Peanut butter banana [guilt-free] granola!

Granola. The word itself makes many people think health food. But store-bought and even homemade granola recipes are almost always loaded with butter, oil, sugar, even chunks of chocolate or m&m’s. Still sound healthy? It’s unfortunate that typical granola is so fattening and calorie dense, but what is fortunate is how easy it is to make your own, guilt-free granola without sacrificing any of that sweet n’ salty crunchiness!

The secret is using a fruit or vegetable puree instead of butter, and using a lesser amount of an unrefined sweetener like honey or maple syrup. In this case, pureed bananas add their own sweetness, so all that’s needed is a touch of honey. This stuff is so great in milk or yogurt, and my favorite is to dump in some raisins and dark chocolate chips and munch away as fast as I can!

Peanut Butter Banana [guilt-free] Granola, adapted from here

2 ½ cups rolled oats

2 cups puffed cereal [rice, wheat, etc… I used Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs]

¼ cup flax meal or whole flax seed

¾ cup chopped pecans

1 ½ large ripe bananas, cut into slices

1/3 cup peanut butter, melted slightly [I used a mixture of regular pb and Better’n Peanut Butter]

2 t honey

1 ½ t vanilla

½ t cinnamon

¼ t salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Combine all of the dry ingredients [oats, cereal, flax, nuts] in a bowl.  Set aside.  In a food processor/blender add the banana, honey, peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.  Process until completely smooth [or mix and mash it by hand].  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until it’s all combined.  Pour onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 20 minutes, stir, and bake 15-20 minutes longer until the granola is golden brown and crunchy.  Let cool completely before storing. I put it into several mason jars so I don’t mindlessly eat it all at once! Makes about 6 cups. Enjoy!

Optional: for a healthy and addictive snack mix, dump in a few raisins, nuts, dark chocolate chips, and I haven’t tried this but I bet banana chips would be awesome!

And p.s—stay tuned for my apple-cinnamon and pumpkin-spice variations when the season arrives!

-mich

This post is linked to Love Your Heart Month

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