Easy Cinnamon Apple Granola recipe with dried apples, walnuts, pepitas, and hemp hearts, is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free.
There is something to be said for preparing more wholesome breakfasts for the work week. Knowing that I prepped something ahead of time and won’t be grabbing a yogurt or leftovers on my way out the door sets my day on a positive trajectory. The same is certainly true when I get my morning workouts in. When both of these things happen in the same day —WOW—watch out world.
Now that fall has finally settled in here, we’ve taken to starting our weekend mornings with impromptu breakfast picnics on the rooftop of our building. Making pancakes and coffee, then balancing trays of plates, maple syrup, bacon, and mugs, our spread has so far made it up and back without with a spill or lost pancake. As I type this, I wish I was bringing you a pancake recipe. But, these cool, crisp rooftop mornings did inspire some autumn-worthy granola.
As most granola recipes go, this cinnamon apple granola comes together pretty quickly. I decided to make my own dried apples for this granola but store-bought dried apples would be a fast and easy option. While making your own dried apples isn’t difficult, it does take a couple hours at low heat in the oven. Rounding out the cinnamon and apples, walnuts, pepitas, and hemp hearts add crunch and protein.
If you’re like me, the more clumps and clusters in my granola, the better. There are several tips and tricks out there for getting “clumpier” granola, but what’s worked best for me is slightly packing down the layer of granola on the baking sheet, stirring once half-way through baking, and packing it down once again before returning to the oven for the remainder of baking time. Allowing the granola to cool completely before removing from the pan is also key to the clumps you desire.
Cinnamon Apple Granola (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- 2 cups gluten-free oats
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup grade b preferred
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried apples or more if desired for homemade dried apples, see below
- For homemade dried apples:
- 4 cups water
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 apples sliced about 1/8th of an inch
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, walnuts, pepitas, hemp hearts, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a smaill bowl, whisk together coconut oil, 1/3 cup maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated.
Pour mixture onto baking sheet, spread, and pack down flat (using a piece of parchment or plastic wrap is an easy, mess-free way to do this).
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir about halfway through, pack back down, drizzle tablespoon of maple syrup over the top, and bake for the remaining time or until granola is golden brown. If it looks like the walnuts are browning up quickly, tent a piece of foil over the pan for the remaining baking minutes.
When done, granola should look golden brown. Place baking sheet on wire rack and let granola cool completely. When cool, break up granola into pieces and stir in dried apples. Store in an airtight container.
To make homemade dried apples: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine water and lemon juice. Add apple slices and allow to soak for 20-30 mins. This will reduce browning. Remove apples from lemon water and place on a paper towel. Press another paper towel over the top to remove excess liquid. Place slices on baking sheets and put one tray on upper and one tray on lower racks and bake for one hour. Remove, turn over slices, and bake for one more hour. If you would like crispier apple slices, bake for up to 30 minutes to an hour additional. I baked mine for two and a half hours total.