Fun fact about me : I love all things CRUNCHY (and I must admit, not always healthy...) My two ultimate guilty pleasures are:
Chips // salt and vinegar are my absolute fave!
Fries // if you have never tried Costco fries, where have you been?! You are missing out on the world’s crispiest fries!
I could eat soooo much of these two foods. If they were not as fatty, I would probably eat fries and chips every single day...
On the other hand, a crunchy food I never restrict myself of is GRANOLA.
I love the fact that granola is super crunchy, can be enjoyed on its own and with milk, is super nutritious and has full of nuts – I mean who can resist the decadence of nuts!
Lately, you might have noticed that I have been trying to reduce the amount of processed sugar I eat. I have been replacing white sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar and even maple syrup with dates. Unfortunately, in a recipe you cannot simply swap out let’s say a cup of sugar with a cup of dates without affecting the texture of your food.
That is why I am here: to share with you some healthy, sugar free alternatives to your favorite recipes. I already have a number of sugar free recipes on my blog, but I thought that you’d love an alternative to traditional maple syrup or coconut sugar-sweetened granola.
That is how this crunchy, sugar free granola came to life!
For the base of this recipe, I used old fashioned oats + puffed brown rice. I had tried to add puffed rice to a batch of granola in the past and absolutely looooved the crunchiness it added so I thought it’d be a perfect addition to this granola recipe.
Also, because I had looooots of seeds and seed butter in my pantry, I made this granola 100% nut free. However, if you are allergic to seeds or simply prefer using nuts in your granola, feel free to swap out the sunflower seed butter with almond butter as well as the sunflower and pumpkin seeds with your favorite nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans...).
Lastly, you may notice that this granola is a bit darker than traditional granola. Nope, it ain’t burned... The reason for this darker hue is because I used date sugar to sweeten it. Date sugar made simply by dehydrating dates then grinding them into a sugar-like texture (here is an awesome recipe for making your own). For the purpose of keeping this recipe sugar free, I used date sugar, but if you don’t have any on hand or don’t want to make it, you can always use coconut sugar instead OR keep it sugar free by simply adding some dried fruits to your granola right before storing it in jars. This will ensure you add sweetness to every bite ;)
Anyways, I am done chit chatting about this granola and my love for crunchy foods.
I really hope you guys try it and if you do, snap a photo, share in on social media and tag me @muriellebanackissa in it ;)
The Crunchiest Sugar Free Granola
Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 35 minutes
Total time : 45 minutes
Yield : 4 heaping cups
1/2 cup packed pitted dates (+/- 10 dates)*
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 cups puffed brown rice
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
4 tbsp date sugar**
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 300ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Add dates, coconut oil and sunflower seed butter to a medium saucepan heat on medium heat.
Once the coconut oil and the sunflower seed butter have melted, mix and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can blend this mixture using an immersion blender. Set aside.
To a large bowl, add the remainder of the ingredients and mix.
Transfer the date-coconut-sunflower seed butter mixture onto the dry ingredients. Mix using your hands to incorporate - the mixture will be very sticky at this point.
Transfer granola onto the prepared baking sheet and press down with your hands, forming a uniform layer.
Bake for 15 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, toss the granola around and rotate the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Enjoy on its own as a snack, as a topping on smoothie bowls or with your favorite milk.
* I used mazafati dates for this recipe, but feel free to use any dates you have on hand. If your dates are hard, make sure to soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes, drain and use in the recipe as indicated.
** Don't have date sugar? Swap it out with coconut sugar or keep this recipe sugar free by adding 1/3 cup raisins after baking.