Tropical Granola

by Marla on January 9, 2012 · 76 comments

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Homemade granola recipe with coconut, oats, papaya and bananas.

Do you remember the mason jars I filled with homemade granola for the holidays? I am so excited to finally share the recipe with you! We have been enjoying this healthy, sweet & crunchy mix for breakfast and snacks. This is a simple and tasty way to treat yourself to all natural whole foods. It will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth with pure & healthy ingredients.

Let’s make some granola!

Little kids on a dock in the Cayman Islands

Over the holidays I was in Grand Cayman. Have you ever been there? It is very beautiful. Above is my daughter with her sweet cousins on a dock.

The weather and views are spectacular there. They make you want to dance…

Little girl dancing on a dock in the Cayman Islands

My son loved looking at the boats that lined the docks…

Grand Cayman Islands boat dock near Calypso Grill restaurant

OK, time to get back to granola, thanks for letting me divert. I tend to do that sometimes.

Even though you might not be in the Caymans you can still enjoy a taste of the tropics. This granola can help brighten up a dreary winters day. The flavors of coconut, papaya and banana infuse each and every bite. Not to mention some crunch macadamia nuts add to the fun.

Homemade granola recipe with oats, coconut, papaya, macadamia nuts and bananas.

It granola is so pretty all dressed up for the holidays. Do keep it in mind for gift giving any time of the year. I got all crafty this year and made holiday gift tags. You can download those any time you need them.

This recipe is the perfect gluten free breakfast and we love packing it in our lunch boxes too! The perfect snack for Project Lunch Box.

Homemade granola recipe with coconut, oats, papaya and bananas.

Perhaps it is because I knew I had an upcoming trip to Grand Cayman that inspired me to go with a tropical twist on with this recipe. Or maybe it was because I found these gorgeous dried papaya pieces at my favorite natural foods store Mother’s Market.

Homemade granola recipe with coconut, oats, papaya and bananas.

Enjoy this any time of day with dairy free or regular milk. Don’t forget that steamy cup of coffee to round it all off. Never forget the coffee.

This granola is also wonderful served with thick Greek yogurt in parfaits ~or~ as a decadent little dessert with frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Homemade granola recipe with coconut, oats, papaya and bananas.What is your favorite kind of granola? Do you make it yourself?

Tropical Granola

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Tropical Granola


  • 1 1/2 - 2 very ripe Bananas, mashed (should yield 6 ounces or 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons melted unrefined Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup pure grade B Maple Syrup
  • pinch of fine Sea Salt
  • pinch of ground Nutmeg
  • 4 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup raw, unsalted Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Raisins
  • 1/3 cup Macadamia Nuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried Banana Chips, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dried Papaya pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, toasted Coconut flakes


  • Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F, with the rack on the middle shelf. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a silicone liner. Combine oats and sunflower seeds. Combine banana, coconut oil, maple syrup, salt and nutmeg. Combine dry and wet ingredients well. Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet in a thin, single layer. Bake about 40-45 minutes tossing every 10 minutes with a long pair of tongs. Watch carefully at the end of cooking time that your granola does not burn. Let the granola cool and add in raisins, nuts, banana chips, papaya and coconut.
  • Serve with thick Greek yogurt, dairy free or dairy milk. Great with frozen yogurt or ice cream too!
  • Notes
  • Do not use quick cooking oats for this recipe.
  • Look for dried fruits with no refined sugar added.
  • When it comes to pure maple syrup I love the richer color and flavor of grade B. It has a dark amber color and is infused with more maple flavor due to the fact that it is produced later in the season than the grade A. For a great post on the A, B, C's of it all check out this post by Healthy, Happy, Life.
  • Toasting coconut before you use it makes it so much tastier in the same way nuts get more flavorful when you roast them. To toast shredded or flaked coconut: simply place it on a rimmed sheet pan and heat in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Stir once or twice during cook time. Watch so it does not burn. If you are toasting sweetened coconut then check it and stir more frequently because the added sugar causes irregular browning.

Granola Recipe Links

{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cookbook Queen January 9, 2012 at 5:53 am

This looks so fresh and yummy. I love that you added a tropical twist!! And your daughter…what a doll!!


2 Marla January 9, 2012 at 6:00 am

Thanks Kristan, that gal was loving dancing on the dock!


3 Kathryn January 9, 2012 at 5:54 am

I love tropical flavours so this looks like the perfect granola to me! Love your holiday shots as well, the colour of that sea is just wonderful!


4 Rosa January 9, 2012 at 6:06 am

A marvelous idea! Your granola must tastes wonderful.




5 Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free January 9, 2012 at 6:12 am

I love this!! I haven’t had macadamia nuts in a while, but I bet they are fabulous in granola. The banana chips sound great in it, too.

My favorite granola is Pumpkin Spice Latte Granola. I made it as gifts for last year, too!


6 Bunkycooks January 9, 2012 at 6:16 am

Grand Cayman is a beautiful place, so I can understand the happy dance. Thijs granola might have you doing one too with all the great flavors! Happy New Year!!


7 sugarfreemom January 9, 2012 at 6:24 am

Love the recipe and love the pics of the kiddies, too cute!


8 Katrina January 9, 2012 at 6:30 am

What a fun sounding vacation! I love how you made this tropical granola to make you feel like you were back in paradise! I haven’t made my own granola yet, but really want to! Thanks for the recipe :)


9 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] January 9, 2012 at 6:31 am

Forgetting coffee? Unheard of! :)

Even though the LA winter has been far from dreary, I would make this in a heart-beat. It’ll remind me of all the tropical vacations I’ve been on and give me a boost of natural energy.


10 Flavia Scalzitti January 9, 2012 at 6:34 am

This looks delicious Marla. I’ve been making my own granola for about 3 years now. Can’t believe I ever ate store-bought–homemade is so much better! I love how versatile granola recipes are. The tropical variation sounds refreshing. Great pictures, too. Happy New Year! Hope to see you again this year.


11 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel January 9, 2012 at 6:40 am

This looks so tasty Marla! I bet my kids would love it.


12 heather January 9, 2012 at 6:41 am

So delicious! I love granola, and the I need those tropical flavors in my life… much too cold here!!!!


13 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective January 9, 2012 at 7:00 am

My kids get so exited when I make granola. They stand by the oven, breathing in that sweet earthy aroma, then pick it up hot as it comes out of the oven. Love the addition of papaya here!


14 Weekly Bite January 9, 2012 at 7:01 am

Such lovely pictures! I love tropical granola :) And you dishes are adorable!! Are they vintage?


15 Maria January 9, 2012 at 7:08 am

love the tropical twist!


16 CheekyChic January 9, 2012 at 7:41 am

I’m a little jealous that you’ve been in the Grand Caymans and you’ve been eating this granola! The only partial remedy I have for my jealousy would be to make this granola. Thanks for the recipe. Maybe I’ll get some little umbrellas for the bowls and pretend I’m on a tropical island.


17 Marla January 9, 2012 at 10:55 am

Shawna, now that is an amazing idea! Now that I am back in the OC I might need to do the same 😉


18 Chelsey @ Chew With Your Mouth Open January 9, 2012 at 8:42 am

You had me at macadamia nuts. :)


19 susan January 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

love the use of tropical ingredients in your granola! and a trip to the Cayman’s sounds perfect right about now!


20 Catherine January 9, 2012 at 8:47 am

Looks yummy. Does the dried fruit have added sugar? All the dried fruit I ever see has so much sugar, it’s not worth it. But maybe I should check at Whole Foods?


21 Marla January 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

Catherine, I do not like sugar on my dried fruit either. You can find dried fruit without the added sugar, you just need to look really carefully for it & at the ingredient lists.


22 Jen at The Three Little Piglets January 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

I’m not sure which I like more – the granola or the thought of going to the Cayman Islands!!


23 Marla January 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

Jen, both together are blissful!


24 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

Looks awesome and I could go to town on it. As well as the candied papaya :)


25 Marla January 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

Averie, that papaya is addictive. Love it’s chewy texture too!


26 Heidi @ Food Doodles January 9, 2012 at 10:37 am

Yummy! I love the tropical flavors, and the maple syrup and coconut oil are exactly what I would use. I find I usually have to sub ingredients in recipes that I want to try so often so it’s so nice to see a recipe I wouldn’t need to the change at all 😀 Awesome!


27 Marla January 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

Heide, I am happy about that too! I agree, I love when I find recipes in which I don’t need to make any adaptations at all. Rare though 😉


28 Amy January 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

This is a wonderful combo Marla! I could totally go for a tropical twist right now. ; )


29 Yvette ~ Muy Bueno January 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

LOVE this recipe! Sounds like the perfect healthy snack. And the photos of the kiddos are beautiful! Now I want to go off on a vacation 😉


30 Esi January 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

I love making granola. It’s so simple. My favorites are vanilla scented or with dark chocolate.


31 Marla January 9, 2012 at 11:45 am

Esi, making homemade granola is really so simple. I love all of the variety you can have with it as well! Your vanilla scented with dark chocolate sounds amazing!


32 Angie January 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

Yummy! What a great snack to send to school or to have with Greek yogurt for breakfast. Love the photos from the caymans.
Do the tropical happy dance!!


33 Katrina January 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Love homemade granola! Only eat homemade–everyday. Love your tropical additions!


34 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. January 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I am making this one asap!! Miss you!


35 Cassie @ Bake Your Day January 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Awesome flavors. I love homemade granola. I love your photography, Marla!


36 A Southern Bee Diary January 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Those have got to be the cutest spoons I have ever seen! Where did you get them? Adorable! & really like this recipe, must try it for breakfast sometime!

xo. A Southern Bee Diary



37 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers January 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I just love granola, I’m kind of a granola adict, but shhh, don’t tell anyone. I love that you added banana to it! Thanks for posting a link for the maple syrup. I had no clue on what the grades meant.


38 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather January 9, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I love the tropical flavors here! So refreshing I bet, and you can’t go wrong with granola.

Those pictures of the cayman’s are amazing, and your kiddos are as cute as ever. Hope your week starts out great Marla!


39 Bree January 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Great pics! I just got back from Mexico myself and would love to bring back a taste of the tropics. This granola looks perfect!


40 aida mollenkamp January 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Ooh, Grand Cayman — it sounds phenomenal. Thanks for sharing some tropical flavors with this granola, Marla!


41 Lia Huber January 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Grand Caymen sounds lovely! Thanks for the link to Nourish Network!


42 sippitysup January 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

A big part of my youth was spent in the Caribbean. It’s magical for kids. I am happy you had a great trip. GREG


43 Krissy {Krissy's Creations} January 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I love the tropical twist on your granola! I’d love it for breakfast, and just to snack on. I have many of the ingredients on hand so I might just whip up a batch tonight :). Great recipe! And such beautiful pictures of your kids in the Cayman Islands!


44 A Canadian Foodie January 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Beautiful photos and a lovely nutritious snack for the active family! What fun! Why the Astrix beside some of the ingredients?


45 Marla January 9, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Valerie…I added the * for the notes. Think I’ll change that so folks don’t get confused. Was thinking they *** should not be there 😉 Glad you like the post & recipe. xo


46 Jeanette January 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Glad to hear you got away over the holidays. Love tropical fruits and papaya is one of them.


47 Nancy@acommunaltable January 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm

What a beautiful spot Marla – so wonderful that the kids get to spend some time with their cousins! That granola looks like the perfect breakfast to enjoy in the Caymans!


48 Marina {} January 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Oh yum. I make almost the exact same granola. I was inspired by the granola at my fave hotel in Maui, the Kea Lani. This is so super duper yum and your kids are beyond adorable. xo


49 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen January 10, 2012 at 2:06 am

Yum! I’ve had a serious macadamia nut addiction lately.


50 Curt January 10, 2012 at 7:03 am

Awesome combo of flavors. Great choices!


51 Katherine Martinelli January 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

I love homemade granola and this looks amazing! The tropical additions are just great. I gave pumpkin granola for Christmas and it was a big hit! Can’t wait to try this.


52 Brooke @ Food Woolf January 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

I’m obsessed with granola. I make it all the time. Thanks for giving me another recipe to try out! yay! beautiful pictures as always your super talented mama!


53 Deliciously Organic January 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

Looks like you’re having a ball! Love this tropical granola!


54 Faith January 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Tropical-inspired granola sounds so good! I love the dried fruit you used, especially those gorgeous pieces of shaved coconut.

You are so talented, Marla! I love the vintage rose look of the plates/bowls/utensils that you matched with this delicious granola…they really look like they were made for each other!


55 Marla January 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Hi Faith! I am so glad you are liking the sound of my granola recipe. I did have a fun time pairing my new rosette plates with this breakfast. Happy you like them too because they will be making a regular appearance around here :)


56 Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} January 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I was just thinking how much I love granola! I was going to find a recipe to make and you made that easy! I’m gonna whip up a batch this weekend.


57 Marla January 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Hi Krista! Let me know if you give this recipe a whirl. Bet your kiddos will love it too!


58 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme January 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I love making homemade granola! And this is one of the best recipes I’ve seen in a while. Perfect combination of flavors here. Outstanding!


59 Joanne January 11, 2012 at 5:00 am

It’s like 30 degrees outside here and the tropics are EXACTLY what I need! Tropical flavors are some of my favorites, probably because I can live vicariously through them. This granola sounds awesome!


60 Marla January 11, 2012 at 5:31 am

Joanne, happy I can whisk you away to the tropics…at least for a few spoonfuls!


61 Lora @cakeduchess January 11, 2012 at 9:15 am

I bet your trip was just magical. Your daughter and cousins are precious. Love the granola and adore tropical flavors. Happy New Year, Marla:)xx


62 VA DE PAN January 11, 2012 at 9:17 am

Great idea, awesome recipe and beautiful photos!!!!! I’m adding to my must try pile!!!!!


63 Margo January 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

Love the combo of coconut, papaya and banana! I used dried cherries and mango in mine because I didn’t have papaya. Can’t wait to try your version.


64 Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed) January 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I love granola – thanks for sharing this fun version.


65 Cookin' Canuck January 11, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Your daughter looks more and more like you every day! This granola, with its tropical flare, sounds like a great way to bring the feeling of the Caribbean back to our wintry climate.


66 Marla January 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Dara, now if only we could get some snow back into your wintery climate 😉


67 Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids January 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm

This looks delicious. And, what lovely photos of your granola and your beautiful children, too.


68 Kristen January 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm

These cold winter days call for something bright and cheery like this! Looks good!


69 MikeVFMK January 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Love this. Looks like a great time in Cayman. I’ve heard wonderful things about it. And this granola is so fitting. Wish this was my breakfast tomorrow!


70 Emily @LivingLongfellow January 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Those are some adorable dishes you’ve got there :)


71 Kiran @ January 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm

What great ingredients — I love tropical flavors from coconut, banana and papaya. Granola is one of my go-to recipes. I make it all the time.


72 Deborah Dowd January 13, 2012 at 5:16 am

This sounds just amazing- and I love your diversion.Makes me yearn for the beach!


73 Jamie | My Baking Addiction January 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I absolutely adore granola and this tropical blend sounds incredibly addictive! Your children are absolutely adorable!


74 Aggie January 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Love the pictures of you kids…what a beautiful place!!
This granola looks absolutely delicious…nothing like homemade granola. especially with a tropical twist!


75 JulieD February 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

This looks so good, Marla!!


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