Banana Nut Granola
The Granola Problem: Addictive personalities
We have a granola problem at our house. Like some people have a drinking problem, we have a granola problem. There is no such thing as too much granola.
However, since the Great Coconut Debacle of 2016, I’ve had a trust issue with store-bought granola. Ry and the kids aren’t bothered by the occasional chunk of coconut in their granola, but it makes me want to die. I am not being hyperbolic. I hate coconut with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.
Since then, I have purchased granola for their consumption. When I want granola, I make it myself. Pretty easy when you can use sugar and salt and oil.
A few months ago, we began paying more attention to ingredients and reading food labels more closely. Turns out, most of the granola sold in the store are full of extra sugar, salt, oil…lots of extra shit that our bodies can’t properly process.
The Challenge: Make homemade granola without using sugar, salt, or oil.
I turned to Google for “Vegan Granola Recipes” and found a shit ton. Every one of them contained at least one of the offending ingredients. So, I took inspiration from several, and decided to take a crack at it in the laboratory.
The Ingredients: Dry + wet
Making granola is basically about mixing up dry materials, coating them in something sticky and roasting it until it’s a chunky, chewy or crunchy (depending on preference) cereal-like treat.
The dry part is easy: rolled oats plus a bunch of good-for-you, unsalted, raw nuts and grains. I used rolled oats, hemp seed, walnuts, pecans, chia seed and flax seed meal.
The gooey part was a little more difficult: I ended up using mashed banana, organic (100% pure) maple, water.
The Results: Tasty af
The result of my experiment? Fucking phenomenal. Tasty af as fuck. It was crunchy and sweet and tasted like god damned banana walnut muffins. I would assume it has a shelf life of at least 2 weeks, when stored in an air proof container, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to test this: it lasted about 16 hours in my house.
Banana Nut Granola
Crunchy, sweet homemade granola that tastes like god-damned banana nut bread. Tasty af, without using sugar, oil, or salt.
The Dry Stuff
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 3/4 cup halved walnuts unsalted, raw
- 1/2 cup halved pecans unsalted, raw
- 1 cup any combination of seeds: chia seed, sunflower seed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed *optional
- 1/4 cup flax seed meal *See variation
- 1 tbsp Penzey's Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon more or less, to taste
The Wet Stuff
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup NOT pancake syrup!
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
Preheat oven to 350º.
Line two baking sheets (or cake pans) with parchment paper. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Put the vanilla, maple, and water into a saucepan. Whisk together over low heat.
Add the mashed banana to the saucepan, whisking into the rest of the goo.
Keep whisking wet ingredients over low heat until it begins to thicken into a chunky syrup. (About 2 minutes)
Remove saucepan from heat and pour contents over dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to mix, coating all of the dry pieces. This may look a little bit dryer than you expect it to.
It should form a ball when pressed together. If it doesn't, add a little bit of water. If it's too wet, add a little bit of oatmeal.
Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, press the granola into the bottom of the baking sheets. You want it to be a thin layer.
If you prefer less-chunky granola, spread it out. I like chunks, so I press it closely together.
Bake for about 20 minutes, total.
Begin checking it at about 15 minutes.
If you don't want big chunks, shake the pan to separate the pieces.
When it's done, it should be mostly golden brown, with some darker brown chunks along the edges.
Remove from oven and place the baking sheets on a cooling rack. As it cools, it will become crunchier. Store in an air-tight container and hide from freeloading kids.
Mix the flaxseed meal with the wet ingredients, instead of the dry. Adjust the amount of water used to 1/2 cup.