Easy, healthy oil-free granola that happens to be vegan, and gluten-free, too! Vary the spices, nuts/seeds and dried fruits to make it your own unique blend.
Make Crunchy Granola without Using Oil
One of the perils of writing a food blog is this: I get so caught up with brain-storming ideas, new-found flavors, and interesting ingredients that I (more often than I care to admit) overlook the obvious.
For example, yesterday. My husband asked me to make his favorite granola, a recipe I concocted years ago and make throughout the year.
“This is on your blog, right?” he asked.
Oops. It wasn’t. But this post corrects my oversight.
What is Used in Place of Oil in Oil-Free Granola?
This is a great granola in so many ways: super-easy, versatile, and healthy, everything I like in a good recipe. What makes it special, though, is that it is oil-free, yet still produces crispy-crunchy, cluster-ific results.
Add the syrup-y mixture to a combination of oats and nuts/seeds, tossing to coat. The flax (or chia) binds the ingredients (hello, clusters) and also delivers enough fat for perfect crispness.
Vary the Ingredients to Suit your Tastes
The nut-seed-oat combination is variable. If you would like to make a super-frugal granola, or need to bypass all nuts and seeds (other than the ground flax/chia), replace them with more oats. Alternatively, sub with unsweetened coconut (flakes or shreds). It is all delicious.
Try to keep the edges from being too thinly spread; the edges bake faster due to their proximity to the pan’s edges, so keep them even.
Bake the granola at 300F for 32 to 38 minutes, stirring once halfway through the baking time. I prefer baking granola at a lower heat for a longer time to make sure it gets completely dried and golden brown, with less risk of overbaking or burning.
Remove the pan from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and then tamp down the warm granola with a spatula. Press hard! This simple step leads to lots of clusters!
Cool completely, without stirring, and then break into clusters, big or small.
If you like, add some chopped dried fruit. My husband and I love the granola best when made with cardamom, a mix of nuts and seeds (and, sometimes, unsweetened coconut flakes), and dried cherries (splurge!).
Here’s to the obvious! Happy cooking :).
More Healthy, Delicious Granolas to Try