Coconut Almond Sunshine Granola (Vegan, Gluten Free)

The dreamy smell of this coconut almond granola baking will transport you to a tropical island! Learn how to make granola with the biggest CLUSTERS here – because we all know clusters are the best part!

Granola is one of those things I almost always buy instead of make from scratch. There are some wonderful brands on the market today that are lower in sugar and use minimal ingredients that I love. However, there is something truly special about a freshly baked batch of homemade granola! I remember working as a waitress over the summers through high school and college. The restaurant I worked at made homemade granola every couple of days for their yogurt parfaits. I loved sneaking a handful from the fresh batch when passing through the kitchen. The cooks were always able to make the BIGGEST clusters, sometimes so big they were practically the size of a granola bar!

After creating this recipe, I now know the secret to those giant clusters – and it’s really quite simple! It involves minimal effort and just a little patience. Instead of mixing the granola around while it’s baking, don’t touch it! Just rotate the baking sheet once or twice to allow for even cooking. Here’s where the patience comes in – wait until the granola has cooled before attempting to break it into clusters. This allows for everything to set and harden up before you handle it. I also find that “stacking” your granola clusters in a shallow container keeps the clusters intact better than using a narrow container or a bag.

This granola will make your stomach growl as it bakes, because it smells incredible! The rich coconut, fragrant vanilla and sweet oats is seriously a dreamy combination. It takes less than one hour from start to finish, and will last you all week for healthy breakfast and snacking!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used a mix of small and large shreds)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp pure almond extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup banana chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, slivered almonds, cashews, coconut, cinnamon and ginger in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Mix together melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir to combine, thoroughly coating dry ingredients.
  5. Spread mixture in one even layer on prepared baking sheet, forming one large “sheet” of granola.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through to ensure even cooking. Granola should be a deep golden brown.
  7. Let granola cool before using your hands to gently break into large clusters. Toss in chocolate chips and banana chips.

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