium, dates have numerous health benefits, and I personally love using them in baking recipes, sauces, and smoothies instead of maple syrup or agave.
For my apple sauce, I just cut up an apple, add some cinnamon and two tablespoons of water and then cook the apples down on the stove until they are soft enough to blend. An even easier and quicker way is to place them in the microwave for 2 minutes. Then I simply throw them in the Vitamix and blend until smoooooth and creamy.
This recipe for a healthy granola base is quick, easy, and totally customizable to your own tastes! It also works amazing for meal prep because you can make huge batches and store them in containers in the pantry like any other granola you can find in store. I usually put mine into a glass mason jar because it seals tightly, and keeps it fresher for longer.
To jazz it up you can easily drizzle on peanut butter, throw in nuts, seeds, coconut, cocoa nibs, quinoa flakes, and more! And after it's baked it tastes amazing if you add raisins, blueberries, or other fresh and dried fruit to the mix.
Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Granola
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Servings: 2.5 cups Category: Breakfast, Snacks, Dessert, Vegan, Sweet Treat, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats (GF or regular)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1 medium sized red apple
2 Medjool dates (pitted)
1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 400ºF
Combine the steel cut oats, rolled oats, and cinnamon in a bowl
Soften the dates in 1/4th cup of warm water for about 5 minutes
Dice the apple into small pieces and either cook on the stove to soften or cook them in a microwave safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water
Next, add the dates and apple into a blender with the vanilla extract.
Blend on low speed, and slowly add the water the dates were soaked in while blending until the mixture reaches a smooth applesauce consistency.
Combine wet and dry ingredients together
Spread the granola mixture onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning the mixture halfway through.
Let it cool completely before storing in a glass container.
Once it's cooled add in any extra ingredients you would like! Some of my personal favorites are walnuts, chopped almonds, chocolate chips, raisins, and coconut!