Cocoa Crunch Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)

This post is sponsored by Pipsnacks.

You give me any gluten free product and I could probably transform it into a delicious granola. Green tea? Check. Corn dogs? If caramelized like bacon, I might even succeed at that!

As soon as Pipsnacks contacted me, though, I knew incorporating one of their flavored popcorn into my homemade granola would create an edible bang! Or should I say, "pop?"

Craving a gluten free granola recipe that is as healthy as it is tasty? This cacao crunch granola is gluten free and vegan, plus it's loaded with hidden veggies like zucchini and spinach. You won't be able to beat this gluten free granola recipe.

Pipsnacks, or Pipcorn, is a mini popcorn (around half the size of normal!) that is also all natural, gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, and whole grain. Popped in olive oil instead of butter, Pipcorn also comes in four flavors: original salt, truffle oil, kettle and, their newest, Chili Lab. Limited ingredients, maximum flavor

For this particular recipe - which boasts lots of cacao and cinnamon spices and two hidden veggies - I used Pipcorn's kettle corn, which is lightly spiced with sea salt and cane and brown sugar. Mini popcorn + my usual granola goodies = ultimate crunchy-chewy clusters!

Cocoa Crunch Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)
Those clusters!

To get crackin' on your own gluten free and vegan delight, gather the ingredients below:

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup buckwheat groats
1 1/2 crumbled rice cakes (I choose plain, no salt, but cinnamon or sweetened would also work!)
1 1/4 cup of mixed seeds/nuts (I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds and pistachios)
1/4 cup uncooked millet
1/2 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup rice flakes (can be substituted with buckwheat flakes, quinoa flakes or oats)
1 cup Pipcorn Kettle corn (crumbled with fingers or left whole)
2 dates, shredded by hand
1/4 cup of chocolate chunks (I use dairy/gluten/soy free Enjoy Life)
2 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 TBSP cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder

Wet Ingredients:

3/4 cup of water blended with 1 large handful of leafy greens (optional, but an easy hidden veggie to add in! Use spinach, kale, radish greens - whatever you have in the fridge!)
1/2 ripe banana, mashed
3/4 small zucchini/squash, shredded

Baking Steps:

The steps can be easily summarized into: dump together, blend up, bake, and dig in. First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then dump your dry ingredients into a bowl, crumbling the rice cakes and, optionally, the Pipcorn before mixing. Now blend up the water and greens, mash the banana and shred the zucchini into the same bowl. By the time all ingredients are added and mixed, the granola should have a gooey and thick consistency. If it still seems dry, add more water (one TBSP at a time) or shredded zucchini.

Cocoa Crunch Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)
Eight steps till it can be "ate!"
Then all you need to do is spread the granola on baking trays (I spread mine extremely thin, but the choice is yours!) and pop your Pipcorn masterpiece into the oven! Depending on the oven (my ovens at home and college vary by 10-15 minutes), the granola takes 25-40 minutes to bake until toasted on top and crispy to the touch. For a chewier, softer granola, just take out the trays earlier

One of the most amusing - and amazing - results of cooking with Pipcorn and millet? When you first pull your trays out the oven to cool, you'll likely hear some "snap, crackle and pop" action. Sorry Rice Krispies, but you've officially been replaced!

Cocoa Crunch Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)
Spinach + popcorn = surprisingly delicious!
After letting the trays cool for at least 45 minutes, you can break the sheets of granola into smaller clusters and store in a cool, dark place. I don't know exactly how long the granola will stay good - mainly because mine always disappears within a week and a half! 

As for how to eat it, since this recipe is packed with protein from the buckwheat and seeds, antioxidants from cacao powder, vitamins from some ninja veggies, and lots of energy-spurring healthy carbs and fats, it can make a great snack by itself. 

Cocoa Crunch Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)
A few of my favorite granola-topped treats!

Personally, I love sprinkling (correction: pouring) it over smoothie bowls, yogurt, or oatless oatmeal for a creamy-crunchy combo

It's true that homemade granola recipes can include everything but the kitchen sink. But with their light spices, pillowy texture and killer crunch, Pipcorn is the perfect ingredient to pop in a granola recipe! (And the perfect snack to fuel you through the baking process!) 

Cocoa Crunch Granola (Gluten Free, Vegan)
The apple popcorn of my eye?

I would end this post by promising that this Pipcorn-packed granola would be a love at first bite...but on the Monday after Valentine's Day, that'd be a little corny

*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link party!*

*I received these products without charge to review, but all opinions, recipes and photographs are my own. Thank you for supporting what supports Casey the College Celiac!*

Have you ever tried Pipcorn, or what flavor would you want to? Do you like adding surprise ingredients to your favorite recipes? Comment below!


  1. That is a stellar granola! Pipcorn is so fun!!! Haha Love it! And I'm always adding some sort of disguised surprise ;)

  2. You have me excited about eating fruit again! Love your recipes!


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