Healthy granola (no sugar or oil)

Healthy granola (no sugar or oil)

healthy granola breakfast

It’s so beautiful out, the sun is out, the birds are chirping away like crazy, there is a gentle breeze in the air, my cat is frolicking in the grass, so all I really wanna do is to slump somewhere in the garden with a book in hand and a homemade ginger-mint lime-onade but work is calling so I thought I should make an appearance.

I know you are probably not in the mood for cooking either, so today I bring you my latest summer breakfast recipe that is delicious and healthy and serves as a perfect vehicle for all the seasonal fruit to be delivered straight to your mouth. It’s a healthier take on granola. This recipe uses no oil or any added sugar whatsoever (well, apart from my stem ginger cubes which you can replace with any dry fruit) and that’s how it’s been designed, so I’m accepting no complaints about it not being sweet enough 😉 .

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a more indulgent granola at all. In fact, I love it so much that whenever I make a batch, I won’t rest until I hoover it all up on the day I made it (!) so it’s a bit of a lethal substance in my house. However, I really don’t think your body needs any sugar first thing in the morning and I’ve found this sugar-free granola served alongside a few dollops of my favourite vegan yoghurt and a handful of strawberries makes my tastebuds totally happy and doesn’t make me reach for the maple syrup. I’m hoping you’ll agree.

This is a perfect warm weather breakfast and tastes even better after you’ve done some exercise first thing. Since we have been having some proper hot weather here in Bristol, I’ve decided that the only way I can ever go back to regular running – after I ditched it for a month due to post-vaccine fatigue first and then being away – is to wake up early and go first thing. I bet for many people that’s not a big deal at all, but for me – a night owl – it’s akin to torture. After talking about it for days, I finally managed to drag myself outside before it got too hot to trot (I mean literally) and did a 5K. It wasn’t pretty, my body isn’t used to it, but I am working on changing that. Today I’m resting my aching muscles a little and tomorrow is my second run, wish me luck! Coming back home to a few glasses of cold water and a cooling granola breakfast in the garden feels like such a treat!

healthy granola ingredients

healthy granola making

healthy granola mixing

healthy granola spreading

healthy granola tray baked

healthy granola jar top down

healthy granola jar

makes
1 L / 4 cups
PREP
15 min
COOKING
40 min
makes
1 L / 4 cups
PREPARATION
15 min
COOKING
40 min
INGREDIENTS

  • 120 g / ½ cup mashed ripe banana*
  • 15 g / 2 tbsp ground flax seeds or chia seeds
  • 25 g / 2 tbsp runny almond butter (or other nut / seed butter)
  • 170 g / 2 cups rolled jumbo oats (gluten-free certified if required)
  • 50 g / ½ cup chopped almonds or other nuts / seeds
  • 50 g / ½ cup chopped pecans or other nuts / seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • OPTIONAL ADDITION: 50 g / 1¾ oz stem ginger (3 balls), diced finely or dried apricots
METHOD
  1. Preheat the oven to 130° C / 265° F fan function (or 150° C / 300° F without the fan) and line a large baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix mashed up banana, ground flax and almond butter. Stir well until well combined and set aside for 10 minutes for flax to activate.
  3. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Spread the granola mixture on the prepared baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes. Rotate the tray and flip the granola pieces after about 20 minutes – use a spatula and be gentle if you don’t want break big clusters up.
  5. Allow the granola to cool down (it will crisp up) before using. Store in an airtight container. Use within a week.

NOTES
*This granola has no added sugar in any form so it isn’t very sweet. If you’d rather make it sweeter, sub ¼ cup of mashed banana with maple syrup, agave or other liquid sweetener. Alternatively, sprinkle with coconut (or other) sugar.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
437
22%
sugars
5 g
6%
fats
23 g
33%
saturates
2 g
12%
proteins
12 g
24%
carbs
51 g
19%
*per cup
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5.0
12 reviews, 32 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Catherine Conn:
Healthy Granola
I need your help, please. I'm about to take on this delicious-looking recipe but right away I got confused about measurements. Although I live in the US, I use a scale and measure in grams for almost all my baking. Here are the discrepancies I've noticed. I'm going to only ask about the measurement of ingredients that would affect the flavor or cohesion of the final product.
Recipe says: 170g / 2 cups rolled jumbo oats
According to Google, 2 cups US rolled jumbo oats comes in at 180g; 2 cups UK, 190g. When I measured 170g of oats it only comes in at 1.5 cups US. Which number is correct?
Recipe says: 25g / 2 tbsp almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
Several jars of nut/seed butters around my house say 2 tbsp = 30g. Again which number do I go by?
Recipe says: 15g / 2 tbsp ground flax seeds or chia seeds
When I measured out 2 tbsp US flax seeds the weight was 17g, close enough that it could have been operator error - mine!
I think I'd be all set to start if you could clear up the correct measurements for the rolled jumbo oats and the nut/seed butter
Thanks you for your help!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Catherine,
    I don't use cups either so you are safe to use all the quantities in grams as given in the recipe. The reason why you will find discrepancies when you search for 'how many grams of x per cup' online is because using cups to measure dry ingredients is inherently imprecise. It is not uncommon for two different cooks to arrive at different measurements as it really depends on how big the ingredient is, how it's measured (putting flour into a cup and levelling will give you different result than when you use your cup to scoop the flour from a bag, for example), how big the gaps between ingredients are (chopped strawberries, raisins, nuts) etc. Hope this makes sense and that you like the granola. Ania
Drew S.:
This tasted great, and it was nice to have natural methods of sweetening/binding the granola that are sustainable for the weight-loss journey I'm on, AND it tasted great too! I'll absolutely make this again!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Drew, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it and thanks for your kind words. Ania
SpicyQuincy:
this came out way better than i thought it would! crunchy and tasty like store bought granola!! super easy to make too & with less ingredients to go crazy over
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw thank you so much, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this sugar-free granola (I make it on a regular basis and it disappears quickly). Thank you for taking the time to review, much appreciated. Ania
Abi:
Make sure you mix the bicarb into the wet ingredients- otherwise you might get some little specs like I did the first time :) lovely tasty recipe, I’m now enjoying using it as a base for variations! (Also I have a sweet tooth, so I use one banana and then a dash of agave)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Delighted you enjoyed this granola, Abi! Thank you for taking the time to review, much appreciated. Ania
Chamomile:
First time made granola 🤩 don't like ingredients store bought one, so came here looking for a healthy version. I am soooo happy! thank you, it is perfect!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Delighted to hear that it was a hit with you, Chamomile. And thank you for taking the time to review, much appreciated. Ania
Frith:
I’ve been making this weekly for a few months now. It’s a great recipe and there’s lots of ways of adding variety to it. I use half a cup each of 2 kinds of whatever whole nuts are in the cupboard, and a half a cup of mixed seeds and leave the fruit out. I love the low sugar taste. The flax seeds work so well to bind it all together. Thanks for the recipe. A tasty, healthy addition to my yoghurt and fruit breakfast.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw thank you, Firth, I am really happy to hear that you have enjoyed this granola. I agree, as much as I have a sweet tooth (as evidenced by many sweet recipes on this blog), I don't necessarily want to have added sugar in my breakfast. I am glad you feel the same. x Ania
Kate:
Made this for my birthday breakfast and it did not disappoint. So tasty. We included the ginger stem balls, which are a great addition and substituted some of the banana with maple syrup as suggested. We served it with vanilla yogurt, blackberries and blueberries. Simply gorgeous, thank you. X
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw thank you, I am so happy to hear that it went down so well and honoured you chose it for you b'day breakfast - Happy Birthday fellow Libra! ;) x Ania
Geneen:
This sounds great! I'm looking for home made recipe for my husband who inhales store bought granola. I"m not worried about oil, just the sugar. Recipe says 5 g, but what is serving size? Bananas and dried fruit have huge amounts of sugar and the ginger root jar says 64 g of sugar for 100 g serving (which is big). Recipe has no "added refined sugar" but it sure has sugar which our bodies cannot tell refined from natural. Thanks for better options.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Geneen,
    Portion size is 1 cup as specified under the nutritional table. You cannot make granola without any type of sugar (mashed banana in my case). I mean you can but it will be savoury so I am not sure what to advise. I used a small amount of stem ginger and gave dried apricots as an alternative option, but you can omit that if you pefer - I find that they help with flavour an awful lot. Sugar in fruit (not fruit juice) is not metabolised exactly as table sugar - it's a myth - as it comes as a whole package, with fibre etc. - Dr Greger talks about it a lot - see this video. Hope this helps! x Ania
      Geneen:
      Ania - thank you so much! I am definitely going to try this now. I searched for that serving size everywhere but there!! Geneen
        Ania
        Ania:
        No problem and I hope you'll enjoy it! x Ania
Beth:
This granola is absolutely sublime! I didn’t have enough almond butter so subbed in one tbsp of coconut oil and also subbed in ground ginger for cardamom. Really satisfying taste even without any added sugar.
I’m just wondering if you think this will keep in an airtight container beyond 1 week - say 2 weeks? I would love to make a big batch of this to last a bit longer. I’m trying to make my granola rather than buy it now.
Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Beth, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! Yes, it does keep well - my main issue was fighting the temptation to walk up to the cupboard and snack of handfuls of it ;)... As long as you put it in a container with a tight seal so that it doesn't let any airborne moisture in, it will keep for 2 weeks easily. Hope this helps and thank you for reviewing. x Ania
      Pamm:
      I just keep mine in the fridge in an airtight container. It stays crisp.
        Ania
        Ania:
        Great to hear, Pamm. Thanks for sharing!
Allison:
I made this for the first time yesterday. When it was all toasted I could still distinguish the banana flavor however as it has cooled down the banana taste isn't so obvious. I added toasted pepitas and some sesame seeds and the sesame seeds are delicious in it. For the dried fruit I added Sulphur free dried apricots and some raisins. This will certainly be made again as I know what goes into my granola and a box of muesli here in Australia is about $8.00 and has added sugar. Thank you for another great recipe
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much Allison, I am delighted to hear that it was such a succcess for you and that you are planning to make it again. I agree, making granola at home is so quick and easy and even the most premium brands contain some form of added sugar and cost a fortune. x Ania
Cheryl A:
A standard in my house that never fails. Ive swapped the almond butter with sunflower seed butter or tahini and the banana for pureed pumpkin, squash or thick apple sauce.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you Cheryl, I am so pleased to hear that this granola has become such a staple in your house and thank you for taking the time to let me know, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Jane:
I made this recipe with my kids. I love teaching my kids healthy ways of cooking. We used what we had in the cupboard - tahini, sultanas, ground ginger & we did half ground flaxseeds/half chia seeds.
Delicious with some natural yogurt and frozen blueberries & blackberries.
I shall be making this for my niece who has dietary restrictions.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Jane! I am really happy to hear that you and your kids enjoyed my healthier take on granola. And many thanks for taking the time to leave this lovely review, it helps me a lot! Ania
Giulia:
This recipe is delicious, It has now become my go-to! I usually add a couple of tablespoons of vanilla protein powder to amp up the nutrition and make it just a tad sweeter. Thanks Ania!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Guilia! I'm really happy to hear that and protein powder sounds like a good ad-on, definitely! x Ania
Karina:
Dear Ania, thank you very much for the recipe. You perfected it to your usual high standard. I made granola for our trip to the Amazon and it turned out to be perfect. I added three dates chopped to bring a bit more sweetness as my bananas were not really ripe. And instead of ginger stems (that are hard to find in Brazil) I used a little bit of ginger powder to give it a little kick.
And I also wanted to tell you how much I respect your work. All recipes that I have tried so far are of very high quality. I do realize how much work it is to perfect it to this level. Thank you for your work of bringing tasty healthy and environmentally friendly food to people.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Karina, that's so nice to hear that you appreciate my recipes and see the work I put into them - it's lovely knowing that you make a difference to people's food choices. And so jealous of your Amazon trip, that must be - especially when you live in such an overpopulated country with very few green spaces like me - out of this world amazing! x Ania
Kay:
Hi, Is there a substitute for vanilla bean paste, it's too expensive?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kay,
    You can safely skip it or use vanilla extract / essence if that's what you have. Hope this helps! Ania
Zeshan:
Great!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks! x
Helen:
This is delicious thank you! I avoid granola as I can't stop eating it straight from the jar- zero self control. Same issue with this recipe but not such a problem as there's no added sugar/oil ... Much better! It works so much better than I thought it might given they all are coated in sugar and oil. Thank you for sharing!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Helen! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed this recipe. I so understand what you mean, I am a granola addict myself ;) Love the crunch and so I developed this recipe to help myself as well as others in a similar predicament. x Ania
Dora:
Oh this recipe seems great, I would love to try it as soon as I am back home. Quick question, if I understood it right, stem ginger is like candied ginger, right? The main difference is that one is dry, the other one is in a syrup?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Dora,
    Stem ginger is candied and preserved in syrup, candied ginger is just coated in sugar as far as I know. You don't have to use ginger though, chopped dried fruit like mango, apricots, raisins will be just as good. Hope you'll enjoy this granola! x Ania
Mindy Richmond:
What is stem ginger? Just chopped fresh ginger or the preserved ginger? I’ve never heard that term.
Linda Baron:
This looks great. I don’t eat granola with oil and sugar because I wouldn’t be able to stop eating it either. What’s the function of the baking soda. And can vanilla extract be used place of vanilla paste? Many thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Linda,
    Thank you, I hope you'll enjoy this sugar-free version. Baking soda makes it a little less dense, but you can skip it if you wish. And yes, vanilla extract is totally fine to use. Ania
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