This vegan Nutella granola is a crunchy, clustery, chocolaty breakfast dream come true. This recipe relies on a secret ingredient to create perfectly crunchy granola that can be broken into massive granola bar hunks, medium clusters, or small, sprinkle-worthy nibbles.
Servings: 15⅓-cup servings
2 ⅓cupsrolled oats, divided
1cupraw hazelnuts, divided
¾cupraw buckwheat groats (or raw shelled sunflower seeds)
2tablespoonsaquafaba (i.e., chickpea or white bean liquid, see note*)
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
¼teaspoonfine-grain sea salt
Preheat the oven to 275F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
Add ⅓ of the rolled oats and ½ cup of the hazelnuts to a food processor and process for 1 minute, or until the texture resembles a coarse flour.
Transfer the hazelnut-oat flour to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining 2 cups of rolled oats. Chop the remaining ½ cup hazelnuts, and add them to the bowl along with the buckwheat groats and sugar. (DON'T add the chocolate chips yet). Use a large wooden spoon to mix.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until emulsified. Pour over the dry ingredients and get stirring. It might seem like there isn't enough liquid to coat the granola, but I promise there is plenty! It just requires a bit of muscle and stirring.
Once every bit of the granola is evenly coated, turn it out onto the lined baking tray and use the back of a spoon or spatula to spread it into a ¾-inch-thick layer across the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have some gaps or holes in the layer—this is fine, just make sure any gaps are towards the middle of the pan. Since the middle bakes slower, doing this will ensure extra even crisping.
Bake for 25 minutes. Then, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over top of the granola, rotate the pan, and bake another 10 to 16 minutes. The granola is ready when it's wafting a toasted scent, the top is a very light golden-brown, and it feels firm but not yet crisp to the touch. Note: Granola is tricky because it doesn't become crisp and crunchy until it's had a chance to cool, so rely on look and scent more than touch or you'll end up with burnt granola clusters.
Once the granola is ready, remove the pan from the oven and place it on an oven-safe cooling rack. Placing the pan on a cooling rack allows air to circulate beneath and around it to efficiently cool and crisp the granola.
Allow the granola to cool completely on the pan until it's not even the slightest bit warm to the touch. If you start moving it around or try to break it into clusters while it's still warm, it could crumble into regular granola. I recommend a minimum 45 minutes of cool time at room temperature, but try to hold out for 1 hour if you can.
Once the granola is completely cool, break it into clusters of desired size.
Store the granola in airtight glass jars or containers to maintain its crunch.
*How to procure aquafaba: Open a can of chickpeas or white beans and measure out 2 tablespoons of the liquid that surrounds the beans. The leftover beans can be used to make hummus!