Gluten-Free, Paleo Homemade Cranberry Granola {And Why All Calories Are NOT Created Equal}

celiac-granola

celiac-granola

So, we all know that not all calories are created equal and if health was simply a matter of consuming the magic number’s worth of calories, there would be no need for healthy food information, right? It’s about nutrition, people. It’s not about your 100 calorie pack of Oreos (that I hope none of you are eating) and more about the one ingredient foods filled with antioxidants, fiber, omega 3’s, healthy fats and lean proteins.

cranberry-granola

If you take a look at a few snack options such as empty calorie snacks such as processed bags of chips or chocolate- you’re getting the caloric content in the form of hydrogenated oils in the chips and in the form of refined sugar with the chocolate but there is ZERO nutritional value. What’s worst is that these highly refined, highly processed foods actually end up depleting your body of vital nutrients.

healthy-granola-recipe

The result?

easy-granola-recipe

Well, that’s an excess of calories and a deficiency in nutrition, which leads to food cravings.

Empty calorie foods like chips and candy lack the vital nutrients that our bodies need to run optimally. High sugar foods end up slowing down our metabolism and even though so many point system diets may value an orange and a candy bar as the same because they have the same number of calories, the quality is different. The orange is packed with nutrients and the candy bar is void of any nutritional value. The orange will help your immune system, your cells, your mitochondria and much more.

Make sense?

gluten-free-granola

So, today I thought a healthy granola recipe would be the perfect way to show off a fun and healthy snack that you can enjoy without the empty calories and chemicals. Sound good to you?

I hope so.

granola-recipe

Get your oven ready – you’re gunna love this recipe!

homemade-granola

Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why: The Benefits of Eating Organic.

4.7 from 19 reviews
Gluten-Free, Paleo Homemade Cranberry Granola {And Why All Calories Are NOT Created Equal}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Paleo
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 3 Tbsp. flax seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you have such as raisins)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except cranberries) in a large mixing bowl; toss to combine to ensure everything is coated with maple syrup and vanilla extract.
  3. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until desired crispiness. Remove from the oven; set aside to cool for 10 minutes before serving; add dried cranberries and toss to combine.
  5. Recipe will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week.
Notes
Servings: 6 Calories: 274 Fat: 7.6g Protein: 16.5g Carb: 11.9g Fiber: 15.3g Sugar: 9.6g Sodium: 13mg

 

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78 replies
  1. Diana
    Diana says:

    I love this recipe. I have been making granola for a while, but have been looking for a better way and this is it. Is there any way to make this into bars? My husband thought it would be good to bring with you.

    Reply
    • Amie
      Amie says:

      Thanks Diana; so nice to hear from you! I haven’t tried to make it into bars but you could try by adding 1/4 cup of honey and some almond flour!

      Reply
  2. Linda
    Linda says:

    Amie, I thought flax seeds had to be ground to be useful to our bodies. I’ve made other granolas with ground flax seed included. Is there any reason to keep the flax seeds whole?

    Reply
    • Amie
      Amie says:

      Linda, you are correct. I always eat them ground but I wanted to use them whole for this recipe because I wanted to make the granola high in omega 3’s without nuts or flour. Thanks!

      Reply
  3. Maria
    Maria says:

    This sounds so good. I’ve never really had granola. Do you eat by itself or put on things? Also, when you say prepared baking sheet, do you mean greased or parchment paper.

    Reply
  4. Karen H
    Karen H says:

    This looks really delicious except for one thing. The amount of sugar used in dried cranberries is outrageous! Your article talks about the dangers of sugar, and yet dried cranberries are used to make the granola. :( Craisins have 65 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Regular dried cranberries have 26 grams of sugar per 40 gram serving. :(

    Reply
      • Karen H
        Karen H says:

        But it isn’t sugar from fruit…..the cranberries are soaked in a sugar water. I just did research on this 2 weeks ago. I was so disappointed to learn of this.

        Reply
        • Amie
          Amie says:

          Karen, I’m not sure WHAT cranberries you are buying but this is NOT true if you buy pure organic cranberries without any additives. Yes most brands like Craisins are awful and of course Ocean Spray adds sugar- look for real brands that don’t add anything. Buy organic without added sugar and you will see. Or make your own. Thanks!

          Reply
  5. Karen H
    Karen H says:

    You didn’t specify organic cranberries. The information I gave IS TRUE for regular cranberries. And I did make my own dried cranberries without any added sugar or fruit juice. If you like tart, they will satisfy. :)

    Reply
    • Karen H
      Karen H says:

      My point is, lots of people buy (regular) dried cranberries thinking that they are good for you because we’re told that they are. They aren’t aware of the added sugars. Yes, buying organic is definetly the way to go or make your own.

      Reply
      • Amie
        Amie says:

        I agree completely Karen; thank you so much for sharing this info. I agree-it’s so sad all the sugar and junk brands are putting into healthy fruits! Thanks! xox

        Reply
  6. marlies
    marlies says:

    This granola looks AMAZING! I have a long list of granolas to try (and I have a huge stash of my mom’s amazing granola in my freezer), but this one might jump to the top :) I love a big scoop of granola mixed into my green smoothies in the morning. That way a) I have more fats and protein in my breakfast and b) I can chew my smoothie, which makes such a big difference for me in terms of feeling satisfied. Thanks for another amazing recipe :)

    Reply
  7. Lori Getter
    Lori Getter says:

    I would love to win the blender for smoothies! I bought my parents one for Christmas! This would be a present for me!!!! Thank you for the contests and providing us good info for our health!

    Reply
  8. Tammie Smith
    Tammie Smith says:

    This granola looks so yum! I just read your bio and I am so impressed with all that you have accomplished. I love the effort you put into helping others. Last year I read about gluten intolerance and thought it wouldn’t hurt to have one of my children, who was experiencing symptoms I read about, try gluten free for a bit. I just thought it could possibly help and it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Well I decided to support her and after joining her and being gluten free for a couple of weeks I felt like a whole new person! Both of us have seen positive life changes! She is twelve and I thought she had learning disabilities. Since the changes in diet she has caught up in her education and her athletic ability has grown leaps and bounds! I try to encourage friends and family to see if going gluten free will help when they tell me issues I recognize as being helped in my life by changing my diet. Unfortunately most of them think it is too difficult to live a gluten free life style. I am always trying to share yummy gluten free foods with them and they are always surprised at what we Can eat :). Thank you for this website and all that you do to help folks be encouraged to get healthy!
    Sincerely ,
    Tammie Smith
    Ps. Thank you for the opportunity to win a blender as well!

    Reply
  9. Christina Alexander
    Christina Alexander says:

    When I first read the title I thought it said “Guilt Free”! But you know this is a fabulous guilt AND gluten free snack ♥ Thanks..

    Reply
  10. Holly Andrews
    Holly Andrews says:

    This recipe looks awesome. I have tried making several different granola recipes in the past, but I haven’t really loved them. I like that you use nut butter in it. I will have to try it! Thanks for the wonderful recipe and blog! You do amazing work!

    Reply
  11. Vicki Bennett
    Vicki Bennett says:

    I’m not sure if this is the place to comment, but I would sure love to win the blender! It looks like a very good one.

    Reply
  12. Tori L
    Tori L says:

    That granola looks amazing! And I could definitely use a new blender, I’ve been craving to make some homemade nut butters!

    Reply
  13. James Kennedy
    James Kennedy says:

    This recipe looks delicious, as do all of your recipes. Gotta love the Cashew butter in this!! Yum :D I’d Love a Blendtec too!

    Reply
  14. Bridget Whelan
    Bridget Whelan says:

    Absolutely love how you are using cashew butter as a major binding ingredient for your granola! I always shy away from granola because there seems to be so much oil, which I guess is necessary to keep everything moist in the oven BUT, a total health buster if it’s not a healthy fat and even if it is, if there is just too much of it! Cashew butter totally solves this issue seeing as you then only needed a minimal amount of coconut butter–which is totally nutritious to boot! Love a granola that is mainly made of high nutrition value ingredients as opposed to JUST oats…BORING! So, I definitely plan to make this very, very soon!

    Reply
  15. Sarah Fulginiti
    Sarah Fulginiti says:

    The granola would be great on top of frozen desserts made from a new blender!! ;) blendtec is an amazing quality blender and making a dessert and topping it with this granola would be fabulous!! MMMM!!!

    Reply
  16. Mary Smith
    Mary Smith says:

    You and my daughter in law have been slowly changing the way I eat. I have enjoyed seeing the ways you both have integrated healthy, whole foods into your day and I have taken bigger and bolder steps toward healthy eating. However, some of the foods prepared use these very expensive blenders/juicers and so far I haven’t been able to try the vegetables in the green smoothies! I’m happy for the chance to try for a blender like this! Thanks, Ami! Good luck with the event coming in NYC!

    Reply
  17. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    The recipe doesn’t say to chop the almond or pecans, but in the pictures I can’t see any whole nuts in the finished granola. Did you chop them or leave them whole?

    Reply
  18. Jennifer G
    Jennifer G says:

    This looks like a great recipe, and bonus I have everything except the cashew butter in my pantry. I’ve saved this recipe to make soon. :) I appreciate the chance to win a blendtec blender, there is so much I could do with one. Though I would be most excited about making smoothies and nut butters. :)

    Reply
  19. Tal
    Tal says:

    Hi Amie!!!

    Saw your facebook post about the blender givaway. I would soooooooooooo love to have it!
    Thanks to that post I bumped into this recipe.
    And it looks amazing. Making it into a bar for a great snack on the go.

    Keep it up!

    Reply
  20. Joan
    Joan says:

    Yum!!

    I love making my own granola and the idea of adding cranberries is great!!

    Also Amie–winning a BlendTec blender would change my kitchen! I could make better smoothies and your chocolate avocado pudding!!

    Reply
  21. Gabriela
    Gabriela says:

    I never tried Gluten Free Cranberry Granola. Looks very tasty
    Though I could really use a blender I don’t have any at this time.

    Reply
  22. Syndie Yeoman
    Syndie Yeoman says:

    So excited for this recipe! Putting on my grocery list now :)
    My Ninja blender just died this week after only 2 years!!! Boo :(. Blendtec would be a great replacement :) :)

    Reply
  23. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    My daughter is trying dairy & gluten free to alleviate chronic stomach pain. We’ll have to try this! & some fresh smoothies in the Blend-Tec ;-)

    Reply
  24. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Has anyone else had a problem with getting this granola crispy? I baked mine for 4 hours (last 30 minutes at 325 degrees in an attempt to get it crispy) and it remains somewhat mushy and no where near crisp.

    Reply
  25. Susan
    Susan says:

    This recipe looks amazing. I’m confused by cooking time. Up top it says 3 hours but in the recipe only 15-20 minutes. I assume the shorter is correct. Can you please confirm? Thank you!

    Reply
  26. Sue
    Sue says:

    Hi, This looks great but I can’t have sugar of any kind so honey is Maple Syrup are out. What could I use instead? I like the almond butter idea and wonder if I could try that to clump it and use xylitol for the sweetner?

    Reply

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