Kale Granola! {Two vegan recipes}

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by JL Fields on April 16, 2012

I have been obsessed. Obsessed, I tell you!

Last month I visited Lifethyme Natural Market for the first time and picked up a package of kale granola.  What? Uh huh, kale granola. I almost didn’t buy it.  First I grabbed a bag of BBQ Kale Chips and was being obnoxiously loud and giddy about finding it. One of the women behind the (vegan) bakery counter pointed out the kale granola. I looked at it and, I must admit, couldn’t even imagine it so I put the package down.  I started to walk away and she said “here, try it” and she opened up a package. Wow, she must have sensed the kale monster that lives deep down inside of me. I tried it – and – WOW!  I bought a package (as did several of my friends).

I couldn’t wait to try to make my own. Before going on vacation I tore the label off so that I could work with the ingredients to create my version of a kale granola.  When I returned, the label, which I had placed near the dehydrator, was gone.  I can blame one of three cats, my husband, or the kind woman who cleans my house every two weeks.  But blame won’t get me anywhere. The label was gone!  I Googled to see if anyone had written about the amazing Lifethyme Kale Granola. Nada.

This is what I remembered:  kale (natch), coconut, pumpkin seeds. That’s it! Ugh. I created a raw Candy-Coated Buckwheat Granola recipe last year and turned to it for guidance.

Here’s what I came up with on the first try.

Kale & Buckwheat Granola Cereal

by JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a side of Kale

Ingredients (Makes 6 cups of granola)

  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, soaked for 20 minutes
  • 1.5 cups buckwheat groats, soaked for an hour
  • 10 oz chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup each: sunflower seeds, pepitas, and almond slivers
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut shreds
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Soak dried cherries, drain and rinse. Pulse the cherries in a food processor to small bits.
  2. Soak buckwheat groats, drain and rinse very well (buckwheat groat soak water is milky, rinse until the water is clear).
  3. Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Add dried cherries, buckwheat groats, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and almond slivers.
  4. Place chopped (and pitted) dates, coconut shreds and water in the food processor and pulse to a consistency somewhere between a paste and a syrup. (You can use a high-speed blender, but I get so annoyed when I can’t scoop all the good stuff out from under the blender blades!)
  5. Pour date paste/syrup over the rest of the ingredients and mix well (I washed my hands well and mixed and massaged with my hands).
  6. Divide between two dehydrator trays and press down on a ParaFlexx sheet on each tray.
  7. Set the dehydrator for 145F degrees.
  8. After four hours, flip granola off the ParaFlexx sheet and onto the mesh sheet.
  9. Dehydrate for an additional 12 – 14 hours.

I took a bowl of this with me to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary last Wednesday.  Jenny  said, “This is so weird and it’s so good.”

Exactly.  It was weird. It wasn’t quite what I was going for, as the Lifethyme granola was more candy/snack-like.  This was very crisp, think kale chips, with the added crunch of the buckwheat.  Then it occurred to me. Cereal.

I poured the kale granoala in a bowl, added almond milk and…

…wow! I loved it! As soon as my husband came in from coaching his tri club I said “take a bite, don’t ask me what it is.”  (He’s not fond of this frequent request.)  His response?  “I hate to admit it, but this is good.”  Kale activism!

Pleased to have found the right way to use this particular granola, I was still on a mission to better recreate the original. I tweaked my first recipe by omitting the grains, making it a bit sweeter and increasing the liquid ratio – all to achieve a sweet, sugary coating. I opted for the Vita-Mix on this one because I knew the sweet mixture would pour out of the blender easier.

Kale & Cranberry Granola Snack

by JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a side of Kale

Ingredients (Makes 5 – 6 cups)

  • 1 cup dried cranberries, soaked
  • 10 oz kale, chopped
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Iodized sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup each: sunflower seeds, pepitas, almond slivers, and chia seeds
  • 5 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut shreds
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cups water


  1. Soak dried cranberries, drain and rinse.
  2. Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, add a few pinches of sea salt and massage.
  3. Add sunflower seeds, pepitas, almond slivers, and chia seeds.
  4. Place chopped (and pitted) dates, coconut shreds and 1/2 cup water in a high-speed blender. Blend and add water as needed.
  5. Pour date mixture over the rest of the ingredients. If you find there is leftover date mix under the blades, add water and blend again, and pour the additional liquid in the bowl.
  6. Divide between two dehydrator trays and press down on a ParaFlexx sheet on each tray.
  7. Set the dehydrator for 145F degrees.
  8. After four hours, flip granola off the ParaFlexx sheet and onto the mesh sheet and reduce heat to 125F degrees.
  9. Dehydrate for an additional 12 – 14 hours.
In this recipe I opted for cold-pressed olive oil

 Another term that you may see on a bottle of olive oil is “cold pressed.” This term means that minimal heating was used when mechanically processing the olives to make oil. We like the idea of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, because we believe that minimal use of heating, combined with the phytonutrient-rich first pressing of the oil, provides the strongest possible nutrient composition from an extracted oil. SOURCE

both for the “raw” factor and because I wanted to use a little oil for a big impact (chewier, sugary coated granola).

It worked!

I have kale granola in six jars in my refrigerator and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m giddy about it. I am cuckoo for kale – and this just confirms it.

  • Heather (Where’s the Beach)

    Um – wow – incredible. I’m kind of addicted to kale right now myself. Have discovered that grilling it is amazing!

    • JL

       Oh, yes, I LOVE grilled kale!

  • I am so intrigued by this recipe – adding it to the shopping list for the week. 🙂

    • JL

      Can’t wait to hear what you think!

  • Kale is like no other and you have taken it to a whole other level my friend!

    • JL

      You know I’ve been obsessed about it! LOL


    • JL

      I wondered what you would think, Gena!  It had to be done! 

  • This looks fantastic!

    • JL

      Thank you! I really love both recipes – hope you try one or both!

  • I have never heard of kale granola…but since I love both granola and kale, this is something I would gladly devour!  I love this idea and these recipes both sound delicious and nutrient packed! 

    • JL

       Thanks, Amy, I hope you try them!

  • Carrie (Carrie on Vegan)

    I only have one word for this post: brilliant. Now excuse me while I go make some kale granola!

    • JL

      Ha! Thanks, Carrie. Let me know how it works out for you!

  • this. is. AWESOME!  omg, youre brilliant.  cant wait to make this 🙂

    • JL

      Let me know what you think!

  • Kalli

    oh we love kale over here too and this looks and sounds amazing!  btw thank you for such an insightful comment on my blog.  i loved your honesty and integrity!

    • JL

       Thank you! It’s such a fun way to eat more kale!

      And thank you re: my comment – I really hoped you appreciated my intent! I’m glad you did!

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  • Maybe I’ m a weirdo (wait, don’t answer that), but this sounds great to
    me! I once put spinach in my granola and it was good but got scorched
    too easily. I bet kale would be perfect in this!

    • JL

       Hey, if you’re a weirdo, we’re in it together 🙂

  • What a genius idea with kale, it looks amazing!

    • JL

      Thanks, Christine!

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  • Kate

    This was gooooooooooooooooooooooooood. I had my first bowlful this morning and was quite glad that noone was outside the kitchen listening to the semi pornographic noises that escaped my throat as I troughed this down eagerly. I think I nearly shouted “Yeah, baby!” as I finished the bowl but perhaps my fevered imagination just ran away with me.
    There is also a website dedicated to kale entitled the kale effect (.com)
    In appreciation and gratitude.

    • JL

       I’m laughing so hard! Love the audible response! 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Gail

    JL, Wish I had seen this when posted-would have found some way to get a dehydrator!! What would you think of using fresh or frozen cranberries7 (my question mark key isn’t working). Seems kind of “redundant” to plump up dried ones and dry again7

    • JL

      Drying fruit takes a long time, @disqus_p2rN690zj6:disqus, longer than dehydrating the kale, so I opt for rehydrating dry fruit.

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