chocolate, cherry and almond granola

Happy Easter Sunday everyone! I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you and that you are promptly going to gorge on chocolate. Hopefully this post can help you out…

I finally finished this massive bag of gluten-free cereal I’ve had in the cupboard since January. When I poured the last little bit out on top of a green smoothie I breathed a small sigh of relief. There’s something I hate about having food sit around the house for that long and I love the satisfaction of finishing something! But no sooner had I finished it and created that much needed space in the pantry, that I wanted more! I began scouring the internet for recipes to make my own cereal this time and instead of finding a recipe I wanted to make I just created a new craving- granola. Lazy as I was, I didn’t make any, but resolved to check out the selection at the grocery store when I went the next day.

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However I had pretty stringent requirements in the granola that not even a strong craving could make me steer from:

  • vegan
  • whole grain, gluten-free
  • low in added sweetener
  • no refined sugars (aka no corn syrup or white sugar)
  • low in added fat
  • only healthy fats (non-GMO, cold-pressed oils please)
  • no added flavours, just natural whole ingredients

Have you guys ever taken a good look at the typical granolas you find in grocery stores? Just looking at some of the labels left me shaking my head with disbelief- I was reading a “low fat” granola label that was being marketed as healthy but contained ingredients like: sugar, corn syrup AND molasses, modified corn starch, non-fat milk powder, wheat flakes, white rice, artificial flavours and BHT, a preservative. SO basically loads of sugar, gluten and processed ingredients. A quick wiki search on BHT led to research that showed that BHT might lead to hyperactivity in children and there is controversy surrounding the link between BHT and cancer. The research wasn’t conclusive but still, I’d rather err on the side of caution. So that put a stop in the grocery store granola plan.

Moving on to the health food section. While there were some that met my standards they were definitely a bit more money than I was willing to spend. The health foodie in me took over and trumped my laziness- I decided to make my own! Plus that way I could add exactly what I wanted to get the right taste. Problem solved! Except…

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Making granola was always so intimidating to me. For some reason the thought of having to combine dry and wet ingredients that would yield the perfect crispy granola that I wanted seemed so difficult, especially when you added all my very particular requirements on top of that I had bookmarked a couple granola recipes recently though that seemed like a good place to start. These 3 granolas were made by bloggers who I highly admire and they used no added oil in any of them! With very little added sugar to boot.

  1. Beet Granola at Choosing Raw
  2. Chocolate Buckwheat Granola at Almost Vegan
  3. Coconut Maple Granola with Cacao Nibs at In Pursuit of More

Armed with the idea that it was possible, I set out to create a granola that had all of my favourite things in it and was healthy. On the top of the list: chocolate. And so my very first homemade chocolate cherry almond granola was born!

The nutritional components of this granola are pretty awesome: whole grains (quinoa and oats) and protein from the quinoa and almonds. Only 2 tbsp of added sweetener in the whole recipe (not counting what is in the dried cherries) and tons of fiber.

The banana helps bind the ingredients together and adds sweetness without added sugar and fat and the cocoa powder, coconut and dried cherries are the perfect granola additions that provide pops of sweetness and tartness The coconut oil really helps it all bind together and get super crispy! Not too sweet, deeply chocolatey and lots of big clumps (the marker of a good granola in my opinion).

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Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Granola (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (could omit or use another liquid sweetener/stevia)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or another oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp water (if needed- if you have a larger banana, you might not need the extra liquid!)

Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine the wet in a small bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix well, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated in the wet mixture, add extra water if needed.

Bake for an hour or until completely dry, stirring once halfway to ensure even baking! Allow to cool then store in a container in the cupboard. Excellent with chopped fruit and almond milk!

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Ahhh granola craving satisfied.

And let’s pretend I didn’t buy another bag of that cereal today. Guess I’m covered for a while ;)

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21 thoughts on “chocolate, cherry and almond granola

  1. Hi
    Do you soak your quinoa over night for this granola or cook it on the stovetop and then use it? I would like to try this with soaked and sprouted quinoa and put it in the dehydrator to keep it mostly raw. I’ve made other granola’s in the dehydrator and they turn out great and no worry of burning it.
    thanks

    • I didn’t do anything to the quinoa in this case although I have sprouted and ehydrated quinoa before to use in raw granola and it worked well! I love raw granolas too :) This was one I happened to make before I had my lovely dehydrator so you’ll have to let me know how the raw version turns out!

  2. This looks so gorgeous Gabby – amazing! You’ve totally blown me away, I’ll be trying this! Love a good granola clump too :)
    Thanks for the nod too! You are always too sweet ;) xo!

  3. Looks amazing!! It’s hard to find a great granola that has everything you want at the store. So making your own is the best because then you decide what you want in it. I’d say yours is pretty much identical to what I would’ve chosen. Kudos to you :)

  4. Happy Easter Gabby! Chocolate and cherry is such a perfect combination, this granola sounds sooooo good and looks great! I love that you use nutrient dense ingredients too so it tastes decadent but is actually really great for you! Another great recipe :)

  5. I love making my own granola! You are right, conventional granola is full of trash and also tastes way too sugary, and the granola in the health food section is just way too expensive. This sounds like an excellent recipe, not only that chocolate and cherry and almond is a fantastic combination, but adding mashed banana is a genius idea. Adding quinoa is also an interesting idea I would’ve never thought about myself, but is something I would be curious to try. Good thing that I will be running out of granola the next days and can try your recipe :)

    • Quinoa gives it a great crunch and adds in some extra protein :). It’s not a very sweet recipe but it really deep and rich tasting which is so much better than that sugary stuff in stores!

      Let me know what you think :)

  6. This granola is healthy! It’s got cherries and almonds :D
    Therefore I shall be eating this for just about every meal for a week, it looks so good :)

    Happy Easter!
    Choc Chip Uru

  7. You’ve really got me on this one. I stopped making granola at home because of the oil and copious amounts of sugar (forget about store bought, as you mention) – but your recipe has totally manageable amounts! Add the chocolate AND cherries…oh yeah. Thanks!!

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