By Team Dirty
Jun 11, 2022,
Oftentimes when we hear the word “granola” these days, it doesn’t refer to the food. Instead, it’s used to refer to modern hippies; people who prefer to keep things as natural as possible and maybe smell of patchouli. Or people like us who are all about eating those plants. We’re pretty confident anyone who doesn’t think of food when they hear the word hasn’t tried our Oil-Free Coconut Vanilla Granola because this stuff is incredible.
Lightly toasted whole grains are kissed with sweetness and luscious coconut. This versatile staple can be enjoyed for breakfast with a splash of non-dairy milk, bagged up for an on-the-go snack, or as part of a show-stopping brunch board. Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, the granola comes together quickly, so it’s easy to keep on hand. And it’s butter-free, and judgment-free to boot. Join us as we take back granola!
Oil-Free Coconut Vanilla Granola ingredients
Whole grain flakes: these flakes are the heart of your granola. Any variety will work, but we prefer a mix of rye, barley, wheat, and oat. Look for them in the bulk section of your health food store, or purchase online if your store doesn’t carry them.
Walnuts: adding a delicious depth of flavor and texture to your granola, we don’t recommend that you skip these. We have some substitution ideas below if you can’t find/use walnuts.
Unsweetened coconut flakes: don’t be fooled, coconut flakes are not the same as coconut shreds. Flakes are larger and will hold up to the heat of roasting better. Ensure your flakes are unsweetened to control the amount of sugar in your granola.
Dried dates: one of our favorite sweeteners, these beauties add a lovely, caramelly sweetness while also providing fiber, which makes them low on the glycemic index.
Tahini: this may seem like a strange addition to sweet granola, but it pulls double duty here. It helps coat our dry ingredients so they can roast without burning in the oven, while also providing a rich, nutty flavor that helps balance the sweetness.
How to make Oil-Free Coconut Vanilla Granola
First, let’s preheat our oven to 300ºF and set our dried dates in simmering water for about 10 minutes.
While that’s going, grab a large bowl and dump in your whole grain flakes, walnuts, and coconut. Give it a good stir to mix everything up. Set aside.
Drain your dates (discard the water) and drop them into your blender along with all of your other liquid ingredients. Give everything a whir until totally blended. How long this takes will depend on your blender, but plan on it being at least two minutes. Just enough time for you to line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Once your mixture is silky smooth, pour it onto your dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Give everything a good mix, being careful to coat all the granola well. This liquid mixture is going to keep our granola toasty without burning. Burned granola is not tasty.
Once your granola is nicely coated, transfer it to the baking sheet and spread evenly so it’s uniformly thick.
Stick it in the oven for 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off, use a spatula to flip everything over and bake for another 20 minutes until your granola is golden brown perfection.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on the counter or on a wire rack. Seriously, this stuff is crazy hot and it needs to cool for the crunchiness to set.
When cool, break it up into bite-sized pieces and serve with your favorite breakfast or eat by the handful. If you have any left over after your snack attack, keep in an airtight container, and it’ll keep for about five days. We like to keep ours in the fridge since it keeps it nice and crunchy. This recipe makes about four cups.
Substitutions and variations
Nothing makes us happier than when you make our recipes your own. We’ve got a few suggestions, but don’t let them keep you from experimenting and creating your masterpiece.
Gluten-free: for gluten-free granola, replace the whole grain flakes with a blend of certified gluten-free rolled oats (not instant), flaxseed meal, and chia seeds. Go heavier on the oats and lighter on the meal and seeds.
Walnuts: feel free to substitute with any other nut that holds up to toasting. For a nut-free version, pumpkin seeds work well.
Coconut flakes: if you have a coconut-hater in the house, you can leave it out completely. The final product will be missing a little bit of nuance and texture but will still be totally yummy. We recommend adding some dried fruit to your cooled granola if you skip the coconut.
Dried dates: you can substitute the dates with about a tablespoon of maple syrup. Taste the mixture for sweetness and add more if needed.
Fun variations: add dried fruit, like cranberries or golden raisins, after the granola is cool for an extra sweet pop of flavor, or switch up the spices and add cardamom or nutmeg to keep things interesting. If you’re feeling extra sweet, you can add some dairy-free chocolate chips and call it dessert.
- 2 cups whole grain flakes (160 g / any variety, we prefer a mix of rye, barley, wheat and oat)
- 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped (115 g)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (80 g / flakes are larger than shreds)
- ½ cup dried dates, pitted and simmered in water for 10 minutes (90 g)
- ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (120 ml)
- 2 tablespoons tahini (30 g)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For serving (optional)
- fresh fruit
- non-dairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Place the whole grain flakes, walnuts, and coconut into a mixing bowl and stir until the ingredients are combined.
- Place the liquid mixture ingredients into a blender and blend until totally smooth, about two minutes.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the mixing bowl with your dry ingredients and combine, making sure the granola is well coated.
- Line your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s) and evenly distribute the granola on the sheet(s).
- Bake for 20 minutes, flip the granola over and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Take the granola out of the oven and allow it to cool completely. When it's cool, transfer into a container and store in the fridge. Letting it cool and then storing it in the fridge will help make it crunchy.
- Serve however you prefer. We like it in a bowl, topped with fresh fruit and a splash of non-dairy milk.
Are you inspired to embrace granola? Or maybe you’ve always been down with the crunchiness. Either way, whip up our Oil-Free Coconut Vanilla Granola and drop a line in the comments. A delicious breakfast/snack/dessert awaits!
May your granola always be crunchy.
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Hurray!! Thanks, you two, for making this granola recipe available to me!!!
You are most welcome!
I thought I came for the granola… left with so much more. Well done. Thank you.
You are most welcome, my dear.
Are the whole grain flakes cereal?
Yep, whole grain flakes are suitable for cereal as they are thin from being rolled. You can find them in a store with an adequate bulk food section – it’s up to you which grains you’d like to use so if your local store doesn’t carry rye flakes, for instance, you could increase the ratio of another type of flake. If you see them packaged and labeled as cereal, check to be sure they are plain and don’t have added sweetener or other ingredients.
Team Dirty Girl
Can I just use oatmeal?
Following on from Kathy’s question above – can you just use plain rolled oats? Is that the same as flakes?
Hi Deanne, Yes! Plain rolled oats would work great here. Some packages call them oat flakes and others rolled oats or quick cooking oats. There may be differences in the size of the rolled oat vs flake but they’re all chewable as is. Stay away from steel cut oats because they would be super tough to chew in this type of recipe as they need more time soaking in liquid than this recipe would provide. ~Karen
How many servings does this recipe make?
Hi Janice, The recipes makes 4 cups of granola. It will depend on how much you use at a time. If you use 1/2 cup for cereal, that would be 8 servings. You could definitely use 1/4 serving size and get maybe 16 servings out of the recipe. Thanks for stopping by! ~Karen
Are the dates suggested in this recipe Medjool or the smaller ones?
Hi Mary – generally when we call for dates, we’ve used Medjool dates. However, smaller dates work too. Just may need more of them depending on how much sweet you like. ~Karen
How long does the granola last? How is it sorted-counter or fridge?
We recommend keeping in an airtight container in the fridge, and it’ll last for about five days. Cheers!