Grain-Free Reduced Sugar Granola

If you grew up on cereal and love a good granola but you’re eating differently now, you miss it! It’s hard to find a grain-free reduced sugar granola at all or one that’s not super expensive. (I think a 6 oz bag is $7 – 9). So I experimented here with my own made with nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. You still have to add a little sugar but it’s cut down from the original by about 60-70%. My next experiment is to add vanilla protein powder to reduce sugar impact more.

It’s got a lot of ingredients but it’s basically dump and stir and comes together super quick. Unless you know your oven well, keep an eye on it during the last few minutes. Brown is not burnt!


  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups raw slivered almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup raw pecans
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 3 T chia seeds
  • 1 T flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp stevia powder
  • 1/2 tsp Colima salt
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 3-4 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds or 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds


Preheat over to 325 degrees F. Position rack(s) in center of oven (I used two). In a large mixing bowl combine everything but sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds: coconut, nuts, chia seeds flax seed, cinnamon, stevia, and salt.

In a small sauce pan warm the coconut oil and maple syrup. Pour over dry ingredients. Mix well.

Spread the mixture even on a large baking sheet (or two) covered in parchment for easier clean up. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and add roasted sunflower and or pumpkin seeds.

Increase heat to 340 degrees F. Return to oven for another 5-7 minutes. When the mix is visibly brown remove and let cool completely.

Store in a container with an air-tight lid in refrigerator or freezer.

Flip: Adjust the the sugar and stevia amount to your taste. This recipe reduces the sugar significantly from most recipes.

Makes about 40 1/8-cup toppings for smoothie bowls or “crisp” 

Flips to try: 

  • Top smoothies or oatmeal
  • Top a fresh berry “crisp”
  • Top fruit and coconut cream
  • Combine with cashew or coconut yogurt and berries to make a parfait

Grain-free reduced sugar granola goes well with: 

The Making of Grain-free Reduced Sugar Granola

I started at Trader Joe’s to pick up all of my ingredients.

I preheated the oven and dumped all the ingredients into the biggest bowl I had clean (a wooden salad bowl from Crate and Barrel).

After heating the oil and maple syrup I combined with dry ingredients and spread over two cooke sheets (I could have used one and would definitely use parchment next time – but clean up wasn’t bad)

I topped a recovery smoothie bowl about an hour after a workout by the time this came out of the oven (perfect for muscle protein synthesis).

Then I popped the rest into a lidded container and put in the refrigerator to keep crisp (all your nuts are best in the freezer or refrigerator to prevent mold).

…and this is one of those things that should not be sitting on my counter. It’s that good. Know yourself.

There you have it, for all of you who love granola and you’ve been asking! Let me know how you use it!

Muscle Conscious?

This topping is a perfect way to boost the amino acid profile of a smoothie made from either Plant (and to a lesser extent, Paleo) protein. Though both are “complete” proteins, they’re slightly lower in some essential amino acids compared to say, an egg or a steak. Nuts on the other hand tend to be higher in those very same amino acids. So as you add the two together during your day, or right at that meal, you enhance the lean muscle maintenance power you’re looking for in your daily protein quota. You also get a yummy and desirable crunch you might miss with a smoothie.

Just a hint… you can pop amino acid supplements or drink them, but if you’re not eating adequate protein at meals a supplement is not going to get you to the finish line. You need to find your way to health through meals and the supplements then take you over that finish line. This grain-free reduced sugar granola is delicious!

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