This easy granola recipe is oil-free and flavored with oranges and pecans, making it the ideal snack or breakfast. A homemade granola that is vegan and refined sugar-free, it utilizes 10 different whole food plant-based ingredients. Eat it by the handful or in a bowl with fresh fruit and yogurt or milk, it's wonderful either way. The scent will be heavenly in your kitchen, too!
What I love about this particular granola is the tasty citrus-dessert flavor that comes from the orange zest and juice mixing with the vanilla and pecans. Oh yeah. This granola satiates with nutritious whole foods, is easily packable, and tastes delicious.
If I have a choice between trail mix and granola, I'm going for the granola. Trail mix can often be too sweet, too salty, too much fat per handful, or yep - just too many raisins, people. The oats in granola help spread the love without overdoing one component, and oven-toasting all the ingredients adds so much more yum to the situation.
Ingredients and Substitutions
This granola will definitely help you reach your goal of eating 30 different plant foods per week, with a total of 10! I am including vanilla here, which is just a scant amount per serving.)
Not sure what I mean by 30 different plant foods per week? It's the recommended amount for optimal human health based on the American Gut Project.
Oranges: We're using both the zest and juice in this recipe. I don't recommend any substitutions for either since they provide the primary flavor in the recipe.
Maple syrup: This adds sweetness throughout the batch. Date syrup is a nice substitute.
Vanilla: It really enhances the flavor of the orange and pecans. I would make sure to include it!
Rolled oats: The bulk of this recipe, and full of fiber!
Raw pecans: I love the sweet, nutty flavor of pecans, and they go so well with orange. That said, if you only have walnuts or another nut, go ahead and use those. Need to go nut free? Just leave them out.
Coconut flakes: Any size works well, it's up to you. They provide a rich flavor that's so delicious when toasted! They could be left out if you're wanting to reduce the fat in this recipe.
Unsweetened dried cranberries and apricots: They add beautiful color, texture, flavor that goes well with pecan and orange, and sweetness. The dried fruit is optional, depending on your preferences. I love this granola with just the nuts and seeds!
Raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds: These provide additional texture and nutrients. They are less expensive than nuts and could replace the pecans in a pinch.
Hemp seeds: Another layer of texture and flavor that brings additional nutrients, like omega-3s. Ground flax seeds could substitute for the hemp seeds.
Salt: This also enhances the flavors overall. That said, if you're avoiding salt, the granola will still be delicious if you skip it.
We're simply combining the ingredients and baking.
I forget how easy granola is to make. Especially vegan, totally plant-based, real food granola. There's no need to even melt anything with this particular recipe.
A simple way to combine the ingredients is to add the wet ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
Then, stir in the remaining ingredients except the dried fruit (it can get overcooked and harden too much in the oven), starting with the oats.
Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until toasted golden brown. Flip every 10 minutes or so to help it bake evenly. I like to scoot all the granola from the edges toward the middle, then carefully flip it and spread it back out.
Let cool, add the dried fruit (if using) and serve.
To evenly cook the granola so that it's golden brown throughout, flip it every 15 minutes or so. When flipping the granola, first push all the outer edges toward the center, then scoop from the middle back to the outer edges to ensure more even baking.
Keep an eye on the coconut. It's amazing toasted but can overcook if the granola needs more time. When you flip the granola, try burying the coconut a bit to avoid burning.
Remember to add the dried fruit after you bake the granola so that it doesn't overcook.
In the ingredients section, I've indicated that several ingredients are optional. I really like this granola as simply oats, pecans, seeds, and the wet ingredients.
For a less crunchy granola: This is a pretty crunchy granola. Adding a healthy fat to the wet ingredients makes it less so. To do this, place the wet ingredients in a blender along with 2-4 tablespoons of nut or seed butter (such as almond butter). Blend until well combined, then place the wet mixture in a bowl and continue the recipe.
For a sweeter granola: This is not a super sweet granola without the dried fruit. If you would like it sweeter, add up to another ¼ cup maple syrup.
Serving and Storing
Serve once cooled and then store any completely cooled granola in an airtight container. I like to use a large mason jar. Store in a cool, dry place for a couple weeks or so.
I have not yet put this granola in the freezer, though I imagine it would freeze fine if you did so on a baking sheet and then placed the frozen bits in a freezer-safe container.
Favorite ways to eat this granola
The classic way: in a bowl with your favorite nondairy milk and fresh fruit
As a topping for a smoothie bowl
In a packable container for a snack on the go
Straight out of the jar by the handful
Sprinkled on top of cooked fruit, ice cream, or a coconut yogurt parfait
More granola recipes
Oil-free Orange Pecan Granola Recipe (vegan)
- mixing bowl large
- baking sheet
- parchment or silicone mat
- 1 tablespoon orange zest from about 2 large oranges
- ¾ cup orange juice from the zested oranges; see note
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups rolled oats gluten-free, if necessary
- ½ cup pecans raw
- ½ cup coconut flakes any size shred; optional
- ¼ cup raw pepitas pumpkin seeds; or double the seeds
- ¼ cup hemp seeds or ground flax seed
- ¼ teaspoon salt or as desired
- ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries optional
- ½ cup unsweetened dried apricots chopped; optional
- Set the oven to bake at 325 degrees. Line two small or one large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl, starting with zesting your oranges.Then stir in the remaining ingredients, except the dried fruit, until well combined.
- In a thin layer, spread the raw granola evenly on the baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, carefully flipping the granola about every 10 minutes to toast evenly. The granola is done when the granola is a toasty brown, which may mean another 10 minutes or so. Ovens vary; check every 5 minutes until golden. Keep an eye on the coconut flakes, if using, burying them in the granola if needed to avoid burning. The toasted coconut is worth it!
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, stir in the dried fruit (if using), and let cool completely.
- Once completely cooled, pour the granola into air-tight containers or jars and store for up to a couple weeks in a cool dry place.