New Year’s Resolutions – Sort of… (unsweetened, yet yummy, granola)

Unsweetened Granola

No resolutions this year for me!  Instead, I’m just trying to continue some patterns we started this year – including eating breakfasts that aren’t so sugary.  I’ve mentioned before my love of granola, but it can hide a bunch of carbs (that sugar, that syrup, those oats!). I started looking for no-sweetener granola recipes and I found a lot.  Unfortunately, a lot of the recipes that I found advertised that they were no sugar, but included non-sugars like honey or maple syrup.  Here’s one that I came up with that doesn’t have any added sweeteners,  I did try to use some ingredients that come across on the sweet side to me, like pecans, hazelnuts, cocoa nibs and spices.  This one doesn’t even have oats in it so it’s low on the carb side.  It tastes more toasty than sweet, and we’ve been loving it on plain yogurt, or with some steel cut oatmeal, or even with some dried fruit. (Tip:  Remember – all of the nuts and seeds should be unroasted, you’re going to roast them in the granola).


  • 2 cups blanched, sliced almonds
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon 5 spice powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I like Penzey’s double strength)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • Spray oil

Get Ready

  1. Place a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 325 degrees (F).
  2. Lightly spray a half sheet pan (13 x 18) with a neutral oil.  (If you have smaller pans, don’t try to crowd the whole recipe into one of them – it will be too hard to toast everything evenly.  Divide it into two pans, halve the recipe, or bake it off in batches.)

Make The Granola

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the almonds, coconut, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds,  cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, 5 spice powder and cocoa nibs.
  2. Mix together 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix the oil mixture into the almond mixture.  (Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts – those tend to burn so they get added later).

Bake The Granola

  1. Put the almond and oil mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out so it’s in an even layer.
  2. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. While the granola is baking, roughly chop the pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.
  4. After 15 minutes, take out the pan and stir the granola.  Then add the pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts and stir it up again.
  5. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees (F) and place the pan back in the oven.
  6. Bake for another 10 – 20 minutes, stirring several times, until it is nicely browned.
  7. Let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

TIP:  Keep an eye on the granola – and a nose!  It can burn easily and you’ll hate the smell of scorched nuts and seeds.  Make sure to turn it over as you stir so that it toasts uniformly.  Also, if you’re worried that you left it in too long, pour the granola onto a cool half sheet pan to cool instead of letting it cool on the pan it baked on.

Yield:  A bit over 2 quarts.

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