Sugar Free Granola is the perfectly healthy, grab-and-go, whole food plant-based breakfast or snack.
Figuring out what to eat for breakfast can be one of the most daunting aspects of switching to a plant-based diet. Especially for those of us who avoid oil and refined sugar, since most prepared breakfast foods are full of them.
Most days for breakfast, I’ll go for oatmeal or a whole grain bowl—like Quinoa Porridge with Berries and black lentils. But some days, we all really need a zero-effort breakfast. Just bake up a batch of this homemade sugar free granola in advance, and you’ve got a perfectly wholesome and healthy convenience food.
I started making my own granola when I had trouble finding whole food, plant-based compliant cereal and breakfast bars. Even brands that were refined sugar free, tended to have oil or honey. So I created this easy granola recipe that’s free of refined sugars, oil free and vegan. You can easily make it nut free too; just skip the nuts if desired.
Why I Love This Sugar Free Vegan Granola
If you haven’t experienced the warm smells of cinnamon and vanilla wafting through your house while baking homemade granola, you’re really missing out. It toasts up all golden brown and crispy, making it SO hard not to sit down and just shovel it into your mouth by the spoonful.
And it’s incredibly simple to make. Just toss your ingredients together in a mixing bowl, add a ‘flax egg’ to help everything stick together, spread it out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake. Give it a good toss halfway through so it cooks evenly. That’s it.
I have, of course, included ingredients and measurements for this recipe, but honestly, once you get the hang of it, you could just grab a handful of this and a pinch of that, and do your own thing here. Just don’t go overboard with the vanilla, because that can ruin the flavor.
What is Erythritol?
This granola recipe is refined sugar-free because we use the natural sweetener, erythritol. Erythritol (like Swerve brand), is found naturally in foods like melons and peaches, and can be purchased as a whole food plant-based compliant sweetener. Dr. Greger of nutritionfacts.org tells us researchers have not only found erythritol to be harmless, but it appears that it’s also an antioxidant (video). So just like miso is a ‘green light’ salt, erythritol is a ‘green light’ sweetener.
I’ve just started experimenting with erythritol, but so far, I’ve found it pretty straightforward to use. Because it’s similar to regular white sugar in consistency, it’s easy to substitute. It’s only about 70% as sweet as sugar, so as a sugar replacement, you’d need to use more to achieve the same degree of sweetness. However, I like to keep it 1:1, and enjoy a slightly less sweet recipe.
You can find Swerve brand sweetener in most stores (at least in the U.S.) and on Amazon. However, if you can’t find it or prefer to use another sweetener, I’ve got options to substitute date paste or maple syrup instead.
How to Eat Sugar Free Granola
I like to eat this granola like a breakfast cereal, with a little plant milk, extra cinnamon, ground flax and berries. It gives my Quinoa Porridge a nice little crunch and sweetness, too.
It’s only mildly sweet, so it doesn’t add extra sweetness to dishes where you don’t want it. This makes it a great crumble-style topping for dishes like my Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole or Apple Crisp.
And of course, it’s addictive by the handful, straight out of the jar. (No judgment—I can think of worse things to throw down in a moment of dietary desperation. :))
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Sugar Free Granola
- 3 cups rolled oats certified gluten-free if desired
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts omit for nut-free, or sub raw sunflower or pepita seeds
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes or sub 2 tablespoons shredded.
- ¼ cup erythritol like Swerve brand--see notes. Or sub 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup or date paste
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons warm water to make a 'flax egg'
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional: Pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a small bowl, add the ground flax seed and warm water, and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, erythritol (or sweetener of choice), and cinnamon. Toss together.
- Add the vanilla and flax egg to the dry ingredients, and stir together.
- Spread the granola evenly over a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place on center rack of oven. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, tossing halfway through the cooking time.
Hi I just made this, lol actually it’s still in the oven, and I realized you didn’t say anything about storage? How long will it last? Refrigerated because of the flax egg? It smells wonderful. I made it with date paste. Can’t wait to try it! I would love if you responded re: storage instructions please
You can store this granola for several weeks in the pantry, no need to refrigerate. I haven't tried with date paste so can't be sure about how pantry stable it might be as adapted. Enjoy!
Can the oats be quick cook variety?
Hi Stephen, I haven't tried this using quick cook oats. My guess is that it would still work, but the texture would be slightly different. I'd love to know how it turns out if you decide to try it!
I am wondering how it would be consider a whole food since it is very processed. It’s a good sugar replacement esp for diabetes but I don’t know if I would consider it a whole food?
Hi Teresa, in the WPFP diet, most docs/experts recommend limiting foods that are processed, but not avoiding them completely. For example, almond butter, hummus, miso, tofu--all of these are processed, but can add flavor, texture and variety to our diets. I hope you watched the video I linked to about Swerve/erythritol. If it's Dr. Michael Greger approved, I feel comfortable including it in this recipe. Thanks!
Very true! I might give this a try since I am avoiding sugar and I love granola. Thanks for the recipe!
Hope you enjoy it!
Just made this today and absolutely loved it. Great flavor and consistency.
Hi Lyn, I'm so happy to hear that you loved this recipe! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day. 🙂
Is that 136 calories per serving?
Yes, per serving.