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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Strawberry Coconut Granola (Vegan, GF, Date-Sweetened, Natural)

The next granola recipe on The Dimpled Date after a long granola break! Well, the granola-making never really stopped, I just didn't prioritize trying new granolas, and even when I did they weren't good enough to post :P Anyways, here's the newest granola on the block: Strawberry Coconut! Oh yeah baby, just in time for Valentine's, this fruity, sweet, delicious, pink granola might just be a new favorite. But don't be fooled by its pretty pink exterior, this granola packs a protein, fiber, and nutrient punch underneath its preppy color. Let the granola deliciousness continue!




Granola, coming in hot! You know what I just realized recently? I'm less than 10 posts away from my 100th Dimpled Date post, and that's cause for celebration! To celebrate 100 posts, I will be making a special dessert, but more on that later...


For now, let's focus on the topic at hand: granola. Strawberry granola. I would say this granola has to be in my top 5 favorite granolas (legit!). It's comparable to my Raspberry Rose Granola and my Pink Lemonade Granola, but this Strawberry Coconut Granola has a little something extra that makes it especially delectable. Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. It's so easy and quick to make and I have an option for maple-sweetened granola if you don't have dates.



This granola is vegan, gluten-free, date-sweetened (w/ a maple-sweetened option), and naturally colored using beet powder. But you don't taste a hint of beetiness, just sweet, strawberry, coconutty goodness with a whole lotta crunch. But you can use dragon fruit powder instead. And of course, the natural colorant is optional and you can leave this granola beige if you wish. Also, this granola has a good bit of protein, courtesy of cashew butter and raw nuts. So do yourself a favor and go make this healthy, delicious granola!


This is going to be a very close call because the following five granolas are all almost tied for first place. My top 5 favorite granolas on The Dimpled Date re-ranked (bc I've ranked them so many times):



And my Lavender Granola gets an honorable mention. Technically the Lavender Granola would be my #1 but it is part of my Raw Lavender White Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe, and isn't its own separate recipe, therefore, I suppose it doesn't count.


But yeah, this recipe for Strawberry Coconut Granola comes in second place, second to the floral granolas only because I'm a sucker for the floral flavors present in my Raspberry Rose and Lavender Granolas. But choosing my favorite Dimpled Date granola is like choosing between children.


What favorite granola do you want to see on The Dimpled Date? Like this post and let me know in the comments!



Substitutions


I wouldn't substitute any other kind of oats for the gluten-free rolled (old-fashioned) oats because quick oats, instant oats, and steel-cut oats all 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 rolled oats. Possibly, you could omit the oats and instead use gluten-free/vegan/sugar-free crispy rice 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 or fat. (***PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE NOT tried this recipe with crispy rice cereal in place of the oats and therefore CANNOT guarantee good results***). If you try this recipe with crispy rice cereal, let me know how it turned out in the comments!


The coconut oil can be replaced with your neutral-flavored healthy vegetable oil of choice, such as avocado oil or sunflower oil. Possibly, you could try using olive oil with varied results, knowing that olive oil has a slightly more robust flavor. Technically speaking, another possibility is using melted vegan butter instead of the melted coconut oil, although I don't know if the melted vegan butter will pair well with the flavor of this granola. However, it might work! To reduce the fat in this recipe, you can substitute 2 Tbsp out of the 1/4 cup of coconut oil (per single batch) with 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce (in other words instead of using 1/4 cup coconut oil, use 2 Tbsp coconut oil PLUS 2 Tbsp applesauce). Or for oil-free and to reduce the fat even more, replace the 1/4 cup coconut oil entirely with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.


Unsweetened creamy cashew butter, creamy almond butter, or creamy sunflower seed butter work perfectly in this granola because the strawberry flavor is so bold that these nut/seed butters don't overpower the flavor. But if you prefer, try softened coconut butter (AKA "coconut manna") for an even more neutral nut butter and to get a more vibrant pink shade (but note that coconut butter has less protein than cashew and almond butter). Alternatively, use your mild nut/seed butter of choice, such as very mild tahini, pumpkin seed/pepita butter, macadamia nut butter, etc. Try raw nut/seed butter instead of roasted for an even milder butter. Just make sure the nut/seed butter is unsweetened (and pref. unsalted). The natural strawberry extract is key for getting that strawberry flavor in this granola, and I don't have any direct substitutes for it to still achieve a strawberry flavor. But if you're not a fan of strawberry or don't have it, you may use natural raspberry extract OR natural cherry extract instead. Likewise, the natural coconut extract shouldn't be replaced because coconut is one of the main flavors in this granola. However, if you don't want to use coconut extract or are allergic to it, you may replace it with additional vanilla, natural orange extract (start w/ 1/8 tsp and add more to taste), OR almond extract for different flavors. Alternatively, you can omit the coconut extract for a simple strawberry granola.


For sweetening this granola, I use Detoxinista's date paste recipe. The date paste keeps this granola fruit-sweetened, but if you want you may use a different sweetener. In place of the date paste, you can use 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup agave, 1/4 cup coconut nectar, 1/4 cup date syrup, OR 1/4 cup honey (if not strictly vegan) per single batch. OR you may use 1/4 cup coconut sugar OR scant 1/4 cup maple sugar. For 100% sugar-free, you can try using 100% pure liquid/powdered monk fruit to taste (the concentrated, pure form of monk fruit, NO erythritol or other sweeteners). I have to experiment with banana-sweetened granola, so hang tight for granolas like that. The raw nuts/seeds should preferably be mild, but any kind will work, such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts (chopped), macadamias, sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), etc. Just make sure they're raw, unsalted, and unsweetened, and chop them if need be. Hempseed, chia seeds, and/or whole flaxseeds may be used as well. In place of the nuts/seeds you can use extra gluten-free rolled (old-fashioned) oats OR gluten-free/vegan/sugar-free crispy rice cereal. Alternatively, you may omit the nuts/seeds, knowing that this will reduce the volume of the granola slightly.


The vanilla extract can be replaced with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla beans, OR sugar-free vanilla powder/paste/syrup. Technically, you can omit the vanilla or you might be able to replace it with almond extract OR sugar-free coconut extract, starting w/ 1/4 tsp and adding more to taste. The unsweetened raisins are optional, but you may use dark/red or white raisins OR your unsweetened dried fruit of choice, such as unsweetened dried cranberries, unsweetened dried sour cherries, unsweetened dried blueberries, OR unsweetened prunes (chopped). Or you could sub finely chopped fresh dates (in addition to the date paste as a sweetener). The unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut is also optional but highly recommended (this is Strawberry Coconut Granola), but you can use a handful of chia seeds, hempseed, OR whole flaxseed in place of it. The beet powder is optional as well and is used to color this granola pink/red, but you can replace it with 1 Tbsp dragon fruit powder OR natural/vegan/GF/sugar-free pink/red food coloring. The unsweetened freeze-dried strawberries are also optional, but you can substitute unsweetened freeze-dried raspberries, unsweetened freeze-dried blueberries, unsweetened freeze-dried blackberries, and/or unsweetened freeze-dried cherries.




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Keep posted for more of the latest and greatest! Valentine's will be the theme for now, and stay tuned for the 100th Dimpled Date recipe and post!


Thanks for visiting my website, hope you like this recipe and find others you like!


As always,

Enjoy! <3

-K.



Strawberry Coconut Granola (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Date-Sweetened, Natural)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 to 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: abt 3 cups (6 servings)


Ingredients:


-2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (AKA gluten-free old-fashioned oats)


-1/2 cup mild raw unsalted nuts/seeds of choice, chopped (I used cashews, walnuts, and almonds)


-1 1/2 tsp beet powder OR 1 Tbsp dragon fruit powder OR enough natural/vegan/sugar-free pink/red food coloring to color (optional // for a pink/red color)


-handful unsweetened raisins OR unsweetened dried cranberries OR unsweetened/unsulphured dried fruit of choice (optional // chopped, as needed)


-large handful unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut (optional)


-small handful unsweetened freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries (optional)


-1/4 cup coconut oil, melted OR avocado oil (can sub neutral vegetable oil of choice)


-2 Tbsp unsweetened cashew butter OR softened coconut butter ("coconut manna") (can sub almond butter OR mild nut/seed butter of choice)


-1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp date paste (blend together 1 cup tightly packed dates + 1/4 cup water into paste, then measure amt needed) OR 1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup


-1 1/2 tsp natural strawberry extract


-3/4 tsp natural coconut extract


-1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:


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


2. Add the oats, chopped nuts/seeds, (optional) beet powder/dragon fruit powder, raisins, desiccated coconut, and freeze-dried berries to a large mixing bowl and manually stir together to combine. Set aside.


3. In a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat, melt together the coconut oil/avocado oil, cashew butter/coconut butter, and date paste/maple syrup until just melted, stirring frequently (the date paste won't be fully incorporated and that is OK). Wait to add the vanilla, strawberry extract, and coconut extract. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.


4. Pour the melted and slightly cooled oil, nut/seed butter, and date paste over the oat mixture and add the strawberry extract, coconut extract, and vanilla extract now. Stir together until fully incorporated. If using the natural/vegan pink/red food dye, add that now and stir well.


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 with unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, fresh strawberries or raspberries, and dried rose buds/petals. Or, serve with unsweetened plant milk of choice or use as a topping for strawberry shortcakes (w/ whipped coconut cream) or vegan strawberry coconut milk ice cream/frozen yogurt. Alternatively, use on top of a baked & frosted vegan strawberries n cream cake or use in strawberry coconut milk yogurt parfaits. Or, simply enjoy on its own. Serve. Enjoy! Happy Valentine's <3


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three weeks. Can also be stored in an airtight container at room temp for less time.


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