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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Peanut Butter Granola (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Breakfast recipe number 2!! This time it's homemade granola! How do you make homemade granola you may ask? Well, I'll tell you it's easier than you think (believe it or not!). First: you start with rolled oats and add your nuts/seeds of choice, dried fruit of choice (optional), shredded coconut (optional), and other dry ingredients (such as cacao powder or spices) and mix together. Second: you melt your oil of choice, nut/seed butter of choice (if using), date paste (or sticky sweetener of choice), and vanilla/almond extract all together until liquified. Third: pour the melted ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated. Fourth: spread out the granola on a lined baking sheet in a single, even layer and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the granola once halfway through baking. Finally: allow the granola to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes (this will allow the flavors to taste stronger and also allows for the granola to form into clusters). And that's it! Easy, right? This granola recipe is gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, and fruit-sweetened.



Story time: I never knew you could make homemade granola from scratch until about three years ago when I learned how to make it on my own. I'm pretty sure it was the biggest revelation of 2017 for me, and it was a big hit with family and friends. And I have a confession... I used brown sugar and honey back then as the sweeteners. I know, it was bad.. That was before the days of my vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free diet.


After I started my anti-inflammatory diet in 2018, I didn't really make homemade granola at first because it took a while before I figured out what worked on my diet. Fast forward to about 2 months ago when I rediscovered granola-making and realized I could make homemade granola that works on my diet (with date paste & gluten-free oats)!


Vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free granola makes for a much healthier (and tastier, in my opinion) option.


The first batch of the peanut butter granola I made I split into two half batches: one sweetened with date paste and one sweetened with maple syrup (what is pictured). I made the date-sweetened version for myself and the maple syrup-sweetened version for my family (who prefer a little extra sweetness). For the maple syrup-sweetened option look in the "Substitutions" section of this post, below.


This granola is easy to store, too. I use a washed out nut butter jar (after I'm done with the nut butter) with a lid and store the granola in there with the lid on in the fridge. Or any other airtight container would work as well.



Nutritional Profile of Peanut Butter Granola


Rolled oats- oats are an excellent source of fiber, protein, iron, and healthy carbohydrates. Protein builds healthy muscles, while fiber keeps the digestive tract healthy & keeps your bowel movements regular, and whole carbohydrates give you sustained energy throughout the day. For all my vegans out there: iron is extremely important in your diet so make sure you are getting in adequate iron from your diet or supplementing with an iron supplement. It's common for vegan individuals to be iron-deficient and get anemia resulting from iron deficiency. Luckily, oats contain a substantial amount of iron. What's more, the protein and fiber in oats can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer, preventing you from over-eating or snacking too much.


Coconut oil- coconut oil is rich in healthy fats and has fat-burning, metabolism-boosting, and anti-microbial properties. Additionally, it nourishes your brain cells, skin, and hair and it's good for your heart. Despite saturated fat being the main type of fat in coconut oil, coconut oil has been shown to be heart-healthy.


Peanut butter- peanut butter contains healthy fats, protein, fiber, and iron. These nutrients are good for your heart, brain, muscles, digestive system, red blood cells, skin, and hair. An added perk is that PB is absolutely delicious! (Tip: when purchasing peanut butter, try to buy sugar-free, hydrogenated oil-free peanut butter that's only one or two ingredients, in other words buy PB that's only made with peanuts [roasted or raw] or peanuts and salt. And make sure the sodium content is low. Lastly, sometimes you'll see the word "blanched" or "un-blanched" on the ingredients list which refers to whether the peanuts had their skins removed before processing into peanut butter [blanched] or their skins were left on before processing into peanut butter [un-blanched]. Either kind is fine, but some say that un-blanched peanuts are more nutritious and are better peanut butter wise).


Dates- dates (and thus, date paste which is just dates puréed with water) are rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein, and iron. Dates are low-glycemic (believe it or not) due to their high fiber content (1 date contains 2 grams of fiber!) and are believed to benefit those with diabetes, despite having a high sugar content. The fiber in them is good for your digestive tract & heart, the protein is good for maintaining and building muscle mass, and the antioxidants fight free radical damage.


Nuts/seeds (in general)- nuts and seeds in general contain high amounts of healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and iron which are good for everything from your heart to your brain to your GI tract to your complexion. Walnuts are a particularly nutrient-dense nut which contain omega-3 fatty acids and 4 grams of protein per serving. Almonds are another healthy nut rich in vitamin E which is an antioxidant that nourishes your hair & skin and are rich in soluble fiber which reduces cholesterol levels. Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, micronutrients, and antioxidants and are heart-healthy and help keep you satiated for longer. (Tip: when purchasing nuts & seeds, try to buy raw, unsalted, and unsweetened nuts and seeds to get the most health benefits from your nuts/seeds).


Raisins/dried fruit- unsweetened raisins and other types of dried fruit are high in fiber and antioxidants which are good for digestion and ward off disease by fighting free radicals.


Coconut- unsweetened coconut is good for digestion, heart health, brain health, and skin & hair. I use desiccated coconut in every granola recipe I make because it adds additional flavor, texture, hardiness, and nutrients.



Substitutions


You can't really substitute the oats in this recipe, seeing as this is a granola recipe. However, it is possible omit the oats and instead add extra chopped nuts/seeds and/or gluten-free/paleo/vegan/sugar-free crispy cereal. You want a good amount of texture and volume to replace the oats and something like a gluten-free, vegan, and sugar-free crispy rice cereal would do the trick I think without adding too many extra calories and fat. The coconut oil can be swapped out with any healthy vegetable oil, like safflower, sunflower, soybean, etc. You can sub any nut or seed butter for the peanut butter (to give a few ideas: almond butter, cashew butter, hazelnut butter, coconut butter, etc.) or you could leave out the nut/seed butter altogether for a more plain granola (although I recommend using the nut/seed butter if you can because otherwise the granola may not be flavorful enough). Another option is that you could use 1/4 cup of my Paleo Nutella recipe in place of the PB!


For the date paste you can sub 1/4 cup maple syrup, agave, or date syrup OR 1/8 cup brown sugar and 1/8 cup maple syrup, agave, or date syrup. You could also swap out the date paste with stevia, powdered monk fruit, liquid stevia drops (flavored or unflavored), or another artificial sweetener for a 100% sugar-free option. I am going to be experimenting with mashed banana to sweeten granola and will be updating this post if I find that banana works as a sweetener for granola. I wouldn't recommend omitting a sweetener because the granola wouldn't come out tasting great with no sweetener. You can use any kind of nuts or seeds in this granola (to give some ideas: walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.). Make sure the nuts/seeds are raw and preferably unsalted. And if you can't do nuts or seeds on your diet try using extra oats and/or crispy rice cereal that works on your diet.


The vanilla could be omitted, but it adds a good amount of flavor to this granola. You could substitute almond extract or use 1/2 the amount of the vanilla and the other half could be almond extract. Also, you could sub vanilla powder. For the sugar-free dried fruit you can use any kind of unsweetened dried fruit or use sweetened dried fruit (if you can do sugar on your diet). And of course, because the dried fruit is optional, you may leave out the dried fruit. Like the dried fruit, the unsweetened shredded coconut is optional so you can omit it.



I am well aware that it's been a while since I've posted, but I'm going to try to make posts more frequently from now on. I haven't had as much time to post because I'm in college right now, but I will try to make a larger effort to post more frequently. And I assure you I haven't stopped creating and experimenting with new recipes! In fact, I have at least 7 recipes right now that are all ready for the blog!


Stay tuned for more goodies...



You can serve this granola with unsweetened coconut milk yogurt or unsweetened almond milk yogurt & fruit, your unsweetened plant milk of choice, sprinkle it on top of pancakes, or eat it on its own.


And FYI this granola smells INCREDIBLE while baking, so prepare for a life-changing sensory experience!


Enjoy,

-K.



Peanut Butter Granola (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 18 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Total Time: 28 to 33 minutes

Servings: Makes about 3 cups of granola


Ingredients:


-2 cups gluten-free whole rolled oats (NOT instant oats)

-1/4 cup coconut oil (or sub healthy vegetable oil of choice)

-1/4 cup peanut butter (can sub with nut/seed butter of choice)

-1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp date paste

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

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-handful of unsweetened dried cranberries, unsweetened raisins, or unsweetened dried fruit of choice (optional)

-small handful of unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut (optional)


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a large silicone baking mat. Roughly chop your nuts of choice (if using seeds leave the seeds whole).


2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, chopped nuts/seeds, dried fruit (if using), and shredded coconut (if using) and mix together. Set aside.


3. In a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat, melt together the coconut oil, peanut butter (or nut/seed butter of choice), date paste, and vanilla, stirring frequently until liquified, smooth, and pourable.


4. Pour the melted coconut oil, peanut butter, date paste, and vanilla over the oat mixture and stir together until fully incorporated.


5. Spread the granola onto the lined baking sheet and using a spatula, evenly distribute the granola on the pan so it's in a single, even layer without any large clumps.


6. Place the granola in the preheated oven (at 325 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping the granola with a spatula halfway through the baking time.


7. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes (as the granola cools it will form clusters and become more flavorful).


8. Serve with unsweetened coconut milk yogurt & fruit, unsweetened plant milk, as a topping on pancakes & waffles, as a topping on a smoothie or smoothie bowl, or on its own. Enjoy!


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge (I store my granola in washed out nut butter glass jars with a lid in the fridge).





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