Made with simple ingredients, this Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola is full of protein and healthy fats to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping you full. Pour it in a bowl with milk, add it to yogurt, or eat it by the handful for a delicious snack or easy meal!
Goodbye Additives, Hello Deliciousness!
Everyone loves a good granola recipe, am I right? This one in particular has quickly become one of my faves! With recipes like Raspberry Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Strawberry Chocolate Parfaits, and Chocolate Tahini White Choco Covered Banana Bites, it’s clear I’m a huge fan of fruit with my chocolate. Yet, sometimes I need something crunchy with my sweet. You feel me? That’s where this vegan granola recipe comes into play.
Honestly, I’m obsessed with granola, but after looking at my local grocery store options, I was less than impressed with their ingredient lists. I mean, why is there SO much sugar? Plus, they’re loaded with added ingredients and preservatives. No, thank you. I knew I could do better, and I did! Using healthy ingredients, I achieved the perfect healthy granola. It’s high in protein (I used Nuzest, obviously. Feel free to use code: thekellykathleen if you want to try it out!), full of healthy fats, and loaded with flavor.
So, what are you waiting for?! Let’s get baking!
The Best Simple Granola Recipe Ingredients & Their Benefits
Unlike other granola recipes I see that seem to contain roughly 1 million ingredients, I kept this list as short and sweet as I could. Trust me when I say, each ingredient below is well worth adding for both its taste and health benefits!
Oats – Considered a complex carb, oats are full of fiber and antioxidants. As a result, they help regulate digestion, lower blood sugar, and more!
Cashews – Cashews are a great source of healthy fats and plant protein. Low in sugar and high in fiber, they can help boost your immunity, improve your bone health, and increase brain function among other benefits.
Walnuts – Walnuts are an incredible source of omega-3 fat (that’s the good kind). They can help decrease inflammation, promote a healthy gut, and reduce the risk of cancer.
Dried Tart Cherries – Cherries are a good source of fiber, potassium, copper, iron, and vitamins C, A, and E. Plus, they’re super tasty!
Flaxseeds – In case you didn’t know, flaxseeds are basically a nutrient powerhouse. Including them in your diet can improve your heart health, prevent cancer, and improve your cholesterol levels.
Maple Syrup – Often mislabeled as being unhealthy, maple syrup is packed with antioxidants that can help fight inflammation, prevent cancer, and promote better skin health.
Tahini – Tahini is a great source of healthy fats. It’s also high in phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B1, and vitamin B6 that help improve your bone density and play critical roles in energy production.
Cacao Probiotic Protein – Not only is protein crucial to maintaining optimal health, this Cacao Probiotic protein from Nuzest is made with gut-friendly ingredients to help regulate your digestion.
Chocolate Chips – Adding dark chocolate to your crunchy granola is an easy (and tasty) way to boost the amount of antioxidants you’re getting in each bite. As if we needed another reason to eat more chocolate.
Optional Add-Ins & Alternatives
This simple granola recipe is already pretty packed full of ingredients with amazing taste and texture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add to it! If you’re looking to get a little experimental in the kitchen, take a look below at some of my favorite alternatives and add-ins to get you started!
Dried Blueberries – If you don’t like dried cherries, blueberries would work just as well. Just don’t use freeze dried fruit!
Coconut Flakes – Coconut flakes are a great way to add even more texture to your granola.
Banana Chips – Who doesn’t love the combination of bananas and chocolate? Add them in addition to or in replace of cherries for a salty sweet combo.
Nuts – For this recipe, I used cashews and walnuts, but any nuts you prefer would work just as well! I recommend using pistachios or almonds, and be sure to stick with raw nuts or seeds as they will toast up while in the oven. You don’t want your nuts to burn! (Ha! Please tell me you giggled, too.)
Cacao Powder – If you aren’t concerned with the protein content, swap it out for cacao powder for an even richer chocolatey taste.
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds are full of healthy fats and will help the ingredients stick together if you prefer clumpier granola. However, if you add them, I would suggest removing the flaxseeds!
Baking Tips for this Vegan Granola Recipe
This recipe is pretty foolproof except for the fact that you have to press the granola down slightly while also keeping it in one big chunk on the baking mat – think post COVID where you just want to hug everyone. That’s what this granola needs to do. Once donce, leave it alone! I cannot stress this enough! The clumps form AFTER the granola gets pulled from the oven. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true.
Also, don’t go too heavy handed on the liquid ingredients. Otherwise, you’re granola will be soggy, and nobody wants soggy granola.
Serving Suggestions for Gluten-Free Granola
In my opinion, there’s no wrong way to eat this healthy granola. For instance, my favorite serving method is by the handful. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated, try adding it to a bowl with your favorite milk, using it as a topping for yogurt, mix it into oatmeal, or sprinkle it over apple slices!
The great thing about this simple granola recipe, other than how easy it is to make, is that it can be prepped ahead of time for easy snacking! Once cooked, place it in an airtight container, and keep it at room temperature for 2-3 months. Or, if you want to plan way ahead, pop it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Then, to thaw it, just pop it back in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up.
How to Make Crunchy Granola
The key to making crunchy granola is to keep your oven on a low temperature. Otherwise, the ingredients will burn rather than crisp. Make sure the granola is evenly spread on a baking sheet, and stir it from time to time.
More Easy Snacking Options
Let me know your favorite way to eat granola in the comments below or pop over to IG and let me know via DM’s!! Give me a follow over there too if you haven’t already – I like all the friends!
Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola
- 2 cups oats gluten-free if needed
- 1/2 cup raw cashews chopped
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts chopped
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup dried tart cherries chopped
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2-3 tbsp Cacao Probiotic Protein by Nuzest alternatively use cacao powder for an even richer taste
- 1/2 tsp flakey sea salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate I used hukitchen but use whatever
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients together except for the optional chocolate. Make sure to stir well!
- Spread the granola out on the parchment paper, making sure to press down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Once baked, let cool completely (like compleeeeetely) before touching. This will be excruciating. A sexy man you can’t touch kind of deal.
- Once the granola is completely cooled, break it up into big chucks before tossing in the chocolate. Enjoy by itself or with plant-based milk
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