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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Golden Milk Granola (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Healthy granola inspired by golden milk, the popular Indian beverage. Now you may be a skeptic of turmeric or you may believe turmeric is only meant for savory dishes. Or perhaps you think I'm absolutely bonkers for using turmeric in my granola. Well I'm here to prove all of your doubts wrong! Presenting: my sweet, warmly spiced, satiating Golden Milk Granola that will leave you getting seconds (and thirds.. and fourths.). This granola has something for everyone: crunchiness, sweetness, underlying savory notes, spiciness, a gorgeous golden color, and a whole lot of deliciousness. This granola is vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened strictly with dates.


Whether you're a golden milk junkie, are open to turmeric in sweet dishes, or dislike turmeric in general, trust me when I say this will become one of your new favorite granolas. It's nutrient-dense, satisfying, and tasty; truly the optimal breakfast or snack. Hesitant? This granola has ample cinnamon, date paste (which lends a sweet, caramel-y richness), and is infused with coconut flavor thanks to coconut oil, coconut butter, and desiccated coconut. It is mouthwateringly good. Don't take my word for it, try it yourself!


At this point, you've probably noticed a little (or a LOTTA) something different about The Dimpled Date..


My new website has launched! It features a sleek design, eye-catching graphics, and new improvements that help to make it more user-friendly and straightforward. If you haven't already, check it out! Again, my new website design and features were co-created by my amazing friend Steph and myself (check out my Healthy Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes post to learn more about the incredible stuff Steph is doing!! Also check out the molten lava cakes recipe itself too, it's one of the best on the blog!).


This Golden Milk Granola is 100% vegan, gluten-free, and sweetened only with fresh fruit (Medjool dates). It's fiber-rich, protein-rich, and full of healthy fats. I like to serve my Golden Milk Granola with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and fresh fruit, but the serving options are endless!



Nutritional Profile of my Golden Milk Granola


Rolled oats- rolled oats (AKA old-fashioned oats) are a great source of fiber, protein, healthy carbohydrates, and iron. Fiber aids digestion and promotes heart health, while protein helps build and maintain muscle. Healthy carbohydrates provide high-quality, long-lasting energy and iron builds red blood cells. If you're strictly gluten-free, choose certified gluten-free oats, as oats (which are inherently gluten-free) can be cross-contaminated with gluten-containing crops. Tip: rolled oats (old-fashioned), steel-cut oats, and quick/instant oats are all different and produce very different results in baking, so make sure you know which one your recipe calls for!


Coconut oil- coconut oil is rich in healthy fats (including MCTs). Healthy fats are good for heart health, brain health, skin, and hair. Medium-chain triglycerides (or MCTs), specifically provide high-quality, quick energy for the body. Emerging research is suggesting that plant-based saturated fat (the kind found in coconut) may be better for you than animal-based saturated fat and may even benefit your health. Tip: choose cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil when purchasing. Also, coconut oil can be used as an all-natural hair mask to boost hydration and shine (search online to see how to properly use coconut oil as a hair mask).


Coconut butter- coconut butter (AKA "coconut manna") is different from coconut oil. Coconut butter is essentially puréed coconut whereas coconut oil is the oil extracted from pressing coconut meat. Coconut butter boasts considerable amounts of healthy fats, fiber, protein, iron, and potassium. Healthy fats can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, fiber feeds the good bacteria in your gut, and protein plays a role in nearly every bodily process. Iron builds red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen through the body, and potassium can help regulate blood pressure.


Turmeric- turmeric is an excellent source of the compound curcumin and also contains protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin C. Curcumin is touted as a powerful anti-inflammatory compound with antioxidant properties, antimicrobial properties, and anti-fungal properties. Curcumin and turmeric are good for digestion, much like ginger, turmeric's cousin. Fiber can block the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, promoting heart health. Potassium balances electrolytes and vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system, boosts collagen production, and improves the absorption of plant-based iron (non-heme iron). See above ingredient nutrition profiles for the health benefits of protein and iron. Tip: curcumin (the active compound in turmeric) is very poorly absorbed by the body, but the absorption of the curcumin in turmeric can be increased by pairing turmeric with black pepper or healthy fats. Additionally, it is suggested that heating a dish that contains turmeric before eating increases the absorption of the curcumin.


Ginger- ginger is an antioxidant powerhouse and is packed with bioactive compounds that promote digestive health. Ginger also can help with menstrual pain, bloating, and may have potent anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Tip: ginger tea is excellent to help with menstrual cramps, bloating, nausea, and general pain during your period due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Try an organic variety of ginger tea like Traditional Medicinals's Ginger Tea (made with just 1 ingredient, ginger!) or if you want to pack a double-punch of anti-inflammatory properties, try Traditional Medicinals's Organic Turmeric Tea, which contains both turmeric and ginger!


Cinnamon- cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds and may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. There are two varieties of cinnamon; Cassia cinnamon (the kind primarily sold in stores, and what we know as "cinnamon") and Ceylon, or "true", cinnamon. Out of the two varieties, Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter, sweeter flavor with more citrusy notes and is believed to be healthier than Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is richer and spicier in flavor.


Cloves- cloves are brimming with antioxidants, fiber, and manganese. Antioxidants can help ward off disease by fighting free radical damage, fiber stimulates healthy bowel movements, and manganese is a mineral that is essential for bone health. Cloves are believed to have antimicrobial properties, as well.


Nutmeg- nutmeg is rich in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds. It is also purported to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects.


Black pepper- black pepper is chock-full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. And, as mentioned earlier in this post, black pepper significantly increases the body's ability to absorb curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric. That's why golden milk recipes often call for black pepper and why many dishes made with turmeric also have black pepper.


Cardamom- cardamom has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential antimicrobial effects. Cardamom, one of my new favorite spices, is a spice that's hard to describe. I would describe it as piney, woody, earthy, floral, citrusy, and peppery all at the same time. Tip: cardamom is quite potent, so a little goes a long way when making your own recipes or cooking with it. And there are 2 main types of cardamom: green cardamom and black cardamom. Green cardamom has a more intense flavor whereas black cardamom has a more smoky flavor, so know which one your recipe calls for! For this recipe, I used ground green cardamom powder.


Dates- dates are antioxidant powerhouses and are an excellent source of fiber, protein, potassium, and iron. See above ingredient nutritional profiles for the health benefits of fiber, protein, potassium, and iron. Dates are a versatile sweetener and in my experience can replace white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, even powdered sugar, and more sweeteners! My dates of choice are Medjool dates (or the "King of Dates"), which are large, soft, very sweet, and have rich caramel notes. They're one of the top two varieties of dates found in the U.S. Believe it or not, dates can help regulate blood sugar in moderation (thanks to their extremely high fiber content), but they are still a significant source of natural sugar, so moderation is key. Dates are believed to relieve symptoms of PMS (including cravings) and may have promise as a natural way to induce labor. Tip: be sure to purchase fresh (pref. organic) dates with no added sugar (I like Natural Delights' Whole Fresh Medjool Dates).


Nuts/seeds- nuts/seeds, generally speaking, are good sources of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and vitamins & minerals. For example, walnuts are a great source of healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), fiber, protein, and iron. Omega-3s benefit everything from heart to brain to eye to metabolism to joint to immune to skin to hair health. As far as seeds go, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are a healthy example and are rich in healthy fats, fiber, protein, iron, antioxidants, magnesium, and other vitamins & minerals. Magnesium supports healthy bones and plays a central role in numerous chemical reactions in the body. Tip: Choose raw, unsalted, unsweetened nuts and seeds whenever possible, as you can reap more nutritional benefits without the added salt and sugar.


Desiccated coconut- coconut meat (and thus, desiccated coconut, which is just shaved and dried coconut meat) is packed with healthy fats, fiber, protein, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, selenium, and phosphorous. Copper plays a role in cardiovascular health and helps develop and maintain bodily tissues, including bones, the brain, and the heart. Selenium is a mineral that is a component of proteins and enzymes that produce DNA. Phosphorous helps build bones, teeth, DNA, and RNA. Tip: choose unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut, which are already naturally sweet in their own right.



Substitutions


I wouldn't substitute any other kind of oats for the old-fashioned rolled oats because quick/instant oats and steel-cut oats both take different amounts of time to cook and have drastically different textures. If the oats don't need to be gluten-free, you can sub regular oats. The melted coconut oil can be replaced with an equal amount of either avocado oil, sunflower oil, OR safflower oil OR another neutral-flavored oil (olive oil might even work here, it might just lend an ever-so-slightly more robust flavor). The coconut butter can be swapped out with unsweetened creamy almond butter, unsweetened creamy cashew butter, unsweetened creamy sunflower seed butter, unsweetened creamy mild tahini, OR your nut/seed butter of choice.


The turmeric powder really shouldn't be substituted as this is a recipe for golden milk granola. But if you don't want the golden milk flavor, omit the turmeric for a chai masala spice granola. The ginger should not be omitted, as it complements and balances the turmeric perfectly. The cinnamon definitely should not be omitted, because it lends a significant amount of flavor and helps this granola to err more on the sweet side as opposed to the savory side. But you may use either cassia cinnamon (regular cinnamon) OR Ceylon ("true") cinnamon. You may replace the cloves with additional nutmeg, or you can leave the cloves out, at the expense of flavor balancing. The nutmeg can be substituted with additional cloves or may be omitted, again, at the expense of flavor. The black pepper should not be omitted as it helps your body absorb the nutrients in turmeric better, but you can sub green pepper or white pepper. If you must, you can omit the black pepper.


The cardamom is completely optional, but choose green cardamom over black cardamom, if using. The date paste can be replaced with 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, 1/3 cup agave, 1/3 cup date syrup, OR 1/3 cup honey (if not strictly vegan). Alternatively, you can sub 2 Tbsp brown sugar PLUS 3 Tbsp maple syrup/agave/honey, if you can have refined sugar on your diet. Or, you could substitute 1/3 cup coconut sugar OR scant 1/3 cup maple sugar. For a keto, artificially-sweetened option, sub 1/3 cup Granular Swerve OR powdered monk fruit to taste OR granulated stevia to taste OR chicory root fiber syrup, to taste (*NOTE: if you don't tolerate Swerve well, do not use it. And if you are using the chicory root fiber syrup, be sure you've built up a tolerance to it and don't exceed that tolerance. Chicory root fiber syrup is composed almost entirely of sweet-tasting fibers, which are healthy, but as such it needs to be gradually introduced to and increased in the diet. Too much fiber too quick can cause GI distress). I don't recommend omitting a sweetener, unless you're looking for a more savory granola.


You can use any kinds of raw nuts or seeds in this granola. You may swap out the nuts/seeds with unsweetened, gluten-free, vegan crispy rice cereal OR additional rolled oats. The vanilla extract can be replaced with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla bean powder, OR sugar-free vanilla paste. Or, you can use almond extract OR sugar-free coconut extract (like OliveNation's) in place of the vanilla. Alternately, you may omit the vanilla. The unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut can be omitted. Lastly, you may add in a handful of unsweetened raisins OR your unsweetened dried fruit of choice (*Note: the dried fruit is not included in my recipe).



More Anti-Inflammatory Creations On the Way...


Keep posted for my next greatest recipes, coming to The Dimpled Date soon! Also, feel free to like this post or leave a comment and let me know how this recipe turned out for you!


Thanks for checking out my little virtual healthy haven,


Enjoy! <3

-K.



Golden Milk Granola (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Servings: abt 3 cups granola


Ingredients:


-2 cups gluten-free whole rolled oats (old-fashioned oats, NOT quick/instant)

-1/4 cup coconut oil

-2 Tbsp coconut butter OR unsweetened creamy almond butter (OR unsweetened creamy cashew butter OR nut/seed butter of choice)

-1 Tbsp ground turmeric powder

-1 tsp ground ginger

-1 tsp ground cinnamon

-1/2 tsp ground cloves

-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

-1/4 tsp ground black pepper

-pinch to 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

-1/3 cup date paste (Detoxinista has a great recipe for date paste!)

-1/2 cup raw unsweetened nuts/seeds of choice (I used raw/unsweetened/unsalted walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds)

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper OR a large silicone baking mat. Make the date paste ahead of time. Chop the nuts/seeds.


2. Mix dry ingredients (oats, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamom, chopped nuts/seeds, and shredded coconut) together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.


3. Melt all liquid ingredients (coconut oil, nut/seed butter, and date paste) besides the vanilla together in a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat when the ingredients are just melted and somewhat incorporated (the date paste won't incorporate completely and that's OK). Allow to cool slightly.


4. Add the cooled liquid ingredients and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.


5. Spread the granola out onto the lined baking sheet into a single even layer.


6. Bake in the preheated oven (at 325 degrees F) for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the granola halfway through.


7. Allow to cool (the granola will form clusters and the flavors in the granola will develop further as it cools).


8. Serve on top of unsweetened coconut milk yogurt with fresh fruit, with unsweetened almond milk/plant milk of choice, on top of a warm mug of vegan/sugar-free golden milk, atop a stack of golden milk pancakes or waffles, as a garnish for smoothies, on top of coconut milk ice cream, or enjoy on its own. Can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack. Enjoy!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.


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