Even though health-minded, “all-natural” people are sometimes called “crunchy” or “granola”, I’ll admit that I’ve never made my own granola at home before until recently. I just thought that it was too much of a hassle, or I’d always miss an important ingredient in my pantry if I came across an interesting-looking recipe. Then the other day I decided to give it a try with this tropical granola recipe – and I was pleasantly surprised with how great it came out!
I’m calling this “tropical granola” because of its bright (but not overbearing) orange flavor that comes from fresh orange juice and orange zest. Add in dried pineapple, apricot chunks and optional shredded coconut, and you just might feel the rays of warm tropical sunshine on your face – who wouldn’t love that on a cold December day? 😉 Slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch while boosting the nutrition. I love a bowl of this granola in the morning with cashew yogurt or almond milk and some sliced bananas:
While most granola recipes I’ve seen online call for a liquid sweetener (maple or agave syrup, etc.) and quite a bit of oil, this recipe is sweetened with a whole-food mixture of dates and bananas, plus it can be made oil-free by skipping the optional tablespoon of coconut oil.
I don’t usually like to pat myself on the back, but I have to say that this tasted better (and definitely fresher) than the expensive store-bought granola. Even Rob, who’s not usually big on stuff like this, went for seconds 🙂
To sum this up: A healthy, easy to make, affordable, and delicious breakfast or a quick snack during the day? Sign me up!
Note: To make this batch of tropical granola, I used slivered almonds and dried apricots sent to me by GourmetNutsAndDriedfruit.com. I was impressed with the flavor and quality of their products, and will be using them in creating future recipes.
This healthy tropical granola recipe is naturally sweetened with bananas and dates. For oil-free version, skip coconut oil. For gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats.
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified GF for gluten-free)
- 1 cup chopped dates (about 8 large Medjool dates)
- 1 ripe banana
- zest of 1 orange
- 4 Tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (omit for oil-free)
- Slivered almonds
- Raw pumpkin seeds
- Chopped dried unsulfured apricots
- Chopped dried pineapple
- Shredded coconut flakes
- Dairy-free mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line 2 large naking sheets with parchment paper.
- Soak chopped dates in boiling hot water for 10-15 minutes, then drain (reserve the liquid) and add to a blender along with banana, orange zest, orange juice, and coconut oil (if using). Blend until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides. If the mixture is too dry, add 1-2 Tbsp of date soaking liquid - be careful not to add too much!
- In a large bowl, combine oats with the mix-ins. Stir in the blended banana-date mixture. Working with your hands, mix the raw granola until the liquid mixture evenly covers the dry ingredients.
- Spread the raw granola evenly onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the granola reaches a golden color, carefully mixing every 10-15 minutes. The granola will get crispier as it cools.
- If using optional mix-ins, add them once the granola is cool.
- Store in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
Question for you: What’s your favorite quick and easy breakfast?
Know someone who would love this recipe? Share it with them! And stick around for more awesomeness – subscribe to Vegan Runner Eats in the top right corner of this page to receive the latest posts, or follow the blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram!