I decided, spur-of-the-moment, to clean out the pantry one Saturday morning earlier this month… which usually leads to an impromptu cooking session! The product of my weekend cleaning spree was this completely unplanned granola recipe — and of course it was delicious, because I didn’t write anything down (#foodbloggerfail). As things go around here, almost every time I bake or cook without an agenda, it ends up being a recipe that I deem to be blogworthy (and thankfully, granola ingredients are pretty easy to dissect!). At the request of my Insta Story friends who got a sneak peek at the initial batch of this recipe, I threw it into testing so I could share it here with you!
As you might guess, my Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola is made with… well, pantry staples! In fact, I bet you have most of these ingredients kicking around your kitchen right now. A nutritious, antioxidant rich blend of oats, almonds, pepitas, shredded coconut, cocoa nibs, dried cherries and a plant based vanilla protein powder (it may seem crazy, but it adds tons of extra protein and natural sweetness to this granola!) combine with coconut oil, organic Canadian maple syrup (eh?!) a kiss of cinnamon and a dash of salt to create a versatile granola that can be enjoyed in your breakfast bowls, smoothie bowls, parfaits and alone as a snack all summer long. As I sit here editing this post, I’m noshing on a bowl with fresh BC cherries, nut milk and one of those frothy lattes! Oh, and did I mention it comes together in 20 minutes?
PROTEIN PACKED CHERRY ALMOND GRANOLA
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a BREAKFAST recipe — February, to be exact! With gorgeous BC cherries popping up everywhere and tons of fresh, seasonal fruit to enjoy, I figured it was the perfect time to share this ultra simple granola. Granola is one of those things I like to have on hand and usually end up eating in some form of breakfast or smoothie bowl most mornings. These type of easy going, versatile, no fuss meals are my jam — especially in the a.m., when I may or may not have my morning coffee! And the great thing about this granola recipe is that you can use my ratios as guidelines and customize it to include whatever you have kicking around — swap almonds for walnuts or cashews, dried cherries for your favourite dried fruit, etc. In the JustineCelina kitchen, pretty much anything goes!
My Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola seriously couldn’t be easier — basically, throw all the dry ingredients into a big mixing bowl (except the dried cherries, which will be the first to burn!), mix with the wet ingredients and pop it into the oven for 15 minutes. Take it out after it’s nice and toasty and stir in the dried cherries — and volia! An easy, nourishing granola that will keep for up to a month in an airtight container. Take 20 minutes to make this granola this weekend and take comfort in knowing you have breakfast sorted for weeks to come! Once you get into the habit of making your own granola at home and realize how easy (and inexpensive!) it is, you may never go back to store bought. Not to mention, it makes your home smell amazing!
I’ve always loved granola for its versatility — typically I enjoy it with nut milk and fresh fruit like you see here, but I also love it on top of smoothie bowls for some extra nutrition and crunch. If you’re meal prepping for a busy workday ahead, add this Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola to a Tupperware container, add some nut milk and fresh cherries over top, and pop in into the fridge for a few hours to create a more delicious version of traditional overnight oats (the nut milk saturates the oats and softens the rest of the ingredients — it’s to die for and my favourite way to enjoy this recipe!). You can also heat your breakfast bowl slightly if you prefer your oats warm. Unfortunately I can’t eat yogurt anymore, but back when dairy wasn’t an issue for me, I loved to sprinkle some granola on top of a yogurt (or ice cream!) parfait. Or pack it up for you weekend adventures — just throw it into a Ziploc bag and whip it out when hunger strikes on the trail, at the cabin or on the lake!
Besides my usual pantry staples, I’ve used a couple of noteworthy ingredients to add extra protein and a distinctly Canadian twist to this summery granola. First, the ingredient you’re probably wondering about — protein powder! I picked up some Vega Viva Protein Smoothie in Viva Vanilla earlier this spring and had yet to use it when I cleaned out the pantry. Originally I tried it in a smoothie and found it a bit too sweet, but not wanting to be wasteful, I set it aside for the time being and made a note to figure out how I could incorporate it into my meals in other ways. Since granola traditionally has tons of added sugar, I thought using a naturally sweet protein powder in its place would either be a genius idea or work out horribly — but there’s really no way to know until you try! Well, it turns out I’m not crazy. It’s a unique way to add tons of extra protein (Vega is pea based, hence its soft green hue) and a sweet, vanilla based creaminess to your granola. I’m excited to continue experimenting with protein powder in my baking!
We’re lucky to have access to world renowned maple syrup here in Canada, so when my friend Kelly at Little Blue Canoe gifted me a bottle of Cosman & Webb Townships Organic Maple Syrup she’d just started carrying, I couldn’t wait to work with it. I always have maple syrup on hand and use it quite frequently in my kitchen (I seriously don’t even have refined sugar in the house!). But this 2016 harvest maple syrup comes straight from the Cosman family farm in the Eastern Townships of southern Quebec — it’s 100% pure, organic, single forest, unblended, grade A dark amber. Basically, it’s amber gold! Since this recipe calls for very little maple syrup (just 2 tbsp for almost 6 cups of granola) I didn’t mind sparing a little for this recipe.
A word to the wise — this granola will burn very quickly, so keep an eye on it! Those of you who followed along with my recipe development and testing process via Insta Stories saw me burn my second batch — I literally turned my back on it for 3 minutes and it went from slightly browned to a little too toasty. I’ve mentioned previously that I test my recipes 3 – 5 times for precisely this reason — I want them to be accessible to everyone (at every skill level), and if something like that happens, I want to make sure you guys know about it so you can avoid the same issue. Yes, sometimes I burn my food! It happens to the best of us, but if you follow my baking instructions exactly, I can guarantee perfectly toasted Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola.
Yield: 5.5 cups
• 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
• 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
• 1 cup whole, unsalted almonds
• 1 cup shredded coconut
• 1/2 cup pepitas
• 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
• 1/4 cup virgin unrefined coconut oil
• 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
• 1 cup unsweetened dried cherries
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1. Preheat your oven to 425°C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except dried cherries.
3. Add coconut oil to a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute (or until completely liquefied).
4. Add maple syrup to measuring cup. Stir to combine.
5. Pour the wet ingredients over the granola mixture, mixing as you go. Continue mixing until fully combined.
6. Distribute the Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola over a large baking sheet.
7. Pop granola into the oven and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes (or until lightly toasted), turning and mixing at the halfway mark.
8. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before returning to the mixing bowl.
9. Add dried cherries to the Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola and mix to combine.
10. Serve and enjoy immediately, or keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
PROTEIN PACKED CHERRY ALMOND GRANOLA
- 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup whole unsalted almonds
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 1/2 cup cocoa nibs
- 1/4 cup virgin unrefined coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 cup unsweetened dried cherries
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 425°C.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except dried cherries.
Add coconut oil to a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute (or until completely liquefied).
Add maple syrup to measuring cup. Stir to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients over the granola mixture, mixing as you go. Continue mixing until fully combined.
Distribute the Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola over a large baking sheet.
Pop granola into the oven and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes (or until lightly toasted), turning and mixing at the halfway mark.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before returning to the mixing bowl.
Add dried cherries to the Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola and mix to combine.
Serve and enjoy immediately, or keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
STILL HUNGRY? MORE SEASONAL, VEGAN BREAKFAST IDEAS
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What’s your favourite way to enjoy granola? I’m actually headed to Banff with my little sister tomorrow to celebrate her birthday — we’re hiking in the morning and I’m packing some of this granola for us to snack on. It’s her first hike — wish us luck!
If you try my Protein Packed Cherry Almond Granola, let me know what you think by leaving me a comment, or tagging me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. You can use the hashtag #justinecelinarecipes in your recreations so I can find them — it’s always so much fun seeing what you guys make! I also have a Pinterest board for my recipes if you’re looking for more plant based culinary inspiration. Have a great weekend, friends!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, and contains my genuine thoughts, ideas and recommendations. Thank you to my friend Kelly over at Little Blue Canoe for the maple syrup I used in this recipe and to Rebecca Dawn Design for the sweet blooms I used to style this post. JustineCelina uses affiliate and referral links, which allow me to receive a small commission when you make a purchase through one of my links. Thank you for supporting the brands and businesses that support JustineCelina!