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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Sweetener-Free Vegan Keto Granola (Vegan, Keto, Sugar-Free, Unsweetened) (w/ Sweetened Option)

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

This granola recipe is a little different from my typical kinds. I almost always sweeten my recipes, granola included, with a healthy amount of sweetener (and let's be honest, it's usually carb-rich dates), and I typically make my granola with oats. However, this recipe for granola is keto and sweetener-free, for a refreshing (and healthier) change of pace. Nuts, seeds, shredded coconut, and coconut oil comprise the majority of this low-carb, 100% sugar-free granola. However, I have included a keto sweetener option for this granola if you'd prefer it to be sweetened. Let the guilt-free snacking commence!



This is my first keto recipe on The Dimpled Date! I also think it's my first unsweetened recipe on The Dimpled Date LOL (besides my Butternut Squash Soup recipe, which doesn't really count because it still has Granny Smith apple in it and it doesn't really require sweetener anyway). What can I say, I like my sweeteners...


You may be skeptical because this granola is unsweetened, but trust me, once you taste it you'll wonder why you ever needed sweetener in your granola. It has the wonderful flavor of freshly toasted nuts, seeds, and coconut with notes of cinnamon and vanilla. I came to really appreciate unsweetened granola after trying this (and that's coming from someone who has a MEGA sweet tooth). This Sweetener-Free Vegan Keto Granola is packed with nutrients that will nourish your body, give you long-lasting energy, and make you feel fuller for longer. It can be enjoyed for breakfast, for lunch, as a snack, or as a topping on desserts.



This granola is vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, keto, 100% sugar-free, and unsweetened. For those of you who don't know, the Keto Diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb diet. On the Keto Diet, you avoid carbohydrates (AKA starchy foods like potatoes, grains, rice, pasta, etc. AND sugary foods like white sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and, yes, even fruit), and instead you consume high-fat foods that have an average amount of protein. The point of the Keto Diet is to put the body into the state of ketosis where instead of using carbohydrates for energy, the body burns fat for an energy source. This is useful for those looking to lose weight quickly and has also been shown to help those with conditions such as epilepsy and cancer. (**PLEASE NOTE: I am not a licensed medical professional and in NO WAY should have my knowledge be interpreted as medical advice or suggestions for the treatment of ANY disease. I'm just sharing what research has shown**).


However, the Keto Diet isn't inherently vegan; in other words, you can eat dairy, eggs, and meat on the Keto Diet. Luckily, this granola recipe is keto as well as vegan and any and all keto recipes you find on The Dimpled Date will be 100% vegan (just like the rest of my recipes). The optional keto and non-keto sweeteners in this recipe are vegan as well.



Nutritional Profile of Sweetener-Free Vegan Keto Granola


Walnuts- walnuts are rich in healthy fats (including omega-3s), fiber, protein, iron, and other vitamins & minerals. Healthy fats are good for the brain, heart, and complexion. Fiber benefits the heart and digestive system. Protein builds muscle and is essential for numerous bodily processes, while iron builds red blood cells. Omega-3 fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat) have countless health benefits, including being good for the cardiovascular system, nervous system, joints, metabolism, immune system, eyes, skin, and hair. Try to get a ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s of at least 1:1 or 2:1 in your diet. (I also take a vegan algae oil supplement to get in extra omega-3s).


Pecans- pecans are an excellent source of healthy fats (especially monounsaturated fats), fiber, protein, iron, other minerals including zinc, and antioxidants. Monounsaturated fats are particularly good for your cardiovascular system because they have benefits such as lowering LDL, or "bad", cholesterol and triglycerides. The fiber in pecans aids digestion and also is beneficial to the heart. Protein builds muscle, iron helps form red blood cells, zinc boosts immune function & is a part of various bodily processes, and antioxidants can help prevent disease by fighting off free radicals (disease-causing particles in the body).


Almonds- almonds are packed with healthy fats, fiber (particularly soluble fiber), protein, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Healthy fats keep the heart healthy, nourish brain cells and support brain activity, and moisturize & nourish skin and hair. Soluble fiber is good for reducing bad cholesterol because in the digestive tract, it combines with water to form a gel-like substance that blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut. Soluble fiber is different from the well-known insoluble fiber (the kind that stimulates bowel movements), but both are extremely important for health and both kinds of fiber are found in almonds. Protein helps build bodily tissue such as muscle and is used in many body processes. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is beneficial for your skin and hair inside and out (for small cuts and abrasions, a vitamin E capsule can be broken open and the liquid inside can be applied to the injury). Generally speaking, antioxidants promote overall health and help prevent disease.


Shredded coconut- unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut is brimming with healthy fats (mostly healthy plant-based saturated fats), fiber, protein, iron, manganese, copper, potassium, and antioxidants. Believe it or not, the saturated fat found in plant-based products such as coconut may have potential health benefits as opposed to animal-based saturated fats which are known for their negative effects on health. The saturated fat found in coconut is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which the body uses directly for energy. You may have first heard of MCTs relating to the Keto Diet, which emphasizes getting in your MCTs. MCTs provide high-quality energy, may benefit heart health, may aid weight loss, and may be beneficial for the nervous system. Fiber is good for heart and digestive tract health. Protein builds muscle, iron builds red blood cells, manganese is good for your brain, metabolism, and thyroid, copper is good for bone and brain health, potassium helps lower blood pressure, and antioxidants ward off disease.


Sunflower seeds- sunflower seeds are filled with healthy fats, fiber, protein, vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and other vitamins & minerals. Healthy fats are good for your heart, brain, skin, & hair. Fiber aids digestion, while protein builds muscle. Vitamin E is good for skin & hair health. B vitamins are crucial for proper cellular function, and thus are essential for bodily processes, the production of new cells, and keeping cells healthy. Zinc helps with bodily processes including healing cuts and other wounds. Selenium may help prevent diseases and is important for the thyroid. Opt for raw, unsalted, unsweetened sprouted sunflower seeds (because sprouted are more nutrient-dense!).


Chia seeds- chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and iron. Omega-3s are good for everything from the brain to the heart to the eyes to skin & hair. Fiber is necessary for normal GI tract function, protein helps build bodily tissue, and iron is needed for healthy blood cells. Chia seeds can also be used in such recipes as chia puddings, overnight oats (check out my overnight oats recipes on The Dimpled Date!), raw granola, smoothies, and even desserts.


Flaxseed- flaxseed (and thus flaxseed meal, which is simply ground flaxseed) is chock-full of healthy fats (including omega-3s), fiber, protein, and iron. Omega-3s benefit everything from your metabolism to your joints to your immune system. Fiber aids digestive health. Protein builds muscle, and iron forms healthy red blood cells. Opt for flaxseed meal because the nutrients in flaxseed are more easily absorbed by the body when flaxseed is ground into meal.


Coconut oil- coconut oil is loaded with healthy fats and beneficial plant compounds. Coconut oil is a particularly rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), may be good for the heart, and may have antimicrobial properties. Try purchasing unrefined, cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil.


Cinnamon- cinnamon is a good source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, may help regulate blood sugar, may have antimicrobial properties, and may help prevent diseases in general. To maximize health benefits, try Ceylon, or "true" cinnamon (be warned, however, that Ceylon cinnamon is more expensive and more difficult to find. Cassia cinnamon, which is what most people are talking about when they refer to "cinnamon", still has health benefits, but should be consumed in moderation and Cassia cinnamon doesn't boast as great of a nutrient or flavor profile as Ceylon cinnamon).



Substitutions


Any of the nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds) can be substituted with your nuts or seeds of choice. I think peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, and/or pumpkin seeds would work nicely. Just make sure that the nuts are raw, unsweetened, and unsalted. Any of the seeds (sunflower, chia, flaxseed) can be substituted with your nuts/seeds of choice such as pumpkin seeds, hempseed hearts, sesame seeds, even poppy seeds, and/or the nuts mentioned above. As with the nuts, just make sure the seeds are raw, unsweetened, and unsalted. Another option is to just leave out the nuts or seeds you can't do and substitute them with extra of the nuts/seeds recommended. The unsweetened shredded coconut can be replaced with unsweetened desiccated coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes, extra nuts/seeds, or may be omitted (I highly recommend using it or finding a substitute, though). Also, instead of flaxseed meal you can use whole flaxseeds.


Alternatively, some of the nuts and/or seeds can be replaced with 2 cups gluten-free oats, leaving a maximum of 1 cup of nuts/seeds in the recipe. If looking for an oat-based, sweetened granola recipe for something different entirely, check out any of my granola recipes on The Dimpled Date such as my Peanut Butter Granola or my Pumpkin Granola. The coconut oil can be swapped out with any kind of neutral-flavored vegetable oil, such as avocado oil or sunflower oil (although the coconut oil is highly recommended). The vanilla extract can be replaced with the equivalent amount of sugar-free vanilla bean paste OR sugar-free vanilla bean syrup. Or you can replace the vanilla extract with almond extract. The cinnamon can be substituted with the equal amount of pumpkin spice (for an autumn-y version), a pinch to 1/2 tsp ground cloves (the flavor will be potent with the higher amount, however), or can be omitted, but I highly encourage that you use it if you can because it lends this granola a lot of its flavor. You may use either Ceylon ("true") cinnamon or Cassia cinnamon.


As far as the options go if you want your granola to be sweetened, you can use 1/4 cup date paste, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, date sugar, or even brown sugar (if you can have refined sugar) and add more, to taste (although, none of these sweeteners are keto). For a keto sweetener, you can use 1/4 cup of Swerve Sweetener Granular OR 1/4 cup Swerve Brown Sugar Replacement, as both of these are 100% sugar-free and carb-free artificial sweeteners (the good news: Swerve tastes, looks, and measures just like sugar with no aftertaste!). Another keto sweetener option is using an artificial sweetener such as pure, whole-leaf stevia OR 100% monk fruit, to taste. You can use any liquid, powdered, granulated, or even flavored (such as maple syrup-style or vanilla) artificial sweetener, as long as it incorporates into your granola. Of course, if you'd prefer not to use a sweetener, then just leave out the optional sweetener.



Weekly Sneak Peek..


New recipes are on the way!! Some recipes I have been experimenting with/perfected already include:


-Vegan Dalgona Matcha Latte

-Date-Sweetened Peppermint Bark

-No-Bake Low-Carb Vegan Protein Bars ..


AND MORE!!


I hope you all enjoy this yummy granola recipe. If you're skeptical, trust me, just give it a try and see for yourself how delicious and wholesome this granola is.


As always,

Enjoy! <3

-K.



Sweetener-Free Vegan Keto Granola (Vegan, Keto, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Unsweetened) (w/ Sweetened Option)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: approx. 4 cups granola


Ingredients:


-1 cup raw, unsalted walnuts

-1 cup raw, unsalted pecans

-1 cup raw, unsalted almonds

-1/4 cup unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut

-1/4 cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds (I like to use sprouted sunflower seeds)

-1/4 cup chia seeds

-1/4 cup flaxseed meal

-1/4 cup unrefined virgin coconut oil (or neutral-flavored vegetable oil of choice)

-1 tsp ground cinnamon

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-Optional sweetener (for keto): 1/4 cup of Swerve Sweetener Granular OR 1/4 cup Swerve Brown Sugar Replacement OR pure stevia, to taste OR 100% monk fruit, to tase OR artificial sweetener of choice, to taste (the sweetener can be granulated, powdered, brown sugar-style, liquid, or flavored)

-Optional sweetener (NOT keto): 1/4 cup date paste + more, to taste (see Detoxinista's recipe for date paste!)


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a large silicone baking mat. Chop the walnuts, pecans, and almonds OR your nuts/seeds of choice (if necessary, e.g. chia seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds obviously don't need to be chopped // see the "Substitutions" section of this post for suggestions on alternative types of nuts/seeds to use). Make the date paste ahead of time if sweetening granola with date paste.


2. Combine the chopped nuts in a large bowl. Add the shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flaxseed meal OR nuts/seeds of choice and stir to combine. Add the cinnamon and stir.


3. If using a sweetener other than the date paste, add it to the granola now and stir until incorporated. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove over very low heat until just melted. Allow to cool slightly.


4. If using the date paste to sweeten, add the date paste to a small saucepan on the stove with the coconut oil and melt together over very low heat until just melted and the date paste is at least somewhat incorporated, stirring as necessary. Allow to cool slightly.


5. Pour the melted and slightly cooled coconut oil (or melted and slightly cooled coconut oil & date paste) over the granola and stir until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.


6. You can add any other add-ins now if you want, such as other spices/extracts (start with a little and taste, adding more until desired flavor is reached) or a handful dried fruit (though dried fruit isn't keto).


7. Spread the granola into a single, even layer on the lined baking sheet.


8. Bake in the preheated oven (at 325 degrees F) for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. The granola should just start to look golden brown on the edges, should not be sticky (wet) to the touch, and should have a fragrant, toasted smell.


9. Allow the granola to cool completely (the flavors develop more as the granola cools and the granola forms clusters as it cools). Serve with unsweetened coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened plant milk and fresh fruit, as a topping on keto pancakes or waffles, as a garnish for smoothies or freakshakes, as a topping on a dessert such as vanilla coconut milk ice cream, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for later use. Enjoy!


Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Granola will keep for at least 1 month if stored this way.

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