Whole foods are a new thing to my teenage niece, who has lived with us for the past year. I was able to transition her into whole grains, increase her fruit intake, and even get her to “like” salads. But for the level of exercise she now enjoys, her protein intake is still a bit deficient, particularly in the morning. Since she isn’t a fan of chomping on whole nuts or nut chunks, I decided to get a little creative by using hazelnut meal along with hearty oats and her favorite morning food, chocolate.
In this Nutella-inspired granola, the hazelnut meal blends seamlessly with the oats and natural chocolate coating for a delicious flavor without the overpowering presence of whole nuts. She loves
it, and luckily, my husband and I do, too.
To note, I use certified gluten-free oats in this recipe to keep it gluten-free for my husband. I also use allergy-friendly chocolate chips for a dairy free granola. If you want an even more wholesome option, feel free to substitute cacao nibs for the chocolate chips. It will yield a slightly less sweet, more dark chocolate-hazelnut granola.
Natural New-Tella Granola
Yield: 4 1/2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Preheat your oven to 250ºF.
Place the oats and hazelnut meal in a large bowl, and toss to combine.
Place the sweetener, oil, cocoa, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl, and whisk until smooth.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the oat-hazelnut mixture, and stir until all the oats are well-coated.
Spread the uncooked granola onto a large baking sheet, pressing it into somewhat of a single layer.
Bake for 60 to 90 minutes, checking in to stir every 30 minutes. It should appear toasted, but not burnt, yet will still feel a bit soft (it will crisp up as it cools).
While the granola is still hot, gently stir in some or all of the chocolate chips (we usually add about half), just folding it in a few times; they will melt and “cluster” the granola just a little.
Once cool, stir any remaining chocolate chips into the granola.
Mocha Option (left)
You can add 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee to 1 tablespoon ground coffee (your favorite) depending on your desired intensity. Also, some dairy free dark chocolate covered coffee beans would make a tasty addition in place of the chocolate chips.
Vanilla Hazelnut Option (right)
While I do love chocolate, I’m a devoted vanilla lover first and foremost. For my breakfasts, I decided to balance this dark chocolate yin flavor with a light yang cereal: Vanilla Hazelnut Granola
Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa has three new books in the works, and is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry. Her dietary specialty is dairy free, but she also has expertise in gluten free and allergy-friendly cooking.