Naturally Sweetened Mocha Granola {Gluten Free, Vegan}

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bard Valley Natural Delights but as always, all opinions are my own.

Coffee and chocolate.  If you ask me, they’re the perfect pair.  They taste delicious, they smell delicious and they’ve both been said to help boost athletic performance….or so I’ve read.  

Honestly, I’ll use any excuse I can get to include either of them in my diet.  The first thing I do when I wake up is brew myself a cup of coffee and if it’s a good day, chocolate will make it’s way onto my breakfast menu as well.

What I DON’T want to make it’s way into my morning fuel is refined added sugar – it makes my stomach feel icky which is why I generally avoid it.  Problem is, chocolate flavored anything (think cereals, snack bars), usually are loaded with all sorts of hidden sugars.  

Thankfully, there are smarter ways to add a little sweetness to the early morning menu without all the spoonfuls of processed sugar.  Enter, Bard Valley Natural Delights Medjool Dates.  Not only are these little nuggets of fruit naturally sweet, they’re also packed with potassium making them the perfect way to refuel during breakfast after an early morning run or workout.  

Since discovering my love for Medjool dates (I am not sure what took me so long), I’ve found a variety of ways to work them into my diet including as “caramel” in this Chocolate Turtle Dessert Parfait and these No Bake Carrot Cake Bites which are perfectly portable post-workout.

Most recently, I also figured out how to sweeten homemade granola with Medjool Dates.

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Naturally Sweetened Mocha Granola

Homemade granola is great for a variety of reasons especially as a way to refuel since the oats are a great source of vitamins, minerals and protein.  Mixing in pureed Pitted Medjool Dates  takes it to another level.  As I mentioned before, they’re chock-full of potassium (awesome for muscle recovery) and they also happen to be high in fiber (helps absorb the natural sugars) and low on the glycemic index (meaning no mid-morning sugar crashes).  

Combined, the oats and Medjool dates are quite the power duo.  Combine that with cacao and espresso powder (aka mocha) and it makes one seriously kick-butt, post-workout naturally sweetened granola.  

And THAT’S how you fit all your breakfast favorites into one bowl.  BOOM!

mocha granola 3



Naturally Sweetened Mocha Granola

Naturally Sweetened Mocha Granola

Naturally Sweetened Mocha Granola





Naturally Sweetened Mocha Granola {Gluten Free, Vegan}




  • 3 cups gluten free quick rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 6 Pitted Medjool Dates, pureed
  • 2-3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse Medjool dates along in a food processor along with hot water (start with ¼ cup).  Add water in small increments until a creamy paste forms.
  3. Add oats, almond butter, cacao powder, espresso powder, Medjool dates and extract into a mixing bowl.
  4. Combine mixture until evenly until large clusters form (some will still be loose, that’s okay).
  5. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture on, distributing evenly.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, remove and spoon mixture around so that it doesn’t burn and place back in the oven.  Bake for another 5 minutes, watch to make sure it doesn’t burn and remove sooner, if needed.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool.
  8. Pour granola into a large bowl along with any desired extras (almonds, pecans, etc).
  9. Store in airtight mason jars.

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Have a recipe to share? Be sure to linkup with us for Foodie Friday! 

Welcome back to our weekly Foodie Friday link up! I’m linking up with Farrah from Fairyburger and Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl.  Also, make sure you hop around to check out all the amazing recipes in this link up and feel free to add your recipes as well!


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About me

Annmarie is a self proclaimed foodie, avid long distance runner and functional fitness coach. A DVRT Master Trainer, HKC Instructor and food allergy sufferer, she writes about strength training for runners as well as shares allergy friendly recipes for busy athletes.   She is also the owner of Strength In Motion Studio, mother of two sassy sisters and wife to a chronically busy chiropractor.   Subscribe by email for updates to get the latest workouts, advice and recipes straight to your inbox!


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