Easy Oven-Baked Banana Granola

One of the very first foods that I started making from scratch when I began leading a vegan lifestyle was granola. After trying so many different granolas, I still couldn’t find one I was just in love with, and then I realized how easy it would be to just make it myself. Now, every time I make this my sister swoons over the fact that the house smells like a Ben & Jerry’s (I think the scent is vaguely like a waffle cone, and she thinks it has something to do with the bananas). In any case, this granola is absolutely fantastic, foolproof, and totally adaptable. It’s flavorful and SUPER crispy. I’ve probably made it a hundred times. You can customize it with whatever add-ins you want at the end, but I like to keep things simple and just use a mix of oats, nuts, and seeds. I hope you try it and love it as much as I do. Enjoy with non-dairy milk or yogurt, fresh berries or fruit, or just eat it by the handful. I won’t judge.

IMG_5295

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 medjool dates, chopped and pitted
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (can omit or substitute for other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • optional add-ins: toasted coconut flakes, dried fruit, cacao nibs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt the banana, coconut oil, maple syrup, chopped dates, sea salt, and vanilla together until well-combined. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients (oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon) and mix together so everything is thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and use a spoon or your hands to combine well. The mixture should be only slightly wet. If it is too wet, add a couple more tbsps of oats. If it is too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
  5. Once oven is preheated, spread the mixture on a baking tray lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Mine fit evenly on one baking tray. You want an even layer and nothing too close to the edges, so definitely do two batches if things are over-crowding.
  6. Place in oven for 15 minutes, then stir to break up large clumps and ensure even cooking. Bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the granola inside for another 5 minutes.
  7. Remove granola from oven (granola may not yet be crispy but will crisp up as it cools).
  8. Place onto a cool surface (I used three large cool plates set atop cooling racks). This helps the granola get super crispy!
  9. At this point you can add in any optional ingredients you want. Store in a cool place in an airtight container. Enjoy!
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