Are you a big time snacker? Try this chunky salt-free homemade chocolate granola

I love to snack and this easy-to-make treat allows me to do so all day long

By D. Watkins

Editor at Large

Published January 24, 2024 3:00PM (EST)

Bowl with muesli chocolate and Hazelnut (Getty Images/Francesco Carta fotografo)
Bowl with muesli chocolate and Hazelnut (Getty Images/Francesco Carta fotografo)

I was playing around with leftovers, some extras from my amateur chef cooking escapades, and came up with a salt-free dark chocolate granola mix for my fellow serial munchers. 

Maybe one day I'll understand why a 43-year-old guy like me tends to snack so much, as if I'm some sort of teenager who needs the energy to grow taller. Excessive munching does not make me grow taller . . .  it makes me grow wider, but still, I munch. 

I need a snack in the morning, I need a snack to work out, I need a snack after I work out, something to nibble on while I write, and to enjoy something crunchy before I go to sleep or while I'm in bed at night.

Sometimes these snacks consisted of blueberries, cherries, grapes or a mix of them all. But like we all know too well, those healthy snacks tend to go bad quickly and leave you reaching for the popcorn, pretzels and chips that you should only be enjoying in moderation.

The combination of the healthy options expiring as soon as you reach for them, the stress that comes with life in general and the fact that if you use a chip clip on that bag of pretzels, then there's a good chance they may never expire, kind of makes you forget about the whole idea of moderation. 

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The healthiest quick fix for me, though, was to start buying unsalted pretzels, unsalted popcorn, unsalted restaurant style tortilla chips, and making my own unsalted salsa. High blood pressure runs in my family or really every Black family, which means I must be cautious about these things, in addition to having a four-year-old daughter.

If your child sees you munching all day, then they will want to munch all day as well, so you better make it healthy. Enter my granola. 

This recipe is delicious and a win-win for you and your little one. 

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Salt-free dark chocolate granola
20 servings
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes


5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 

2 cups raw slivered almonds 

1 cup raw pecans

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup olive oil

½  cup raw agave nectar

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey 

¾ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup dark semi-sweet chocolate chips



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahreinheit. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until evenly mixed.

  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper then fill with granola mix. Spread evenly. 

  3. Bake for about 25 minutes and then let cool for about 30. 

By D. Watkins

D. Watkins is an Editor at Large for Salon. He is also a writer on the HBO limited series "We Own This City" and a professor at the University of Baltimore. Watkins is the author of the award-winning, New York Times best-selling memoirs “The Beast Side: Living  (and Dying) While Black in America”, "The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir," "Where Tomorrows Aren't Promised: A Memoir of Survival and Hope" as well as "We Speak For Ourselves: How Woke Culture Prohibits Progress." His new books, "Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments," and "The Wire: A Complete Visual History" are out now.

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Food Granola Healthy Nutrition Recipe Salt-free Snack