What is Banola, you ask? Ok, I made it up. It’s just banana granola, but Banola sounds more interesting. This recipe is interesting in that it addresses the two major problems I have when it comes to granola: nuts & calories. Nuts have been giving my tummy a hard time this year, so I finally decided to bail on them in favor of seeds. Calories have never been my friend, and although I don’t pay enough attention to count them, I know they’re out there, stalking me and waiting to flash mob my daily food intake.
Spring is around the corner (optimistically speaking) so I’m again taking efforts to slim down for spring training without actually dieting. Part of that means altering my recipes to make them lighter, but equally as satisfying. My favorite granola recipe is made by coating oats, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds with some coconut oil and maple syrup. When you bake it in the oven, the oil and sugar dry out and form a nice little shellac on your oats, which makes them sweet and crunchy. It’s all good, until you’re on your third bowl (am I the only one?) and you start to think this wasn’t such a good snack idea.
Enter Banola. I wasn’t particularly motivated to eat less, so I figured I’d lighten up the original granola recipe and see what happened. I ditched the nuts for seeds, and swapped out the coconut oil and maple syrup for pureed banana, and it turned out great. Not quite as crunchy, but equally sweet and yummy, and more fun to eat with reckless abandon. Enjoy…
2 1/2 c. gluten free rolled oats
1/3 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/3 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 c. raisins or chopped medjool dates
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt (optional)
3 small very ripe bananas (or 2 large)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well mixed. Put the bananas in a blender and puree until liquefied. No mashed banana here. You want banana soup. Pour the liquid over the oats and stir until all the oats are softened and coated with banana puree. Stir a little bit more, because you probably missed a spot. Next, spread the oats onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for 40 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes. You want the oats to lightly brown and start to dry out, but keep an eye on them, because once they decide to burn, it happens quickly. The oats will still seem moist when you take them out of the oven, but will dry out as they cool. This granola is softer and not as crunchy as traditional granola, but equally as yummy. Store in an airtight jar and serve with your favorite non-dairy milk, or just eat it plain.