Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Granola

This recipe for low sugar dark chocolate granola is only lightly sweetened with mashed banana and honey. Quinoa and almonds make it extra-crunchy! Perfect for breakfast with almond milk or as an easy to pack snack. 

Low sugar dark chocolate granola

I once heard someone say the world can be divided into two categories: camp people and not camp people.

Me? I am 100% camp person.

Starting in third grade, I went to Camp Ocoee in Tennessee for two weeks every summer. Eventually, I became a CIT (Counselor in Training for you not camp people) and then a counselor. Even when I had only one friend in the cabin because of my frizzy hair, purple glasses and oversized horse t-shirts, I still loved camp and looked forward to those two weeks every year. Of all the places I’ve traveled, I truly believe Ocoee, Tennessee is the happiest place on earth.

Oat, coconut, almond and quinoa granola

The food however, was not my happy place. Even before I was interested in nutrition, things like powered eggs, fried macaroni and cheese balls and rubbery hot dogs held no interest for me.

For those two weeks, I basically lived off an oversized bag of chocolate granola. Sure it had almonds, but it was mostly chocolate chips, sweetened dried fruit and sugary clusters of oats. Not much more nutritious, but a heck of a lot tastier.

I kept it in my backpack and snacked on it throughout the day. Often times, a few handfuls served as my meal. I looked forward to hiking trips when granola (or GORP as you camp kids remember) served as our lunch and we all got to dive into big ziplock bags of it.

Healthy dark chocolate granola

I've made a few variations on this recipe and each one has brought me back me back to camp. It has all the nostalgia without the buckets of added sugar. It’s about as close as I’ll get to camp since being a 30 year old counselor apparently isn't a great career path.

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To sweeten this, I used a combination of honey and mashed banana, my favorite new trick for sweetening granola without adding a lots of added sugar. Because honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, you can get away with using less too. And of course, the little bites of dark chocolate don't hurt either ;-)

Naturally sweetened dark chocolate coconut granola with

Word of advice, you'll want to make a double batch of this. It goes fast!

Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Granola
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: About 5 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 large banana
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place peeled banana, honey, oil, vanilla and salt together in a large bowl. Mash the banana with the other ingredients until well combined.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, almonds, quinoa, coconut. Add to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Taste the uncooked mixture. If it needs a little extra sweetness or moisture, add another tablespoon of honey or half a mashed banana. Keep in mind, the dark chocolate will add sweetness and it will sweeten slightly as it cooks and concentrates.
  4. Spread evenly on a large, greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake 15 minutes. Stir, moving the granola on the outside of the baking sheet towards the center (since it cooks faster around the edges). If you want big clusters, stir it just lightly. Bake another 15 minutes then remove from oven.
  5. Let cool on the baking sheet. Once cooled to almost room temperature, add the dark chocolate. Combine and store in a covered container at room temperature for up to a week.

 

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