A Breakfast Bowls we believe that food that is good for you should also taste great and this is why we pick ingredients that have excellent nutritional value while also being super yum. This incredibly healthy chocolate granola is proof of that.
The only thing you should worry about when you make it, is stopping yourself (or your family) from eating it all at once!
Trust me, I had to split it into individual portions to ensure it lasted as intended 🙂
Tell me in the comments, did you also struggle to keep yours hands off it?
About granola and its origins
Granola is one of those foods that you can make for friends and family as a care package. It is easy to make, requires no special equipment (any oven will do) and is delicious. There isn’t anybody who can resist a good granola.
Because you can customise the ingredients, you can make granola be vegan, low in sugar, nut-free, gluten-free and even raisin-free for those (like me) who absolutely abhor them.
For a breakfast food that is so universally found, I wondered where it all started.
Turns out that while we have been eating hot cereals for a while, the idea of eating them cold only started in the 19th century and its origins can also be traced back to the same inventor of the famous cereal, Mr. Kellogg, and another doctor of the time, James Caleb Jackson.
Although cereals eclipsed granola, the breakfast staple saw a revival in the 1970s by the hand of a famous hippie and cult leader called Johnny Granola-Seed. Big corporations took note and turned the humble food into a fantastic business with artisanal locally made packets of granola on sale at every hipster shop across the world.
And take note. Those initial granolas had mostly cereals, oats and some sesame seeds, but no nuts and definitely no raisins! I feel vindicated.
The benefits of chocolate granola and this recipe
Granola came about as a healthier version against the sugary cereals of the time. It was touted from the start as a food that was good for you by Kellogg and Jackson and returned with the same strength in the 1970s. We all generally think that granola is a healthy breakfast food and this is usually because it is packed with nuts and seeds and usually some dried fruits.
What makes this delicious chocolate granola even healthier is the low amount of oil and unprocessed sugar used, the addition of raw cacao powder (instead of sweetened coca powder) and the many nuts and seeds added.
Not all the granolas that you will find in the supermarket aisles are equally healthy, some of them are loaded with processed sugars and unhealthy fats that are not good for you, so you should always carefully check the package, or make your own.
Ta-da! This recipe is top notch when it comes to nutritional value.
Firstly, let’s look at the chocolate component of this chocolate granola which is made of cacao powder, dark chocolate and cacao nibs.
I recommend using the 70% dark chocolate at least from high-quality brands like Lindt which is not only lower in sugar and fat but also typically vegan. Then add cacao powder, not cocoa or other processed and sweetened chocolate powder, and to add even more goodness, some unprocessed raw cacao nibs.
This cacao trio has immense benefits for you and using raw cacao and dark chocolate is what makes this recipe so healthy.
In its raw form, cacao is high in magnesium, which will energise you, and contains a molecule that boost serotonin, or the feel-good chemical. Raw cacao has far more fiber, protein and iron than cocoa powder.
To make it even better, it has half (or more, depending on the brand of cocoa) the amount of fats, and the fat it has is the good kind, with plenty of Omega-3 which your body needs to function.
You should be able to find pure raw chocolate powder in a supermarket or health store near you, or order online if you can’t. Raw cacao is usually much more expensive, but you also need a smaller quantity.
If you can, look out for a fair trade cacao option, the farmers that live from growing cacao in Latin America, Africa and Asia do not always benefit from the high prices we pay for high quality cacao.
Besides the great health qualities of cacao, this granola is packed with nuts and seeds.
What I love about this chocolate granola recipe
There are so many things I love about this chocolate granola!
I absolutely love the smell that lingers in the house after I’ve baked it and of course, I devour it knowing that it is incredibly healthy and good for me.
I can easily snack on it or give it to friends and loved ones knowing that they will start the day with a boost of energy and good nutrients. Even if I have a bit too much of it, I do not feel guilty, because these are healthy calories.
I used to buy the packaged chocolate granolas from the store and feel so bad because of how high in sugars and fats they were. They didn’t have to be, they could be made with dark chocolate and lower amounts of sugar and fat but they just aren’t, you won’t find such a healthy chocolate granola in a supermarket isle, which is why you should just make your own.
Plus, isn’t it simple to make it?
I was surprised the first time I made it at how simple it was, this is another reason why I love this chocolate granola recipe, it is totally fool-proof.
Lastly, it is great that this recipe (and any granola recipe usually) is so versatile, it will work with any seeds, nuts or dried fruits you have at home. As long as you have olive oil (or another vegetable oil), unprocessed sweetener (coconut sugar, honey, etc.) and the cacao/chocolate base, you can customise the toppings to what’s available or to your dietary needs and likes.
Recipe: Incredibly healthy chocolate granola
There is one basic rule of thumb to making granola: 1 part of liquid should equal 6 part of dried ingredients. That is, you need 1 part of oil + sweetener to coat 6 times the volume of dried ingredients.
The dried ingredients can be: rolled oats, chia seeds, coconut flakes, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, macadamia, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, dried apricots, raisins, dates, dried prunes, dried mango, etc.
The wet part needs to be made of a sweetener and oil. The sweetener can be syrup, coconut or raw sugar dissolved in water, honey, or any other natural sweetener you like. The fat/oil part can be any vegetable oil that you are used to, from coconut to olive oil, canola oil or avocado oil.
If you maintain that ratio, you will have a delicious granola no matter what. Add more rolled oats if you like your granola more oaty or add more nuts if you like it nuttier.
This super healthy chocolate granola with a pinch of sea salt makes for a great breakfast to go or a mid-afternoon snack and it is so easy to make it is virtually fool-proof. It can be made with kids for a fun afternoon and it makes for a lovely gift for loved ones.
- 120 gr Rolled oats
- 4 Tbsp Raw cacao powder
- 35 gr Coconut sugar (2 tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp Chia seeds
- 1/2 Tbsp Sea salt
- 2 tbs Dried Coconut flakes
- 1 Tbsp Raw cacao nibs
- 3 Tbsp Crushed walnuts
- 3 Tbsp Crushed almonds
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Pumpkin seeds
- 3 Tbsp Lindt chocolate 70%
- PREPARE: Heat the water in a kettle and when boiling, pour in a bowl and add the sugar. Whisk until the sugar is melted, then add the oil and whisk. Oil and water do indeed not mix, but try to whisk them so that they are as blended as possible
- MIX: In a a large bowl, pour the rest of the dry ingredients except for the dark chocolate and the pumpkin seeds and mix it all together until it is all coated properly. Pour the oil and water and mix it all well, making sure that all the ingredients are well coated in the mixture.
- REST: Let the wet granola rest for an hour. You can skip this step if you don't want to wait but I like to let it sit for a while so the oats soak the mixture well.
- TOAST: Heat the over to 470 F or 170 C for 15min. Line an oven-safe tray with baking paper and spread the wet granola on top. If you like to have bigger clumps, you can make the layer thicker, I like my granola loose, so I prefer to spread it thinner on the tray. Put the try in the over and let it toast for 20-25min. Half way through, take the tray out and stir a bit so it all bakes evenly.
- COOL: Take the tray out and let the granola cool. The granola will only dry up and become crunchy after a while, out of the oven it will still be soft and chewy.
- TOP: Add the chopped dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds once the granola has cooled. I like to wait until it is almost fully cooled down to add the chocolate so that it partially melts and binds with the granola clumps.
Make it sweeter and glossier: It is important to note that this is a very healthy recipe for chocolate granola. Raw cacao is unsweetened and there is very little sugar and oil added.
This means that your granola will not be very sweet and it will not look glossy like the sugar and fat packed versions you find in the supermarket, the oily shininess comes from the fat in oil which I've kept to a minimum.
If you are less concerned about the calories, and want this granola to taste even more indulgent, double the amount of oil and sugar. That is, make it with half a cup of oil and half a cup of water, the total amount of liquid should be kept to 1 cup. Assume that your calories per serving will be 50-60 Kcal higher than shown below.
Nut-free: you can make this granola nut-free by replacing the nuts with dried fruits or with more seeds but make sure to add them after the granola is cooked as they may burn in the oven.
Add other toppings: The basic granola can be topped with anything else you have around. I like to add some sesame seeds, some sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, and chopped dates or dried apricots. The sea salt in this granola goes very well with sweet dry fruits.
Once ready, granola keeps in freezer bags for a few days, but trust me, it won't last that long! Add it to your morning yogurt, take it as an afternoon snack or pour on top of a mashed banana.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g
Values may vary depending on ingredients and brands used.
Have you tried this recipe at home? We would LOVE to see your yum creations!
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Possible variations to this chocolate granola
As I mentioned, the variations to this recipe are endless. Here are a few creative ideas to try:
- White chocolate: You will forgo a lot of the benefits of using dark chocolate but if you want to try something different, make this chocolate granola with white chocolate. PS Bear in mind the recipe will most likely end up not being vegan-friendly unless you use vegan white chocolate.
- Lemon zest: Add lemon zest to the granola after it is baked and while it is cooling down so the pieces fuse with the clumps.
- Add dates: The sea salt in this granola marries well with the chocolate and makes it suitable as topping for breakfast yogurt bowls but you can also offset it with the honey-like sweetness of the dates. Add 3-4 chopped dates to the granola once baked.
- Candied orange: Like with dates, another great way to complement the saltiness of this granola is by adding chopped candied orange (or other fruits) to it.
Make this recipe with <250 kcal
A regular portion of this granola already has less than 250 calories on its own and you can stick to 250 calories total if you eat it with low fat-low sugar yogurt, low fat milk or unsweetened coconut or almond milk.