Breakfast, food, nutrition, recipes, wellness

Peanut Butter Granola (Refined Sugar Free + Gluten Free +Vegan)

Happy New  Years Eve, babes!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are ready for the new year. To be honest, I always struggle with the new year…my favorite time of the year is over, January is my least favorite month…BUT it is all about mind-set–and this year, I’m focusing on what is GOOD, and I encourage you all to do the same. 🙂

If one of your goals this year is to make more foods from scratch, meal prep/plan, or just cook more at home, this peanut butter granola recipe NEEDS to be on your list. I know I have shared lots of granola recipes on here, but trust me. This one is the best yet!

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Lots of store bought granola’s can be high in fat and sugar. This recipe uses 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to help bind the ingredients to make a good, chunky granola (they’re my fave!). Other fat sources are found in natural peanut butter–a heart healthy fat to keep your hormones happy and your body fueled for the day. Instead of traditional granulated sugar, I use maple syrup and monk fruit sweetener. The maple syrup also adds a binding agent to the granola ensuring we get those chunks we want!

Why Monk Fruit Sweetener?
Have you ever heard of monk fruit? Since the Keto Diet emerged, monk fruit sweetener has been “on trend” because research shows it does not spike blood sugar like table sugar, making it a good alternative sweetener for those with diabetes, PCOS, or other chronic diseases. According to Michigan State University, monk fruit sweetener is derived from a southeast Asian fruit called “luo han gu” and is chemically processed (usually combined with eryitritol) to form a calorie free sugar alternative. Like stevia, monk fruit sweetener is a lot sweeter than regular cane sugar, so you can use less in a recipe (although most packaging companies state monk fruit has a 1:1 ratio with table sugar).

**Disclaimer: While I do like using naturally derived sweeteners (like maple syrup, honey, stevia, sugar alcohols, monk fruit, etc) because I can use less in a recipe compared to table sugar, I also believe that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle when not used in excess. I would not recommend someone use any of these alternatives in excess but to focus more on whole, natural, plant based foods.

Now onto the recipe! 
This peanut butter granola recipe is comparable to my favorite store bought brand, but I like making granola from scratch because it’s economical, easy, and minimal ingredients.

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you do not have monk fruit sweetener, no fear! Use 1/3-1/2 cup of maple syrup (instead of 1/4 cup) to give the granola the sweetness + binding factor for the chunky granola
  • Feel free to use any oil you have on hand–I like using coconut or avocado oil (high smoke point to decrease production of free radicals).
  • To make granola chunky: Pack the granola into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick on parchment paper lined sheet pan. If the granola is not packing well, you may need to add more maple syrup or coconut oil. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes, take out of oven and allow to cool completely. This is a crucial step to make the granola chunks.
  • Additional add ins: Once granola is cooled, you may add any toppings you like! Some ideas:
    • dark chocolate chips
    • raisins (or any dried fruit)
    • chia seeds
    • nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc)
    •  freeze dried fruit (like strawberries or apples)
  • To make a complete & balanced meal, add granola to protein smoothie bowls, Greek yogurt parfaits, or protein oats.

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Peanut Butter Granola

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener
1/4 cup Maple Syrup (or 1/3-1/2 cup of not using monk  fruit)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add oats. Set aside.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, add cinnamon, vanilla extract, coconut oil, peanut butter, monk fruit, and maple syrup. Microwave for 30-45 seconds until smooth–OR heat over stove top.
4. Pour peanut butter mixture over oats and coat well.
5. Pour granola mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. For chunks, press granola into a rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.
6. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Allow granola to cool completely (1 hour).
8. Break granola into chunks and store in air tight container.
9. Enjoy!

 

 



Sources:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/sweetener-stevia-monk-fruit-sweeteners

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