Chocolate-Hemp Granola

chocolate hemp granolaGranola seems to be one of those things people loathe as a child and love as an adult. At least, that’s been the case with me. Then again, granola may have gotten a lot better taste-wise over the years, as we’re now lucky enough to live in an age when healthy eating has become more than just a fad reserved for those uninterested in eating tasty food. In fact, these days “healthy” and “granola” are not necessarily even synonymous. Often, granola is loaded with butter and/or sugar. It can also be quite high in fat, as well. And while not always a bad thing, fat is something to avoid eating in excess. So for all those people characterizing super healthy vegan fare as “granola” – you might want to re-think your descriptors.

This granola, though, can still be considered “granola” granola, if you know what I mean. But that’s not to say it’s not tasty. This version is crunchy, sweet and so addicting with a little banana and almond milk. Subtly infused with chocolate, when eaten with milk (non-dairy, of course), you’ll find the added benefit of a nice little bit of chocolatey milk to slurp when your granola is gone. But high in fat, oil or sugar it is not. And that was the goal here — so that I don’t feel quite so guilty loading up my bowl to keep full between breakfast and lunch.

I added hemp seeds to this for some added Omega-3 fats and protein. You can sprinkle some more on top, as shown in the picture, if you’d like. I love to add sliced banana to my bowl, but you can also add fresh berries, sliced pear, or whatever fruit is in season.

And, to borrow a line from one of my favorite movie characters from my favorite movie of all time: that’s all I have to say about that. Not because I couldn’t think of more things to say about this granola. I could, sadly, expound further upon granola and many foods for that matter. But I have made a promise to myself to not push myself too hard to write so much here when I’m busy with other things. It’s part of my ongoing effort to keep my life and priorities in balance. On that note, I hope you enjoy this healthy, oil-free treat as much as I did. More on how well that effort is working out for me in another post.

Chocolate-Hemp Granola:

Makes about 3 1/2 – 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup hemp hearts

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut nectar

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (oats through cinnamon). Add remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon until well-combined.

3. Pour oat mixture onto lined baking sheet and lightly spread with a spoon to break up any large pieces. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and let granola cool completely before eating. It will harden and get crispy as it cools.

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