Crunchy Granola Recipe (Paleo, Gluten Free, Vegan, Insanely Delicious!!)

granola recipe

Here it is… The Granola Recipe that is delicious, crunchy, nutrient-packed and so easy to make! It makes a nice big batch of super versatile goodness. Grab a handful for a snack, use it as a cereal substitute, take your parfaits up about ten notches!

Crunchy Granola

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1 cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups Almond Meal
  • 2 cups Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 4 cups Raw Slivered Almonds
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1 t Sea Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup Raw Honey (or Maple Syrup to make it Vegan)
  • 1 T Vanilla Extract

Add ins:

  • Raisins or Dried Cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Mix together all the Dry Ingredients in a BIG bowl.
  3. Combine the Wet Ingredients in a SMALL bowl.
  4. Stir the Wet Ingredients into the BIG bowl with the Dry Ingredients until evenly distributed.
  5. Spread the mixture onto two baking sheets as thinly and evenly as possible.
  6. Bake until toasted – from 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and stir on the baking sheets to bring the edges to the center and the center to the edges.
  8. Place back in the oven for 15 more minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool completely on the baking sheets.
  10. Crumble the granola as you remove it from the baking sheets and add in the raisins or cranberries.
  11. Store in a dry, cool place (like a 1/2 gallon glass mason jar) and enjoy!

BIG THANKS to one of my earliest friends (I think we met when we were three years old!) and a Lean.Green.Kitchen community member Melissa, who sent this recipe my way. The world needs this granola!!

Granola Recipe  Yogurt Parfait? Why, yes thank you!

Granola Recipe  Granola Cereal? Don’t mind if I do.

I would highly recommend putting together a batch of homemade yogurt to go with all this granola goodness!

homemade yogurt   The Easiest Real Food You’re Not Making… Yet!

Gatorade is not healthy!

Gatorade Alternative

Gatorade is filled with nasty chemicals, artificial flavorings, colorings and lots of refined sugar. It is not healthy!! If you need more info to decide if drinking Gatorade or Powerade is for you, I encourage you to read these three articles before making your decision. Then come on back and make the EASY and CHEAP Gatorade alternative recipe below. It tastes so much better than the processed nastiness!

NPR – Some Athletes Reject High Tech Sports Fuel in Favor of Real Food

Food Babe – The Secret Behind Gatorade and How to Replenish Electrolytes Naturally

The Atlantic – The Controversial Science of Sports Drinks


Lemon-Orange “Aid”

  • Mix 2 cups coconut water, juice from a lemon and half an orange, 1T maple syrup (or honey), a pinch of salt.
  • You can make it stronger or sweeter to your preference and dilute it with extra water and ice to what works best for you.
  • I like to slice the other half of the orange into rounds and float them in the jar. The drink gets better after spending a night in the refrigerator.

For more hydration drink options, check out this post: Stay Hydrated

Hydration Smoothie Vitamin Water Gatorade Alternative

Kids Clean Up: Taco Bell’s Pintos and Cheese

Taco Bell Beans

We are very due for a Kids Clean Up here at the Lean.Green.Kitchen. Since I’ve been working on perfecting my pinto bean recipe, I thought we could clean up one of my childhood fast food favorites: Taco Bell’s Pintos and Cheese side dish. The creamy beans, zesty sauce and flavorful cheese come together to make a filling, cheap grab-and-go snack or side. So the challenge is to duplicate this full flavored item while maintaining the thrifty quickness.

What We Are Cleaning Up


Taco Bell Pintos and Cheese Ingredients:

Beans: Pinto Beans, Soy Oil (Trans Fat Free Shortening With TBHQ And Citric Acid To Protect Flavor), Seasoning Blend (Salt, Sugar, Spice, Beet Powder [Color], Autolyzed Yeast Extract (Contains Gluten), Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin [Corn, Potato, Tapioca], Inactivated Yeast, Corn Flour, Natural Flavors, Trehalose, Modified Corn Starch And Less Than 2% Silicone Dioxide As A Processing Aid).

Sauce: Modified Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Salt, Tomato Powder, Onion Powder, Spices, Garlic Powder, Yeast Extract (Contains Gluten), Extractives Of Paprika (Color), Xanthan Gum, Malic Acid, Caramel Color,Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Trehalose, Natural Flavors, And Less Than 2% Silicon Dioxide Added As A Processing Aid.

Cheese: Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color), Anti-Caking Agent.

That’s a whole lot of yuck for a dish so simple, in my humble opinion! So I cleaned it up and have been enjoying my version ever since.

Pintos and Cheese Clean-Up

Beginning with the pinto beans, the best way I’ve found to have these ready to go, is to make a big batch of them in the crockpot for use all week long. (They can also be frozen for use later, if the batch makes more than you need.) I have tweaked a recipe I found many years ago by Little House of Veggies and it produces a pinto bean very close to the texture of the Taco Bell version.

Creamy Pinto Beans Recipe


  • 2 cups dried pinto beans (plus water for soaking overnight.)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3T tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1T cumin
  • 1t coriander
  • 1t chili powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • 1t garlic salt
  • 1t salt
  • a few cranks from a pepper grinder or 1/2t ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Soak pinto beans overnight. Drain and discard soaking water.
  2. Place all ingredients in a crockpot and heat on low for ten hours.
  3. When finished, gently mash beans with potato masher to get to desired creaminess.
  4. Serve or cool to store in the refrigerator.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 8 hours

Makes approximately 6 cups of beans.

Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Next we need a mild but flavorful enchilada sauce to pour over the top of our beans. This recipe from The Gracious Pantry is easy and makes a lot! You can plan out other fun enchilada sauce uses to go through all of it. The ingredient list is: olive oil, whole wheat pastry flour, chili powder, tomato sauce, water, ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder. I made a half batch and it still made a quart of sauce! Find the recipe here: The Gracious Pantry Enchilada Sauce.


All we need now is to put it together with some cheese! You can use your favorite cheese (I used a local firehouse jack cheese that was super zing-y!), a cheese substitute (to make it vegan) or skip the cheese altogether and go for other fun toppers. I’ve added cilantro, radish slices, blue corn chips, sour cream and green onions to mine over the past few weeks.

You can also wrap it all up in a tortilla and have a Cleaned-Up version of a Taco Bell Bean and Cheese Burrito!


I think we hit this one out of the park. This is something cheap and easy that I can store in my fridge all week and pull out as necessary for a snack or a base for a quick meal. It is kid approved and can be jazzed up to make me happy too.

Taco Bell Beans

Pintos and Cheese might go really nicely with this Mexican Caesar Salad. Check it out!

Mexican Caesar Salad  Mexican Caesar Salad

Another crowd favorite meal with similar flavor profile and crockpot ease is the Crockpot Taco Soup. Have you tried this one?

Taco Soup  Crockpot Taco Soup