This oil-free Vegan Maple Bacon Granola is the ultimate salty-sweet snack or crunchy topping with an unexpected veggie secret ingredient!
This recipe involves all kinds of crazy combining…
Sweet + savory.
Breakfast + dinner.
Vegan + maple bacon.
Granola + veggies.
Not to mention its part of an awesome Vegan Brinner (breakfast + dinner) Collab over on YouTube. A collab of unexpected flavors within a collab of amazing vegan video creators if you will.
Okay even I will admit this recipe is not the most on-theme brinner idea. But when you’re me and the idea of posting a real dinner recipe seems very awkward, a breakfast food with added dinner-ish things like vegetables and smoky coconut bacon is about as brinner as it gets. Plus if true brinner food is what you are after, there are 9 other amazing recipes for that!
But brinner or just salty/sweet snack, this stuff is can’t-stop-at-one-handful good. So bring both of your hands. And maybe a jar to fill up for the road. Oooh and a bowl of ice cream because you know that’s going to be a tasty topping contrast. And if you happen to have a glazed donut lying around, grab that and we can maple bacon it up too since donuts seem to be an integral part of the maple bacon movement.
The maple bacon thing is absolutely one of those over-the-top crazy food combos that even I scoffed at for a long time. But now that the hype is years behind us and people have moved on to unicorn milkshakes instead, I can appreciate the actually delicious sweet + savory fusion of my favorite sweetener plus smoky “bacon” flavor. Not gonna lie, using vegan coconut bacon makes it seem much less absurd too. Because putting coconut flakes in granola is something I’ve been doing since long before maple and bacon ever joined forces.
This is actually my first time making coconut bacon and…why did I wait so long? It’s the easiest thing that took me all of 3 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to bake to crispy perfection. I used this recipe but only made a half batch because
I didn’t realize how low I was on coconut flakes that’s all the more you need for one batch of granola. Actually you will still probably have some extra, but I do reccomend adding lots to the granola so every bite has a bit of bacon flavor to compliment the sweet maple clusters.
If you are truly opposed to the idea of having to use your oven twice for one recipe, I’m pretty sure you can even buy vegan coconut bacon nowadays. Although I did strategically adjust the granola recipe from my usual granola baking time/temp to match the coconut bacon, so you can just toss them in the oven together and then mix once both are toasty.
Now let’s talk about the white cruciferous elephant in the room. Because there are two cups of cauliflower in this seemingly-just-a-snack food, but no one will ever know as long as neither of us spill the granola beans.
The tricky part about adding cauliflower to granola is moisture. Once you start cooking the stuff it’s amazing how much steam it can create. But too much moisture is a sure-fire path to mushy granola, so we have to toast the hell out of the cauliflower before adding it into the bowl of granola ingredients. I tried roasting it in the oven, but that took way too long and still turned out mushy. Toasting it stove-top style works better, and will create crispy little crumbles much faster.
I used frozen riced cauliflower, but you can use fresh cauliflower and rice it yourself in a blender or food processor too. It might take a little longer to toast since the frozen stuff comes pre-cooked, but it will still work. Two cups (measured after ricing) toasts down to a surprisingly small amount, so those toasty little cruciferous bits are hardly detectable after the granola is done. And I promise you won’t taste it at all.
Now about that Vegan Brinner Collab I mentioned. You can watch the full playlist of video recipes HERE. Or take a peek at the recipe line-up with links below…
1. Vegan Maple Bacon Granola from ME!
2. Vegan Breakfast Bao from The Kale Sandwich Show
3. Vegan Breakfast Nachos from Sweet Simple Vegan
4. Vegan Chickun and Waffles from Lisa Reimi
5. Vegan Breakfast Pizza from From My Bowl
6. Vegan Breakfast Tacos from Meat Free Athlete
7. Vegan Egg McMuffins from The Viet Vegan
8. Vegan Breakfast Lasagna from Hot For Food
9. Loaded Potato Waffles from Two Market Girls
10. Vegan Savory Bread Pudding from VeganLovlie
Vegan Maple Bacon Granola with Cauliflower
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
This easy Vegan Maple Bacon Granola is the ultimate salty-sweet snack or crunchy topping with a healthy veggie surprise mixed in!
- 2 cups riced cauliflower ((I used pre-riced frozen cauliflower))
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans ((or any nut/seed))
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 cup coconut bacon ((*see notes))
- Add the riced cauliflower to a nonstick pan. Cook over medium heat until toasted and crispy, stirring frequently (about 30 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, pecans, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the toasted cauliflower and maple syrup. Stir to evenly coat.
- Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 350F or until the edges are lightly brown. (You can bake the coconut bacon at the same time on a separate pan if you haven’t already made it!)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before stirring to create the most clusters.
- Add the coconut bacon and mix.
- Enjoy as a snack or topping! Store in an airtight container to keep it crunchy for as long as possible.
I followed this recipe but only made half as much as called for. You can also buy coconut bacon here.
Leah M | love me, feed me says
This is actual magic!! Cauliflower in granola is blowing my mind. I would happily eat any and all of these brinners for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Considering cereal is a very common dinner for me I think this is a very suitable brinner recipe!! 😉
Cereal and pancakes/waffles are basically both dinner foods in my world too! I never have the motivation to make pancakes early in the morning, and cereal will forever and always be the perfect nighttime meal/snack. So we’ve been brinner-ing since before it was even cool 😀
Jenni Schaffer says
You make everything so beautiful — and I love your humor. I look forward to your posts!!!
That’s so sweet of you to say, thanks Jenni 🙂
Ashley @ The Naked Food Life says
There goes Natalie working her cauliflower magic again! So brilliant – I can’t handle it. And although I have come to hate the word bacon, when it translates to maple toasted coconut I am sooo in!
You know I actually had the same “bacon” connotation thought go through my head when I was titling this one–it’s not the most loved word in the vegan world that’s for sure. We just need to convert everyone to coconut bacon and slowly fix that word association problem 🙂 Thanks Ashley!
Janet Kinamore says
this granola is sweet and savory deliciousness!!
Yes the contrast is so yum! Thanks Janet 🙂
The Vegan 8 says
Oh Natalie, you are speaking my language here! Salty, sweet and smoky. This is one amazing cauliflower recipe idea! I would never in a million years think to add cauliflower to granola because like you, I would think it would be mushy, but cooking it the way you did is a great idea! I have only had coconut bacon once and wasn’t thrilled with it because it tasted too much like coconut. However, it was store-bought so I’m thinking, just like with most things, that homemade would be SO much better! I’m totally going to try the recipe you linked. I have been toying with the idea of a coconut bacon and chive cream cheese recipe for awhile and this just gave me the shove to try the coconut bacon again. I totally want to hoard all of this granola in a big bowl, sit on the couch and stuff my face with it. The color is just beautiful and it looks perfectly crunchy. I have NO restraint when it comes to granola, I can’t stop eating it…but since this is so healthy, no problem there, haha! Beautiful recipe, as always my friend!
Oh yes, i forgot that you aren’t a fan of the actual coconut flavor in things. It still tastes coconutty if you ask me, even homemade, which I love but perhaps not your jam. I’m super curious to try all these rice paper and shiitake bacon recipes that have been floating around too though, vegans are nothing if not creative 🙂 Oooh big yes to that savory cream cheese flavor (and I wouldn’t be made about more cheesecake ice creams too!) Hehe granola is addictive, although somehow I can pretty easily control myself around it when there are things like chocolate and ice cream in the house too 😀 Thanks Brandi!