This allergy-free granola features caramelized bananas, fresh-squeezed orange juice and chai spice for a delicious recipe with strong fall vibes. Easily adaptable for vegan and lactose-free diets as well!
I don’t have kids, nor do I have any allergies myself, so for most of my life I’ve given absolutely no thought to creating peanut-free (and other allergen free) recipes. But a few years ago Mr. Diplomat and I decided to go to the allergy clinic to see why he was breaking out in hives all the damn time.
The answer, as it turns out, is that he’s allergic to a great deal of things. Not enough to kill him (with some exceptions!), just enough to make his life itchy and miserable. Once we realized that basically all nuts were off the table, we stopped doing things like- you know- shoving handfuls of trail mix and granola in our faces. The hives crisis abated.
The unfortunate truth is that most commercially available granola is full of allergens. And we love granola! And so this recipe (and probably many subsequent ones) for allergy-free granola was born.
I want to say for the record that I’m sure there are some people in the world who are allergic to something in this recipe, so of course read it carefully. But for us this is a totally allergy-free granola; and there’s a lot to contend with around here. That means this is a recipe with NO coconut, NO peanuts or nuts of any other type, and NO sesame. Also…no to a lot of other allergens, although it would be weird if my granola recipe had eggs or crustaceans in it.
If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, all you need to do to adapt this recipe is substitute out the butter when caramelizing the bananas. Any neutral-flavored oil will do. Cook on medium low heat and stir often, as the bananas like to stick to the bottom even with the oil. Whatever is stuck on the bottom will come up with the addition of the orange juice.
The other thing to note is to be sure to stir thoroughly every 5 minutes while baking. If you don’t, this recipe can burn pretty easily. Once done, your caramelized banana orange chai granola will still be slightly soft but don’t worry! It will harden as it cools. Also be sure to wait to put it in a sealed container until it is completely cool. If your granola is still warm, it will steam in the jar and stay forever soft.
Caramelized Banana Orange Chai Granola
- 2 bananas
- 2 tbsp butter (substitute neutral oil of choice to make vegan / lactose free)
- 3 small oranges, juiced (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp chai spice
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or other fruit of choice)
- 1/2 cup dried blueberries (or other fruit of choice)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one or two rectangular baking sheets (I need two).
Heat butter or oil of choice in a medium saucepan. Break bananas into small pieces and put in the saucepan. Cook bananas in butter, stirring often, until golden brown and carmelized.
Juice oranges. Pour orange juice into the saucepan along with vanilla, maple syrup, chai spice and salt.
Mash remaining banana pieces into the sauce and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for five minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
Pour rolled oats and pumpkin seeds into a large mixing bowl. Add sauce to bowl and stir until evenly coated.
Spread evenly in a single layer on greased baking sheets. Use as many as you need to not overcrowd the granola.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, being sure to stir every 5 minutes to keep from burning and to break up clumps. When you remove your granola from the oven it will be a dark golden brown but still soft- it will crisp up after removing from heat.
Let cool COMPLETELY and place in a sealed container.
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