Homemade Nut Free, Gluten Free Granola

Finding a granola that's tasty, nut free and also not loaded with weird ingredients used to be hard. Do you have a favorite brand? There are loads of great options out there, but I found my happy place when I started regularly making my own. Lately I've been leaving the big jar out on my kitchen counter and it gets demolished pretty quickly. My son plans granola + yogurt + fruit for his lunch at least once a week, and with a big jar on hand, it's super easy to pack.

parfait lunchbox

I love homemade granola because it's straightforward, versatile, and with a million different ways to keep it interesting, no two batches are ever the same. Some weeks, ours includes lots of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame), some weeks it's heavy on dried fruit. Once I got the basic formula straight, it freed me to customize based on my pantry. 

The only hiccup arises when I shut off the oven timer but not the oven, and forget to take it out. Admittedly, this has happened more than once. Sigh. This recipe is easy enough for kids to make on their own, with adult oven supervision. It's perfect for a nut free, gluten free meal or snack, though it's best to always read labels if cross contamination is an issue for you. Be sure to check the recipe notes following the recipe for some variation ideas. 

homemade granola

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut or coconut chips
1/4 cup dried cherries

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the oats and seeds together in a large bowl.
3. Mix in the cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.
4. Stir in the oil, maple, and vanilla.
5. Place onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the granola is light brown.
6. Add coconut in the last 10 minutes of baking.
7. Remove from the oven and add dried cherries. Let the whole thing cool.
8. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Notes: 
1. If you can have nuts, feel free to add those in! A little crunch would probably be delightful here. Start with 1/2 cup and go from there. Add at the same time as seeds. 
2. If you don't want cocoa powder, eliminate it. I like the earthy flavor that it adds, but it's not for everyone. 
3. If you don't have coconut oil, any neutral oil (like avocado or grapeseed) will do. 
4. Feel free to substitute any dried fruit for the dried cherries. Options might include chopped dried apricots, or raisins, or dried banana pieces. 
5. I love coconut, but if you hate it, eliminate it. 
6. I've tried this recipe with honey, and I prefer maple's more subtle sweetness. Both are doable in this recipe though. 
7. I've tried reducing the amount of maple added, but it didn't taste as good in my opinion. 

Overcooked granola happens (see below). Don't sweat it. Just eat it. #wastenotwantnot 

lunchbox with overcooked granola

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