Banana Bread Granola

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(Note: this post was originally published on February 4, 2019. It was one of the earliest posts on The Rogue Brussel Sprout! The photos were updated on March 20, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

The Ultimate Comfort Food

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 a quarter 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.

Homemade is the Way to Go!

If you've never made your own granola before, I hope I'll convince you to try it! Its easy and most of the time is hands-off. Plus, making your own really allows you to control the ingredients; store-bought granola is often laden with oils and sugar.

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 vanilla. 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. That's it!

As a side note, this granola makes for the most wonderful gift. I can't tell you how many times I've gifted bags of this edible gold for holidays, as thank-you treats, or to friends who need some extra love. It keeps well, is easy to transport, and you don't have to worry about it getting damaged during travel, so it's a much easier gift than traditional baked goods.

Ways to Enjoy This 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.

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Honey. Maple syrup would work here to for a fully vegan version, but it's not quite as sweet, so increase it to maybe a third of a cup. I prefer honey though, since it goes so naturally with bananas.
  • Coconut oil
  • Banana
  • Vanilla. I've also made this granola many times with a spash of spiced rum in place of the vanilla. The flavors make so much sense together!
  • Old fashioned oats
  • Pecans and/or walnuts. Use raw nuts since you'll toast them along with the oats!
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Salt
  • Banana chips. Use unsweetened if you can, since the granola already has some sweetness.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Closing Thoughts

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.

And if you've never tried homemade granola before, now is the time! As long as you can measure some ingredients and pay attention to what's in the oven, you can make this granola. Plus, have you ever even seen a banana bread granola in the store?? I think not!

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!

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

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Banana Bread Granola

Banana bread coziness meets crunchy granola in this super-comforting, nourishing breakfast or snack. Because this granola gets most of its moisture from bananas, it's good for the body as well as the soul!

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

  • 0.25 c honey
  • 0.25 c coconut oil
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed thoroughly
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2.5 c old fashioned oats
  • 1 c raw pecan or walnut halves, or a mixture of the two
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 0.25 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c banana chips
  • 1 c toasted coconut
  • 0.5 c chocolate bits

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Melt the honey and coconut oil over low heat, then remove from the stove and cool until luke warm.
  3. Stir in the banana puree and vanilla. Make a smooth mixture with no banana lumps.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, spices and salt. Pour the wet mixture over the top and mix well to combine.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Stir in the 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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Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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