How to Make Grain Free Granola {Step-by-Step}

Grain Free Granola / The Nourishing Home

One crunchy bite is all it takes to become completely smitten with this grain free granola. Its slightly sweet cinnamony flavor with rich vanilla undertones combines beautifully with crisp toasted coconut and your favorite fresh or dried fruit. It’s perfect with a splash of almond milk, or as a topping for yogurt parfaits and ice cream.

Grain-Free Granola / The Nourishing Home

Since going grain-free, I’ve slowly been finding new ways to make old favorites. And since my gluten-free granola is a tough act to follow, it’s been slow going to find a grain-free way to capture the crunchy, yet chewy texture of oats and ensure the formation of sweet cereal clusters. But I was up for the challenge!

Rather than boring you with the details of recipe development, I’ll jump straight to the punchline … Eureka! I’m beaming (and thanking the Lord) for the wonderful victory in achieving a grain free granola that is so close to my soaked oats version that I can now honestly say, I don’t miss those oats at all. And I’m betting you won’t either!

Grain Free Cinnamon Crunch Granola / The Nourishing Home

Be sure to check out my Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial following the recipe below. I’ll walk you through each step of the process, so you’ll learn just how easy it is to make the best grain free granola ever! (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little, but seriously, it’s REALLY good!)

How to Make Grain Free Granola / The Nourishing Home

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Grain Free Cinnamon Crunch Granola (DF)

Yield: 5-6 cups of granola

Ingredients

    Nut Mixture
  • 1 1/2 cups raw whole almonds
  • 1 cup raw whole cashews
  • 1 cup raw walnut halves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • All-Natural Sweetener
  • 1/4 cup *pure coconut butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey (I prefer a mild flavor such as sage or clover)
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Add-ins
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Your favorite fresh or dried fruit

Instructions

    Soaking the Nuts
  1. Place the nuts and salt in a large bowl. Cover with warm filtered water so that the water level is at least two inches above the nuts. Cover the bowl with a plate or clean kitchen towel, and allow the nuts to soak 18-24 hours.
  2. When soaking time is completed, drain and rinse nuts. Place on a clean kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture.
  3. Preparing the Sweetener
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the softened coconut butter and honey until smooth and creamy. Then add the remaining ingredients (vanilla, cinnamon, coconut flour and salt). Whisk until well combined; set aside.
  5. Processing the Nuts
  6. Using a food processor, place a couple of handfuls of the soaked nuts into the processor bowl and pulse to chop the nuts until they are about the size of oats, as shown in photo below. (Do not over-process or you will create nut meal. By using the pulse button, it will be easier for you to achieve a uniform size and ensure you don't over-process the nuts into flour.)
  7. Add the finely chopped nuts to the bowl with the honey mixture. Once all nuts are processed, use a rubber spatula to fold them into the honey mixture until well combined.
  8. Baking the Granola
  9. Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Line a 12x17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  10. Spoon grain-free granola mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Use an angled spatula to evenly spread out the granola across the pan into a thin layer.
  11. Bake granola for two hours at 210 degrees. Then remove the baking sheet and gently flip over the granola, section by section, Use the top of your spatula to gently separate any large pieces into small cereal clusters.
  12. Return granola to the oven and bake another two hours. Then remove and use the spatula to again turn and gently stir the granola. Sprinkle top with unsweetened coconut flakes.
  13. Return granola to the oven and bake another 30-45 minutes, until coconut is slightly toasted. Turn off the oven. Place baking sheet on the stovetop to cool. After about 5-8 minutes, check the granola for the crunch-factor. If it's crunchy enough for you, allow it to continue cooling. If it isn't crunchy enough, return it to the warm oven and allow it to sit in the warm oven for 20-30 minutes more. Remove from oven and allow the granola to cool again on stovetop 5-8 minutes and again check the crunch-factor.
  14. When granola is crunchy enough for you, allow it to completely cool about 30 minutes. (Please note: The granola will become crunchier the cooler it is.) Then immediately transfer it to mason jars (or other airtight containers). Store in the pantry for up to two weeks or in the fridge or freezer for up to a month.
  15. Enjoy with your favorite mix-ins such as fresh or dried fruit. Or use it as a topping for yogurt parfaits or over ice cream.

Notes

See How It's Done: Remember to check out the photo tutorial following this recipe.

* Coconut Butter Substitution: In anticipation of the question about how to substitute the coconut butter called for in this recipe, you can replace the coconut butter with 3 tbsp of coconut oil (or softened butter), but the results (although tasty) are just not the same, since coconut butter gives the granola a deep rich flavor and provides an especially nice crunch without a heavy coconut taste or oily texture.

So, I really recommend making a small invest in a jar of pure coconut butter. It is truly delicious, which is why you'll be seeing it in many more recipes to come, such as my dairy-free cookie icing.

http://thenourishinghome.com/2014/03/how-to-make-grain-free-granola/

How to Make Grain Free Granola Step-by-Step

soaking nuts
1. Soaking the Nuts
Place the nuts and salt in a large bowl. Cover with warm filtered water so that the water level is at least two inches above the nuts. Cover the bowl and soak 18-24 hours.

Nuts Drying
2. Rinsing and Drying the Nuts
When soaking time is completed, drain and rinse nuts. Place on a clean kitchen towel to absorb excess moisture.

coconut butter & honey blending
3. Preparing the Sweetener
In a large bowl, whisk together softened coconut butter and honey until smooth and creamy. Then add the remaining ingredients (vanilla, cinnamon, coconut flour and salt). Whisk until well combined; set aside.

Nutz after processing
4. Processing the Nuts
Using a food processor, place a couple of handfuls of the soaked nuts into the processor bowl and pulse to chop the nuts until they are about the size of oats. (Do not over-process or you will create nut meal.) 

Nutz & Honey Blend
5. Blending the Granola
Once all nuts are processed, use a rubber spatula to fold them into the honey mixture until well combined.

Spreading nutz mix
6. Spreading the Granola on the Baking Sheet
Preheat oven to 210 degrees. Line a 12×17-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon grain-free granola mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Use an angled spatula to evenly spread out the granola across the pan into a thin layer.

Granola 1st turn
7, Baking & Turning the Granola
Bake granola according recipe instructions, gently turning the granola as outlined in the recipe above. Do not over mix, as you simply want to gently divide the mixture into small cereal clusters as shown above.

Finished granola
8. Finishing the Granola
Sprinkle top with unsweetened coconut flakes, and continue baking per the recipe instructions above. The granola is ready when the coconut is lightly toasted and the granola reaches desired level of crunchiness.

granola vertical1

Enjoy with your favorite mix-ins such as fresh or dried fruit and a splash of milk. Absolutely delightful!

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Comments

  1. Elaine says

    Wow. That looks yummy. I’m going to have to check my pantry and start that today.
    Just an FYI-you are saving me in so many ways. Doc took me off gluten in November due to hormone/thyroid problems, and I’m so glad I had already found/loved your blog and dabbled with GF recipes. It has been an interesting mindshift/learning curve, but I’m so glad to have your blog as a go to for encouragement and tasty meals to boot.
    Now…If I can just get that 2-week meal plan going and stick to it. :0?
    I just wanted to say thank you.

    • says

      You are so welcome, Elaine. Thank you so much for your kind words. I just prayed for you that God will help you with this new transition. I know how challenging it can be to have go gluten-free (especially when the rest of your family doesn’t). But just know I’m here to help encourage and support you! Lots of blessings, Kelly :)

  2. Jennifer says

    This looks really delicious. I gave up cold cereals when I first read “Nourishing Traditions” a number of years ago. I’ve made ‘nutola’ a few times and it is good, but not baked and not quite the same. I’m definitely going to try this recipe.

    I have read many places that you should not soak cashews for longer than 6 hours I think. Do you have any problem with them turning slimy or anything when soaking them 18-24 hours?

    • says

      Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for your note. I meant to notate in the recipe that you will find the cashews to turn a purplish color when you soak them with the almonds. It’s fine and doesn’t do anything to change the flavor. So although I have seen that note in NT about soaking cashews for 6-7 hours. Rather than try to soak all these nuts for different time spans, I just soak them all about 18 hours, then rinse and pulse-chop, as noted in the recipe. I haven’t experienced the cashews being slimy in this recipe. But perhaps it’s because they are combined with other nuts, are finely ground and then combined with a sweetener and roasted, so it just may not be noticeable for those reasons. However, you could certainly soak them separately. In fact you could soak each nut separate for the exact desired soak times. But again, I wanted to make this as easy as possible with as little clock-watching as possible. :)

  3. Marybeth says

    If I already for soaked and dried my nuts can I just start at step 4 or do they need to be soft from soaking. thanks

    • says

      Hi, Marybeth. They do not need to be soft. But do watch the bake time as it accounts for drying the nuts. So if you’re using dry nuts, I would recommend checking it at one hour, returning to oven and checking every half-hour for crispness. Let us know what you discover as far as a good cook time for dry nuts, as I am sure others will have this question. Thank you! :)

  4. says

    Hi Kelly,
    This recipe sounds great and I really want to try it….just one question my husband doesn’t like honey , can I substitute coconut nectar in its place? For myself and the kids I would just use honey since we love it, but sometimes hubby complains that I don’t make things that he will eat ( he’s my biggest baby). I sometimes make granola bars with coconut nectar and occasionally switch up the recipes with honey instead the only difference I have found is that coconut nectar tends to yield a crunchier bar. Do you think this would cause the granola to be too crunchy or hard? Thanks Jen

    • says

      Hi, Jen. I haven’t tried coconut nectar so I don’t know how it will come out in this recipe. It may be just fine since it’s granola and it isn’t vital that it sticks together. I do know that maple syrup works quite well in this recipe. If you use a light grade A syrup it won’t taste “mapley.” Also, since I don’t use coconut nectar, I am uncertain about how sweet it is compared to honey, if it’s sweeter you may wish to use less. Blessings, Kelly :)

      • says

        Hi Kelly, I decided to make the granola using the honey as stated in the recipe and it came out amazing, the honey flavor was not strong at all. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the great recipe. Jen

        • says

          Wonderful, Jen! So glad you enjoyed this. I really like mild honeys like clover and sage for that exact reason, they don’t cast a heavy honey flavor to baked goods. :)

  5. Hilary says

    Hi Kelly! So, I’ve got my granola all ready to bake and I just now noticed the four hour bake time! Should have read through the recipe completely. It is already 7:30pm and I am not likely to stay up to roast tonight. Is it ok to wait till morning to bake it if I keep the mix covered overnight?

  6. KT says

    Just made this. LOVED it. I had it on my homemade Greek Yogurt and it was yummylicious. Some modifications I made…I don’t care for the fructose rush of honey (I usually use Really Raw Honey) so I used a volume of water equal to the honey with 1 Tablespoon of my preferred sweetener (Sweet Blend from Trim Healthy Mama- a blend of Erythritol and Stevia). I also didn’t quite have the full cup of walnuts so I finished the measurement with raw sunflower seeds. Everything else I did as written. It came out great! One just needs to plan ahead for soaking and the long low temp cook time. Thank you for sharing a truly healthy granola recipe!

    • says

      Yay, so glad you enjoyed it and it worked well with your modifications. Thank you for taking the time to share them, as I’m sure there are others who will benefit from your advice. Blessings to you, Kelly :)

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