Featured, Kitchen

Vanilla & Mango Almond Granola

June 30, 2024

Drenching oats in mangoes for a sweet, salty crunchy treat

Making your own granola is something I don’t often do, but when I do, I always wonder why I don’t do it more often! It makes sense for me because I get to control the ingredients, which is great since I prefer healthier eating. I’m never entirely satisfied with some of the brands out there, particularly because of the excess sugar, plus I love being weird with ingredients. I love customizing granola to my taste, adding whatever nuts, seeds, or dried fruits I have on hand. I especially enjoy making savory granola, which I often use in cooking dishes as others might use breadcrumbs.

At my old cooking school in Brooklyn, I taught many classes on granola making and eventually landed on my current formula, which I alter based on the season, and fruits and spices de jour. I like to drench my oats in more than just maple syrup, so I’ve always been in the habit of making a seasonal fruit puree or jam to mix with my oats before baking. I love to load mine with herbs and spices to give more flavor. I had been meaning to make a mango version of my strawberry almond granola with black pepper strawberries for a while, so I finally did and this is it.

My version is a little unconventional, but I hope some of you try the add ons because it takes granola to an entirely different level. I puree my mango with some Thai basil, a robust, cinnamon-forward herb. I also use mahlab in my recipe, which I love. It’s an old Ottoman “spice,” though technically it’s the seed of a special cherry tree. It has floral rose notes, hints of vanilla, and a generally cherry-esque flavor. It cooks fruity and rich, adding depth without extra fat or sugar. While it’s typically a baking spice, I use it in cocktails, savory recipes, and definitely puddings! You can buy it ground, but I prefer to grind my own seeds with a mortar and pestle since it’s so easy. I get them from Curio Spice Co. You can skip it and the Thai basil, no problem and the mango granola is still exquisite.

For the nut portion, I like mine with almonds only, but you can use other nuts. I prefer them chopped versus sliced because it creates little clusters of granola, which I dig. Get creative with nuts, the smaller the nut or seed you might have to add it toward the end of the baking so they don’t burn.

Vanilla & Mango Almond Granola
Makes about 4 ½  cups


½ cup mango puree (pureed with a little Thai basil if your bold)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ cup freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked white pepper (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground mahlab (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole oats
1 cup whole wheat or sprouted wheat flour
½ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ cup sliced raw almonds
½ cup dried blueberries (optional)
1 cup super-finely chopped dried mango


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the mango puree, butter, maple syrup, and all the spices, including the salt. Mix well while heating until just before boiling and the butter has melted.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, whole wheat flour, and brown sugar. Add the mango-butter and maple syrup mixture and combine thoroughly. Gently fold in the almonds. The mixture will be a wet consistency.

Spread it out flat on two lined baking sheets to ensure even cooking. Place in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, then remove, stir, and flip the granola. Return to the oven and bake. This assures the granola cooks evenly. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, stir and flip again and place back in the oven to bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and  toss the dried mangoes over the cooked granola evenly. The granola will still be slightly soft but will harden as it cools. Allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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