Go Messy or Go Hungry

Cinnamon Walnut Protein Granola

Dec 10, 2017 | Breakfast, Recipes

Cinnamon Walnut Protein Granola Recipe | Go Messy or Go Hungry

I have a deep and abiding love for granola. This protein granola recipe was the first recipe I ever posted on the blog, and I have continued to make it once a week (well, mostly there are definitely weeks where I never make it to Trader Joe’s to replenish my oat supply or something of the sort ?)


However, that was THREE YEARS AGO (?!), and it’s high time we made some updates.


If you’re not familiar with my love of granola, it stems from the fact that I’m NOT a morning person. And my rule in the morning is that I won’t make any decisions before I’ve had food & coffee. This, obviously, includes making a decision about what I’m going to eat! Enter granola, the easiest (but still nutritious) breakfast: pour it in a bowl, put some bananas on top, eat. Easy as it gets. And people, with the exception of Sundays when Marc makes pancakes I literally eat this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

My existing granola recipe was doing me perfectly well. I had engineered it (if I may use that word) to have all the qualities I wanted: low in FODMAPS, ample protein and fats to keep me full till lunch, carbs to give me that kick of energy I needed, and of course it was tasty. I had spent lots of time finding a low FODMAP protein powder and settled on this rice protein powder as my best option. It wasn’t perfect it definitely had a chalky flavor / texture, and you could tell it was there, but it was better than eating empty carbs in the morning and being hungry and hour later!



For years, I ate that rice protein, thinking it was the best I could do.

For years, I ate that rice protein, thinking it was the best I could do. But then! I stumbled upon this post all about collagen. The whole post is pretty interesting, but what really got my interest was this sentence near the end: If you find the right one, collagen is nearly tasteless.” Immediately my brain was like Wait. Collagen. Protein derived from the bones & cartiledge of animals. Probably low FODMAP. Wait. TASTELESS?!” 

And let me tell you people, it’s true. I immeidately bought some collagen protein powder and tried it in my granola. And it just… dissolved. I couldn’t believe it! I’d had to alter and futz with my old granola recipe so much to compensate for all the powdery chalkness, but the collagen just dissolved into almost nothingness! And I could barely taste it! (Since I was used to the rice protein, I really didn’t taste it at all. Marc, who used to make protein shakes with whey protein, said it did have a slight protein” taste that he could pick out, but that it was barely noticeable.)


And that day a revolution was born: I COULD MAKE NORMAL GRANOLA AGAIN. Not yeah I can almost get past the chalky taste” granola. Not if I put peanut butter and lots of cocoa powder in it you can almost imagine it’s normal” granola. NO. LEGIT, NORMAL GRANOLA. And you can have it too! 

A note on the benefits of collagen: if you read the article I linked to above, or probably just do a google search on collagen, you’ll read all about the millions of things collagen can fix, cure, and do for you. Everything from making your skin look younger to imporoving your digestion to giving you more energy. I’m going to be completely honest here: I have not seen or felt any extremely noticeable differences from adding collagen to my diet. But the thing is, I eat a mostly healthy, balanced diet of whole foods. I exercise regularly. My digestion, aside from the occasional flare-up, is pretty functional. I’m young, and my body still probably produces an adequate amount of collagen on its own. 

All of that is to say, don’t expect this powder to be a magic cure-all (or any other one ingredient for that matter). It just doesn’t exist. It may, along with a healthy lifestyle, keep you feeling at the top of your game. And I’m still hopefull that eating this now will help me have less wrinkles later on! But even though I can’t say collagen has cured all my ailments, I’m going to continue to use it mostly because it works so well in my granola (see above all-caps rants), and becasue it has the potential to keep my body functioning at its best. Prevention is a much better route to any problem than trying to find a cure, and so I’m happy to add collagen to the list of things I do to keep myself as heathy as possible.

This is also a great article about the potential benefits (and many myths) of collagen. She talks more about collagen applied topically, but the thought process is the same!

One last important note: at the bottom of the article I mention above, the author advises that if you suffer from poor digestion, you should start slowly with your collagen consumption. I think this is especially important for anyone with IBS or other chronic digestion issues! To the best of my knowledge, collagen protein powder has not been tested for FODMAPS, and so like any new food, you should absolutely start slow and test how your body responds to it. I started with half the amount (so 1/4 cup) in my granola for the first few weeks (I also had to use up the last of the rice protein), and then worked up to the full amount!

Alright, enjoy your normal, protein-full granola people!

Update: Since I published this recipe, I’ve experimented with differnt types of protein powder. I’m happy to report that the recipe also works with high quality whey protein isolate like this one (isolate is mostly lactose free) — see below for substitution amounts. The texture is definitely better with collagen, but whey is a complete protein. So you have options!

Cinnamon Walnut Protein Granola

Yield | 7 servings
Protein powder substitutions: I originally developed this recipe using Vital Proteins Collage Peptides, which is tasteless and dissolves really easily. I've also since tested the recipe with Phormula-1 Natural (which is a high quality whey protein isolate) — and while the whey gives it a slightly thicker consistency, it still works. The original recipe uses 5 scoops of Vital Proteins collagen, which is 45g protein total. When I make them with the Phormula-1, I use 2.5 scoops which is 52.5g protein. I can't vouch for any other protein powders, but lower quality powders will most likely not dissolve as well. For substitutions with other powders, start with an amount that will get you 45-50g protein (if that's important to you), and then adjust from there. (Pro tip: If the liquid seems really thick, add some water.)
For chocolate granola: Add 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder to the liquid ingredients. 
Other add-ins: I like to add 1 tablespoon of espresso ground coffee, cacao nibs, or anything else I have on hand that sounds good! ?


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or more peanut butter
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup (5 scoops) Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, or 2.5 scoops Phormula-1 Natural — see notes for substitutions
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric, optional
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, optional
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups puffed rice
  • 2 cups puffed millet (or more puffed rice, or vise versa)
  • 1 cup nuts and/or seeds (I like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, or walnuts. Usually I’ll use a couple of types)


  • Preheat the oven to 325 F (if your oven defaults to 350, make sure you turn it down! Otherwise you will end up with very burnt-y granola). Spread the oats evenly on a baking sheet. Place in oven while it’s heating and remove when they’re lightly toasted – this should be around the time your oven reaches 325. If any of your nuts/seeds aren’t toasted yet, spread them on another baking sheet and toast them along with the oats.
  • Meanwhile, combine the maple syrup, peanut butter, coconut oil, and water in a large bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir to incorporate everything, and microwave for 30 seconds more. Whisk again.
  • Add protein powder and whisk until combined and there are no clumps (depending on your protein powder, you may need to mix it more). Add salt, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and vanilla and whisk one final time.
  • Add puffed rice & millet, toasted oats, and nuts to the liquid ingredients. Stir, making sure all the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
  • Pour the granola onto the baking sheet (if it's NOT non-stick, lightly coat with oil or line with foil). Spread evenly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • When the granola is mostly cool, break the granola into bite-sized pieces. Store in an airtight container. Granola should keep for a few weeks, but it probably won’t last that long!

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