This healthy homemade granola has less added sugar thanks to the dates, and super crunchy and crispy!
When I first started trying to eat healthy, I didn't know what to believe or how to differentiate between "healthy" and "unhealthy." Of course, there's no absolute definition of "healthy," but for the most part it does not include tons of added sugar.
I would see a lot of health claims, like "organic," "whole grain," and "low fat," and believe this meant they were healthy. While it isn't always the case, "health foods" like these are often high in sugar (which is fine in moderation, but not for routine).
Granola quickly became one of my favorite foods, and I could justify eating a lot of it because it was usually low fat and high in fiber.
There are two main problems with this. One, there's so much sugar in it. Two, the serving sizes are ridiculously small. At one point I decided to measure out my granola to see how much I was really eating, and I found that the recommended serving size was usually ½ or even ¼ of what I would normally eat.
Long story short, I eventually decided to make my own granola from scratch that was lower in added sugar and high in fiber and protein. So here we are with this Healthy Peanut Butter Date Granola!
Ingredients in Peanut Butter Date Granola
Each ingredient serves a purpose!
Medjool Dates: medjool dates are a special kind of date that are extremely sweet, sticky, and caramel-like. Since they are a whole fruit, they are not considered as added sugar, and provide fiber and nutrients while sweetening the granola naturally.
Peanut Butter: do I need a reason for this? I'll just say peanut butter + granola=😍 if you don't have peanut butter, you can sub for any nut butter, or even a nut-free alternative (just keep in mind the taste will be different)!
Rolled Oats: Oats are the main grain in granola, and it's super delicious. It's also gluten free, and has a lot of fiber and protein!
Chia + Flax seeds: Both are high in fiber, protein, and omega-3s. I love the crunch it gives to granola.
Oil: Both avocado or olive work well in this recipe, but if you have a choice I would recommend avocado because the taste is more mild. Both provide healthy fats, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Oil is very important for a crunchy granola because it helps to crisp up the oats. Any other liquid would make them soggy.
Sliced almonds: Another crunch ingredient! Almonds are super healthy and delicious, but if you don't have them (or are allergic) it's fine to omit.
Maple Syrup: It's not as healthy as dates, but it's a powerful sweetener that can be healthy in moderation. If you only use dates, it won't be sweet enough, but if you only use maple syrup, it's too much added sugar. This recipe uses a balance of both for best results.
Salt and Vanilla: these are both flavor enhancers. You won't taste them, but they're very important to bring out the other flavors. If your peanut butter is salty, you can omit or reduce the amount of salt.
How to Make Peanut Butter Date Granola
It's actually pretty simple! It only requires one bowl, one food processor (or blender), and one tray to bake.
First, combine the oats, seeds, salt, and almonds in a large bowl.
Then, process dates, peanut butter, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
Combine the oats with the date/peanut butter mixture, then bake for 20 minutes.
Let it cool (so that it hardens), then break it up into pieces and bake again for 5 minutes. Cool, toss around on the tray, and bake again.
Repeat the process until you've achieved the desired crispiness. Remember, it hardens more when it cools.
The reason you have to mix it every 5 minutes is so that every area gets crispy, otherwise the bottom will get soggy.
How to Serve Peanut Butter Date Granola
There are so many ways you can eat granola, and that's part of the reason why I love it so much.
Probably my favorite way to enjoy is in milk (like how you eat cereal) because it's so refreshing.
I also like it in greek yogurt with berries, or as a topping to smoothie or oatmeal bowls. It's actually really delicious in a salad too!
Or of course, you can just eat it as is. Any way you choose to enjoy it, it's a delicious and healthy snack.
I really hope you like this recipe! If you decide to make it, be sure to post a picture and tag me @nutritiousdelights on Instagram--I'd love to see it!❤️
Healthy Peanut Butter Date Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons flax seeds
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup medjool dates about 6-7
- ½ cup natural peanut butter or almond
- 6-7 tablespoons maple syrup
- 5 tablespoons avocado oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt unless your peanut butter is salted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If your dates are hard, soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, seeds, almonds, and salt.
- In a food processor, combine dates, peanut butter, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Combine with the oats and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then let it cool completely to harden. Break it up into pieces and bake for 5 minutes, cool, mix it around, then bake another 5 minutes. Keep repeating this process (I usually do 2-3 times) until you've achieved the texture you want (more means it will get crispier). Keep in mind that it hardens when cooled.