Looking for a chunky granola recipe? This pumpkin spice-infused apple pie granola may be what you need. A blend of applesauce, almond butter, and mashed banana provides the stickiness required to hold the granola clumps together. It has no added oil, added sugar, or refined grains! For those with a fat loss goal, we’re also going to cover how to fit this energy-dense treat into the diet.
I’m going to get real with you about this apple pie chunky granola recipe. See that picture of the bowl of granola above? It may look small, but that is about half of the recipe or SIX SERVINGS of granola!
If your goal is fat loss, I do not recommend pouring out a big bowl of granola like it's cold cereal. You could very quickly end up with a 1,000+ calorie meal, as pictured in the bowl above. Think of granola as a condiment to add some sweetness and texture to other foods.
As mentioned in my Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Granola with Raspberries recipe, I typically enjoy a small portion of granola on top of fruit and plain yogurt. This apple pie granola is perfect on top of some fresh chopped apples and unsweetened plain Greek yogurt.
Enjoying this as a “convenience food” may be a good option if you have high energy needs.
High school starts extremely early in my area, and my teen tends to like to sleep in until the last possible moment. For him, the nutritional priority is ensuring he’s eating enough to give him the energy to last him until lunch.
Without breakfast (and other regular meals), he’s at risk of not meeting his high energy needs. It is especially important to ensure that busy teens are eating enough since failure to do so can negatively impact growth and development.
Unfortunately, I cannot start his school day later to help make time for a leisurely family breakfast. What’s been working for him lately is grabbing a baggie of granola and a cup of milk on the way out the door. Items like hard-boiled eggs would be another great option, but he does not care for them (with the exception of these deviled eggs).
The dark chocolate hazelnut granola with raspberries is a favorite of his, but it lacks the chunkiness that makes for a good trail mix. Additionally, the dark chocolate hazelnut granola is packed with coconut and coconut oil, making it a food that is relatively high in saturated fat.
I don’t think we need to be afraid of consuming some saturated fat in the diet (it’s in olive oil, for goodness sake). However, I have a family member who has suboptimal blood cholesterol levels. For persons in that situation, shifting to a diet higher in soluble fiber (like in oats) and lower in saturated fat may help.
So what do you need to make this recipe?
To make apple pie granola, you need apples. (Perhaps no surprises there, eh?) I used Trader Joe’s crunch dried honey crisp apples. The only ingredient in this product is apples.
If you do not have a Trader Joe’s in your area, it is fairly easy to find freeze-dried apples in regular grocery stores. I have even seen them in Walmart Supercenters.
You could also use regular dried apple chips, but these often contain added sugars or added oils. Be sure to check the label to ensure you are getting apples only.
Another critical ingredient in this chunky granola recipe is the oats. My friends over at Bob’s Red Mill were kind enough to send me some of their rolled oats. Eggs, unsweetened oats, fruit, and yogurt are my top breakfast foods, so I was thrilled with this surprise in the mail.
I love it when companies send me whole foods to check out. It’s one of the perks of being a dietitian! It is especially great when the product is something that I regularly use in my own household.
Do you know your oats?
I tend to use rolled oats in my recipes, including this one because they cook quickly and can be incorporated into many dishes. Rolled oats are lightly steamed and then rolled out into different thicknesses (from instant oats to extra thick).
Rolled oats DO count as whole grains because the bran, endosperm, and germ of the grain are left intact. In fact, most of the oats you buy do count as whole grains. (An exception would be a product like oat bran, which does not contain the germ or the endosperm.)
Here are some other types of oats that also count as whole grains:
- Scottish Oats are stone-ground oats cut into pieces of varying sizes (not rolled). These may have a longer cooking time than rolled oats, but some say they make a creamier result.
- Steel-Cut Oats are not rolled either. Instead, the oat groats are cut into two or three even pieces. Oatmeal made with steel-cut oats has a pleasant texture somewhat resembling barley.
- Whole Oat Groats have not been cut or rolled at all. As such, they take the longest to cook of all the above options.
You can cut the cooking time of Scottish, steel-cut, or whole oat groats by soaking them in water overnight in the fridge. However, these types of oats will still generally take much longer to cook compared to rolled oats. The thinner rolled oats are sometimes referred to as “instant” or “quick” oats for a good reason!
As far as texture is concerned, I prefer Scottish or steel-cut oats. When I need a whole grain substitute in a meatball or meatloaf recipe though, nothing beats rolled oats.
Are oats gluten-free?
Oats are a naturally gluten-free grain. However, oats often come in contact with gluten-containing grains in the field or during processing and packing.
Thus, it is essential to check for the certified gluten-free label on any oat products that you purchase if you have celiac disease. According to the information they sent to me, some of the Bob’s Red Mill oats have been confirmed gluten-free. Check the label!
Before getting to the recipe, have you checked out Bloglovin’?
I recently found a new blog reading website and app that I might love even more than the WordPress app. If you are a regular reader of blogs, make sure to check out Bloglovin’.
An advantage over WordPress is that nearly every blog that you can imagine is on there. I’m finding a much larger community of nutrition folks, foodies, and others to connect with. It’s easy to add your favorite blogs to your feed so that you do not miss new posts.
You can connect with Summer Yule Nutrition on Bloglovin’ and follow us at this link. It’s free to sign up and a great way to promote your blog content. I’m the new blogger on the block over there, and would appreciate the support!
If you are visiting from the desktop version of my website, I’ve added a widget to help you connect to Bloglovin’. Have you seen it? You can find it in the righthand column of the recipe posts.
But enough about Bloglovin’. Time to make this apple pie chunky granola recipe!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let’s get cooking!
Apple Pie Chunky Granola Recipe - No Added Sugar!
- 1½ c rolled oats (gluten-free, if needed)
- ¼ c unsweetened applesauce
- 1 medium banana, mashed
- ¼ c creamy almond butter (choose one with no added sugar, no added oil)
- ½ c walnuts, chopped
- ¾ c unsweetened coconut flakes
- ¼ c pecans, chopped
- 1 T pumpkin pie spice
- 1.5 ounces crunch or freeze-dried apples (choose one with no added sugar, no added oil)
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Whisk the applesauce, banana, and almond butter together until well-combined.
- In another bowl, stir the oats, nuts, coconut, and pumpkin pie spice together.
- Add the applesauce mixture to the oats mixture and combine thoroughly.
- Put the mixture on the lined baking tray. Press it into a tight even layer using the back of a spoon. (This helps to make chunkier granola!)
- Bake the granola in the heated oven for 20 minutes. Take the granola out and flip it, breaking up the chunks into large pieces with a spatula.
- Put the flipped granola back into the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Let the granola cool on the counter. After it has completely cooled, mix in the dried apples.
- This recipe makes 6 cups of loosely packed granola. Each serving is ½ cup. Enjoy!
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Though granola is packed with ingredients that are generally considered healthy, it is an energy-dense food. I recommend pairing it with fruits that are high in fiber and water and protein to make a filling meal. In the example discussed above, I used a small portion of granola on top of chopped apples and unsweetened non-fat Greek yogurt. Those with higher needs may find that foods like granola can help prevent an unwanted calorie deficit. This recipe is an excellent choice since we’ve eliminated the added sugars, oils, and refined grains in typical granola recipes.
Are you on Bloglovin’? What are some of your favorite healthy food blogs to follow? As always, please leave a rating if you try this apple pie chunky granola recipe!