Date-Sweetened Chai Granola

Date-sweetened chai granola. A nut-free granola that’s perfectly sweetened with dates! A delicious and nutritious vegan breakfast.

chai granola in a bowl

A fall-inspired granola that’s nut-free and sweetened with dates. This granola is delicious eaten by the handful or served with plant-based milk or yogurt.

This recipe was originally created in 2018 and has been updated with new photography and more details. It’s also inspired by Natalie from Feasting on Fruit. Her date-sweetened granola was my absolute favorite when I avoided added sugar (more on my journey to making peace with food here) and I decided to share it with you, adding my own little twist. It’s still my go-to fall granola to this day.

Here’s what I did: First, I added chai spices to the granola for a touch of fall flavors. Second, I decided to make it nut-free by using sunflower seed butter. This recipe is easily customizable and you can find all of my substitution notes below. I hope you’ll enjoy this date-sweetened granola!

granola ingredients
date granola mixture in a food processor
granola mixture in a bowl
date sweetened chai granola on a baking sheet
How to Make Date-Sweetened Granola

Start by making the date mixture: In a food processor, add the Medjool dates, sunflower seed butter, water and vanilla. Process until you get a creamy and sticky mixture. This is what will bind the granola together.

Transfer the date mixture to a mixing bowl, along with the oats, seeds, spices and salt. Mix it all together until combined.

Bake the granola for 40 minutes, tossing it halfway. The granola will continue to crisp up as it cools down. It should be lightly sweet and crispy. Let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes on Substitutions
  • You can make a regular granola by skipping the spices, though I highly recommend at least keeping the cinnamon.
  • Feel free to use any nut/seed butter. Almond butter and peanut butter also work well in this recipe. Of course, use seed butter for a nut-free option.
  • If nuts aren’t an issue, you can substitute the seeds for nuts, such as pecans, walnuts or chopped almonds. You can also do a mix of both.
  • I don’t recommend using regular dates instead of Medjool dates. Medjool dates are sweeter and softer, helping the granola stick together better. That being said, they will work in a pinch. I recommend soaking them in boiling water for 10 minutes before using. You might need to adjust the baking time to get a crunchy granola.
More Vegan Granola Recipes
date-sweetened chai granola in a bowl from the side
chai granola on yogurt

Date-Sweetened Chai Granola

A delicious, easy and healthy granola with hint of fall flavors. This recipe is made without added sugar thanks to dates, plus it's nut-free, gluten-free and oil-free. Eat it by the handful or serve it with plant-based milk or yogurt.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (or nut/seed butter of choice)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups seeds of choice (I use 1/2 cup each of flax, pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • In a food processor or high-speed blender, process the dates, sunflower seed butter, water and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the date mixture until evenly coated.
  • Spread the granola evenly on both prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Stir the granola, moving the bits on the inside to the outside and vice versa. Return to the oven and bake another 20-25 minutes until dry and crispy, checking every 10 minutes and stirring so the edges don’t burn.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely before storring in jars or airtight container. The granola will get crispier as it cools.

Notes

Feel free to use any nut/seed butter. If you’re not looking for a nut-free recipe, almond butter and peanut butter also work well.
If nuts aren’t an issue, you can substitute the seeds for nuts, such as pecans or chopped almonds. 
You can skip the spices (except for the cinnamon) to make a basic granola flavor.
Recipe adapted from Feasting on Fruit’s date-sweetened granola.

If you make this date-sweetened chai granola, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

10 Comments

  • Pamela Winningham

    Hi there! Would this recipe work well as granola bars? I want something easy and packable (flat) to take on hikes.
    I can’t wait to try it!! All my favorite spices 🙂

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Pamela, I think that would be delicious! It might be a trial and error the first time (they may be crumbly). I would press really well in a dish before baking and then bake for the same amount of time or adjust as needed. Again, I can’t guarantee they’ll be perfect without trying first, but it’s worth a try! You can also check out my pumpkin spice date bites if you’re looking for a fall hiking snack. They’re no-bake and so easy to pack! Hope this helps. 🙂

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Rabia, the nut or seed butter is an important part of the recipe and it helps it stick. I haven’t tried any alternatives, so I can’t guarantee anything else would work. Normally you could use maple syrup or rice syrup to make it stick, although this may make the recipe too sweet due to the dates. Sorry I can’t help more!

  • Carola

    I really want to try this recipe! Is there a way to avoid dates? I never have them in my pantry, plus I have PCOS so I should keep sugars law. I was thinking about a touch of honey instead (still sugar but at least I have it, and I’d use very little of it). Thank you in advance (:

    • Nourished by Caroline

      Hi Carola, I haven’t tried this one without dates and it may be difficult to determine how much honey to use. I do however have another granola recipe that’s very similar, but it’s sweetened with maple syrup. You could easily use honey instead! It uses 1/2 a cup, but you could try reducing it and adding a little more nut or seed butter. It may just be a little more crumbly that way, but it would still taste good. Look for maple peanut butter granola on my blog (it’s a newer recipe). You could also add the chai spices! Hope this helps. 🙂

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WELCOME!

Nourished by Caroline

I’m Caroline, a registered dietitian located in Kelowna, British Columbia. I focus on plant-based nutrition and intuitive eating. I believe in living a balanced life, while eating the food you love. Learn more about my practice here or book an appointment today!