Chocolate orange granola (GF/VE)
Chocolate orange granola (GF/VE)
Ever fancied eating a chocolate orange for breakfast? Well, now you can. This gluten-free granola is infused with fresh orange and cocoa powder to make delicious chocolatey orange oaty clusters, then tossed with toasted cashews and dark chocolate chunks.
PREP TIME: 10 MINS
COOK TIME: 20 MINS
COOLING TIME: 25 MINS
Buying supermarket granola is all very well until you take a look at the label, and realise just how many products are stuffed with processed sugar and empty calories.
Once you realise how easy is it to make a homemade version, there’s honestly no going back. Most recipes are really simple all-in-one-bowl mixtures, and literally take less than an hour from start to finish.
This one came from some playing about with my original pecan gluten-free granola recipe, with a chocolate orange spin. The orange isn’t too overpowering, and gives the clusters a satisfying, slightly chewy texture that goes perfectly with the crunch from the nuts and chocolate chunks.
It’s best served with unsweetened soya or coconut milk, and even better with fresh strawberries. And as always, it uses free-from, whole ingredients.
Is it healthy?
This granola has 5g added sugar per 45g serving. This is much lower than the majority of shop-bought brands out there, which have an average of 8-9g per 45g. The oats constitute the bulk ingredient, which provides slow-release complex carbohydrates, while only a few spoons of maple syrup are used to sweeten.
It will contain some added sugar from the chocolate chunks, but you can reduce this by buying quality 85% or higher dark chocolate, which will have a lower sugar content than milk or white versions.
This recipe also contains healthy fats from the coconut oil. I’m a huge advocate for not fearing to eat fat – sugar is highly inflammatory and negatively impacts a whole range of things, from heart disease and premature skin ageing, to joint inflammation and insulin resistance.
By contrast, many whole, plant-based fats are a clean and healthy way to sustain your body, build cells, improve brain function and actually reduce the risk of heart issues.
On the surface, coconut is high in saturated fat. However, it has been shown that it actually promotes the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, and may actually support fat loss.
For controlled portions, this granola recipe can definitely be enjoyed as part of a healthy, weight loss or maintenance diet – all the while still feeling like a treat.
Gluten-free jumbo rolled oats – jumbo oats are best used for a nice chunky texture. Feel free to try subbing for instant oats if that’s all you have on hand, although I haven’t trialled them so can’t speak for the results
Coconut oil – this is my go-to essential ingredient for most granola recipes that I make. It helps make those really chunky clusters, as well as slowing the absorption of the sugars from the oats and chocolate, meaning you’ll have less of a blood sugar spike. You can’t taste any coconut in the finished granola
Maple syrup – this adds a subtle sweetness to the chocolate orange coating. You could substitute for honey, or 3 tbsp granulated sugar (melted in a little warm water before adding to the mix)
Cocoa powder – I tend to go all in when I make recipes with chocolate, so this one has added chunks as well as cocoa powder to actually coat the granola. For a less chocolatey version you could omit this, but when doing so you’ll need to cut the orange juice right down to about 2 tsp, as otherwise your mixture will be far too soggy
Dark chocolate – you can either use chocolate chips, which don’t require any prep, or buy a solid bar of dark chocolate and manually chop it into larger, rougher chunks. I actually prefer the latter method, as it has more of a bite to it than the smaller shop-bought chocolate chips. You could even buy a quality bar of dark chocolate with orange pieces in it, for really zingy chocolate chunks
Fresh orange – this recipes uses the zest from the whole orange, but only the juice from 1/2 of it. This is because the mixture will become too runny if too much liquid is added. You can always play around with the quantities if you think the granola mix seems too soggy – e.g. add some more oats and cocoa powder
Cashews – cashews add a nice extra crunch to the granola and are super simple to roast, as they don’t have any skins to remove. For a more traditional pairing, you could swap them out for roasted hazlenuts instead – however, these are a bit of a hassle to prepare, what with having to remove the bitter skins after baking.
Vanilla essence & sea salt – extra flavourings to enhance the chocolate flavour
- Make the granola base: combine the melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, orange zest and juice together in a bowl. Then add the oats and stir to coat them well in the chocolatey orange mixture
- Bake – spread the granola mix evenly on a tray so that it’s about 1cm thick, and bake for 20 minutes at 170°C or 340°F
- Leave to cool until clusters have formed – it’s very important that you don’t stir the granola once it’s out the oven, as clumps will gradually form as it cools (unless you don’t want chunky granola)
- Toast the cashews – lay them on a separate baking tray and sprinkle a little salt over the top. Roast for 15-20 minutes at the same temperature (you can cook alongside the granola to save time), stirring every 5 minutes so as to keep an eye on them. If they look or smell like they’re burning, remove straight away
- Combine the granola with the cashews and chocolate chunks and enjoy (make sure it is fully cool before adding the chocolate)
This granola should be stored in an airtight container for maximum storage life – you can buy nice BPA-free plastic jars with metal screw lids for a tenner on Amazon.
It will keep its freshness for up to 2 weeks. It’ll still be totally safe to eat for up to 4 weeks, but may be going slightly stale by that point.
Chocolate orange gluten-free granola
- Mixing bowl
- 2x baking trays
- 2 cups (175g) gluten-free rolled jumbo oats
- 1 large orange
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (75g) hazlenuts
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- large pinch sea salt
- 100 g dark chocolate chips (or whole bar, broken up)
- Preheat the oven to 175°C or 340°F
- In a small bowl, heat the coconut oil on low power in the microwave until melted. Then, in a large mixing bowl, tip in the coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla essence and salt
- Grate the zest of 1 orange and add into the mixing bowl. Then juice ½ the orange and tip the juice into the bowl. Store the leftover half orange face-down on a small plate in the fridge
- Stir together the ingredients in the bowl until fully mixed together. Then tip in the oats and continue stirring until fully coated in the orange cocoa mixture
- Cover a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, then scoop the granola mixture out onto the tray and press down with a fork until evenly distributed. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes
- On a separate baking tray, arrange the cashews so that they sit fairly close together and sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top. Place in the oven below the granola and bake for 15-20 minutes, giving them a little stir every 5 minutes. They should go slightly golden brown. If they show signs of burning, remove straight away
- Remove the granola from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before stirring, as clusters will only start to form as the granola cools
- Once fully cooled, add the cashews and dark chocolate chunks. Serve with alt-milk and fresh strawberries. Store leftover granola in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks