Banana Bread Granola

Homemade granola makes me indescribably happy. It’s easy to make, infinitely customizable, and the whole house smells like roasty, caramelized heaven. Or, in this case, the whole house smells like the most wonderful banana bread, because this is a hybrid of two delightfully comforting breakfast treats: banana bread and granola.

The beauty of using banana in granola is that it acts as both a sweetener and a fat, helping the granola crisp up and become flavorful without having to add a bunch of sweetener or oil. In fact, this recipe only has ¼ cup of each (honey and coconut oil), making it an indulgent-tasting breakfast, lunch, or snack that's loaded with whole grains, healthy fats, and protein.

I’ve experimented a lot with banana-based granola and have come to an important conclusion: embrace the banana! If you use banana puree, that’s what your granola will taste like. So rather than trying to hide the banana behind a bunch of other flavors, this granola celebrates the flavor profiles of banana bread and all the tasty things we add to it: cinnamon, cardamom, coconut, nuts, and chocolate.

This granola comes together quickly; the hardest part is trying not to snack on all the add-ins while the oats and nuts toast. You’ll start by making a wet mixture of mashed banana, a bit of coconut oil, a bit of honey or maple syrup, and splash of rum if you feel indulgent. Toss the oats, nuts (I like to use walnuts, pecans, or a combination), and spices in with the wet ingredients and bake until it’s golden brown. Cool, then stir in some fun add-ins like banana chips, toasted coconut, chocolate-covered coconut, and/or chocolate chips and you’re done.

It's really quite easy, which means it might be time to part ways with packaged, store-bought granola.

How can you enjoy this granola? Let me count the ways! It's delightful on its own, with your preferred milk, or with your favorite yogurt. You can keep it simple or dress it up in a fancy parfait (wouldn't a make-your-own granola parfait bar be so fun for brunch?). You can use it in a banana boat or papaya boat with all sorts of toppings, as I've shown below. It's even a great topping for ice cream or nice cream to make a fun dessert with great crunch.

I have granola for lunch almost every day. Is that weird? Maybe. But I usually do a light ~5:45AM breakfast (always a green smoothie!) and a long workout, so by late morning my body is really craving carbs and fats. Hence my "lunch" is usually at about 11:00AM (or earlier, let's be honest), always involves nuts, and often involves granola.

The other thing that's great about homemade granola? It's a wonderful gift! It keeps well, is easy to transport, and you don't have to worry about it getting damaged during travel. So if you have a family member or friend who needs some love, make up a batch of this cozy granola, cool it completely, and package it up in a nice-looking bag. I guarantee it will bring a smile to anyone's face.

This banana bread granola is truly a favorite in our house. I make it so frequently! It's all the delicious flavors of banana bread coupled with the addicting, snackable, portable crunch of granola. I hope you'll give this recipe a try; your house will smell amazing and you'll have the most wonderful snacks for the week.

Happy crunching!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Loving the idea of homemade granola? If you're looking for something equally cozy but fall-appropriate, try out this Pumpkin Pie Granola.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • 1/4 c honey. Maple syrup would work here to, but it's not quite as sweet, so increase it to maybe 1/3 c. I prefer honey though, since it goes so naturally with bananas.
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed thoroughly
  • 1 tbsp rum. I use spiced rum from Koloa on Kaua'i, but anything spiced or dark will add a lot of flavor. If you'd rather not use rum, a teaspoon of vanilla would be a good substitute.
  • 2 1/2 c old fashioned oats
  • 1 c raw pecan or walnut halves, or a mixture of the two
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c banana chips. Use unsweetened if you can, since the granola already has honey.
  • 1 c toasted coconut. I prefer to toast the coconut separately, then add it to the granola at the end; it gives me more control over how the coconut cooks. A few minutes on a sheet pan under the broiler is sufficient; keep a close eye on it and stir it frequently, it toasts fast. Some health food stores also sell toasted coconut.
  • 1/2 c chocolate bits. I sometimes use chocolate chips, sometimes chocolate-covered coconut pieces. Use whatever you think would pair nicely with banana, or no chocolate at all if you want to keep things simple and less sweet.
Thoughts About Method
(These are just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Melt the honey and coconut oil over low heat, then remove from the stove and cool until luke warm.
  2. Stir in the banana puree and rum. Make a smooth mixture with no banana lumps.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, spices and salt. Pour the wet mixture over the top and mix well to combine.
  4. Spread the mixture across a large sheet tray; the more contact the oats and nuts have with the sheet tray, the more effectively they’ll brown.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until the oats are evenly browned. Stir after 10 and 20 minutes to make sure all of the mixture gets contact with the sheet tray. Don’t stir toward the end of the baking time or after you take the granola out; leaving it undisturbed will help it to form some larger clumps.
  6. Cool completely by setting the sheet tray on a wire rack. This is non-negotiable! If you try to package it up or stir in chocolate before it's cool, you'll have a big soggy mess.
  7. Stir in any remaining add-ins (banana chips, toasted coconut, chocolate bits) only after the granola is completely cooled. Keep the granola in a sealed container for up to a week or two, or freeze for longer storage.


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