Coconut Granola with Dates & Prunes

Eating less sugar is a diet fad I can actually get behind – finally a health trend that’s actually based in science! Unfortunately even foods that might seem healthy, such as granola, can have way more sugar than you’d ever imagine. Homemade granola is SO easy to make, so it begs the question why to even bother spending more on packaged granola. Homemade granola can have less sugar, plus is fresher, tastier, easier on your wallet, and more nutritious too. Making it ourselves also gives us the opportunity to throw in some extra nutritious ingredients like hemp seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts to make this granola truly slammin’.

Here’s a simple trick to make this granola even more affordable AND sustainable – shop for the ingredients in the bulk section of your grocery store. Health food stores and even mainstream grocers are increasingly including a bulk section in their stores. Oats, pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, prunes, and dates can all be found in the bulk section of most grocery stores. Extra bonus: I find these bulk items to be way fresher than anything prepackaged anyways.

If you’re trying out this recipe for the first time and don’t know if you’ll use all of these ingredients again, buy only exactly what you need in bulk. Nobody likes old bags of wasted food and money laying around their cabinet for years. I love bringing my own reused zip lock baggies with me to the bulk section so I don’t have to waste any single-use plastic bags. Some grocery stores offer paper bags for bulk items, which are easily recycled or composted after use.

While this recipe has has some natural sugars in it (maple syrup, dates, and prunes), it ends up being very little sugar per serving. The maple syrup adds only 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving. The sugar in the fruit I’m not worried about, since whole fruits are highly nutritious and these sugars are unprocessed (the same can’t be said for fruit juice though!)

I developed this recipe to help reduce my sugar intake to alleviate my psoriasis, candida yeast overgrowth, and painful period. It’s been a great success!  

Coconut Granola with Dates & Prunes

Servings: 9
Serving Size: ½ cup
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: easy

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats*; raw, preferably organic
  • ½ cup raw pecans and/or walnuts*; crushed into large pieces by hand, halved, or roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded or flaked coconut*, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup of hemp seeds*
  • ¼ cup of chia seeds*
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup, or other sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 4 prunes*, unsweetened; roughly chopped
  • 2 dates*; roughly chopped 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Add all ingredients except prunes and dates to a large bowl. Mix well with a clean hand until the oil and maple syrup are evenly distributed across the oats. It might seem like not enough oil at first, but just keep mixing. The granola will become fragrant and lightly chunky.
  3. Dump the mixture onto a large baking sheet and then spread into an even thin layer with your hand, covering the entire baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Flip baking sheet around so the other edge goes into the oven first. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until your desired level of toastiness is achieved.
  5. When you are done roasting the granola, sprinkle the chopped prunes and dates on top.

Divide into 9 easy portions:

    • Separate granola into 9 sections – with your finger draw 2 lines equally spaced down the length of the baking sheet into the granola. Then, draw 2 more equally spaced lines down the width until 9 separate piles of granola are formed.
    • Spoon or scoop each section into 9 separate zip-lock bags. Practice sustainability by rewashing the baggies after enjoying your granola.

Take a granola baggie to work or school with a small jar of plain yogurt!

* Recipe Notes:

  • Many of these ingredients can be purchased in the bulk section of health food stores and other grocers. If you’re trying out this recipe for the first time and don’t know if you’ll use all of these ingredients again, buy only exactly what you need in bulk. You can eyeball the measurements, a little less or extra of any ingredient will still be tasty. Plus, shopping in bulk is more sustainable!
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