Three-Ingredient Protein Granola with Flavor Ideas (healthy, vegan, oil free, gluten free + sugar free)

As a kid, I used to eat cereal at least three times a day–breakfast, snacking, dessert, and probably more snacking at night. It’s no surprise that my pantry used to be STOCKED with so many different kids’ cereals that I basically created my own cereal aisle in my own home. Who needs to go to the grocery store when I have a pantry with enough of them?

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Once I dove more into the health and fitness world, my interests diverted from those child-marketed cereals that are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients towards more natural brands that used primarily whole grains. Granola served as an revolutionary discovery. There was no turning back once I purchased my first box of granola (I believe it was this pumpkin flax granola from Nature’s Path and it’s still a favorite of mine!) and I became hooked ever since.

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My addiction was almost dangerous. I could eat five cups of granola in one sitting without a problem–to be quite honest, my record was most likely ten cups with multiple servings of almond milk. Eventually, I recognized that the last five pounds to lose just did not shed off because of my excessive consumption of granola, so I nixed it out of my kitchen entirely for several months, even a year. If anything, I’m certain that I didn’t even eat any other kinds of boxed cereal during that time frame either, maybe even longer. After that period of time, I slowly incorporated granola back into my diet and was able to consume it in more reasonable qualities. Obviously, I made sure to stick to the healthiest varieties possible that weren’t loaded with fat and added sugar.

 

With that being said, despite how I overcame that danger zone of granola dependency, I still found myself munching away at the granola bin in my pantry almost every trip to the kitchen. Even little handfuls would just eat away at the stash, and little did I know that we’d be out of granola within the next few days. I also came to discover that store-bought granola almost always is loaded with ingredients that I personally don’t cook with, including granulated sugar, oil, preservatives, flour, and more.

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In my food science courses, I’ve learned that every component in a food product plays a specific role in its sensory, safety, and nutritionality. You need every single ingredient on the label to optimize at least one of those disciplines. It’s not like a company will throw in an artificial food dye or a form of sugar just for the sake of it. There’s much more depth in the recipes. But regardless, you do not need that many ingredients in your kitchen to be a star chef. In fact, you can make the best dishes with as many ingredients as you can count on one hand!

With that being said, while I have made a pancake batter granola recipe and a superfood peanut chocolate caramel granola recipe before, I still primarily stuck with the packaged products out of convenience. Just recently, on the other hand, I finally boarded the homemade granola train. To be frank, I don’t think I’ll be hopping off a stop anytime soon! There are SO many reasons why homemade granola is the BEST:

  1. There is full control of what ingredients are included.
  2. Cooking granola is extremely easy.
  3. Cleaning time and amount of equipment is very minimal–you just mix everything in one bowl!
  4. You can make as many servings of granola as you’d eat in one sitting.
  5. All kinds of flavors can be played with!

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This granola recipe is absolutely fabulous because it only requires three ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen already! You don’t even have to use protein powder, so that makes this a two-mandatoryingredient recipe! How fab is that?! Personally, I find that protein powder aids in boosting protein content, but also in toasting the oats because the components in the powder further dry out the grains while baking.

Listed after the main recipe are several ideas for varieties–most of which I’ve tested out to be very successful. However, the sky doesn’t even suffice the limit of the types of granola you can make. There are probably countless ideas that I don’t even have with this recipe. Let me know what your favorite flavors and ingredients are to share the endless ways to create granola!

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RECIPE (makes 2 1/2 cups of granola)

  • 2 cups of gluten free rolled oats; quick oats also work!
  • 1 serving of vegan protein powder
  • 1/2-2/3 cup of sugar free maple syrup; you can use regular maple syrup, but the recipe will no longer be sugar free
  • Flavorings of choice:
  • Other add-ins of choice: shredded coconut, chia seeds, freeze-dried berries, chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, etc.

FLAVOR IDEAS

  • Chocolate: Granola recipe + 1/4-1/3 cup cacao/cocoa powder
  • Peanut butter: Granola recipe + 1/4 cup peanut butter (or 1/4 cup peanut butter powder + 3 TBSP water) + 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
  • Coconut chia: Granola recipe + 1/2 cup shredded coconut + 1/4 cup chia seeds + 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • Spirulina: Granola recipe + 1/2 tsp spirulina powder
  • Golden maca: Granola recipe + 1/2 tsp turmeric + 2 tsp maca + 1/8 black pepper
  • Almond butter: Granola recipe + 1/4 cup drippy almond butter + 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Red velvet (pictured): Granola recipe + 1 TBSP beetroot powder + 12-15 drops of chocolate monkfruit drops
  • Chunky monkey: Granola recipe + 1/2 cup banana chips + 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks + 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Cinnamon raisin: Granola recipe + 2-3 tsp cinnamon + 1/3-1/2 cup raisins

PROCEDURE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix in the oats and protein powder evenly.
    1. If adding in other powders or spices, mix in with the oats and protein powder. If adding in dried fruit or any other type of dry ingredient, mix in with the granola after it has cooled entirely.
  3. Slowly stir in the maple syrup and other wet ingredients.
  4. Continue stirring until there are no clumps and everything is fully incorporated.
  5. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Spread out the granola until it fills the tray.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the oats have toasted well and browned.
  8. Let cool completely before serving.

CHOCOLATE

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PEANUT BUTTER CUP

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Do you stash a ridiculous amount of one type of food in your kitchen? What would you include in your granola?

 


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