Who would’ve thought quinoa would be perfect in granola? I love oat granola and I have a great recipe for Honey Oat Granola with Dried Fruit and Nuts that I’ve made for years. Trouble is, we’re eating completely gluten free and mostly grain-free now and oats just aren’t the best choice for us, even gluten free oats. I’ve had to find a substitute because my husband adores my homemade granola and keeps asking for it! So, Crisp & Crunchy Quinoa Granola to the rescue!
Quinoa is actually a seed not a grain and it’s a super healthy replacement for oats in granola because it contains more protein than any other grain, is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbs than most grains. Plus, it’s an excellent source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins,and vitamin E. Quinoa’s carbohydrates release more slowly and help to maintain blood sugar levels.
I’d never even heard of quinoa till a few years ago and of course, I had no idea how it was pronounced (keen-wa just so you know). I tried it hot several times and I use it in place of rice and couscous quite often. I’ve grown to love it for both it’s nutty flavor and ease of preparation. I use it all the time in salads. Here’s one of my favorite summertime recipes for Quinoa Salad with Kale, Fresh Peaches and Toasted Pecans.
Quinoa comes in several colors, white, black, orange or red and all of them are delicious! One tip I’ve learned about quinoa. No matter what the package says, you really do want to soak the quinoa for about 15 minutes before cooking. In their natural state, the seeds are coated with saponins, making them taste bitter. Most of the grain sold commercially has been processed to remove this coating but to be safe I always soak in a colander over a bowl of water for about 15 minutes then rinse and drain well.
Granola is super easy to prepare and homemade granola far surpasses anything you can buy in a box or bag. It’s as simple as adding some nuts and dried fruit, coconut, spices, honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar and coconut oil to your soaked and drained quinoa and then cooking for less than thirty minutes. You’ll be thrilled with the results! Crisp and Crunchy Quinoa Granola is nutty, healthy, gluten free and delicious! An easy, gluten free and kid-friendly recipe your family will love! It makes the perfect breakfast and is great to snack on anytime!
Crispy Crunchy Quinoa Granola
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, any color
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds or both
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup raw pecans
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup raisins, cranberries or dried fruit of your choice
- Rinse quinoa and soak in a mesh colander in a bowl of water for about 15-20 minutes. Lift colander out of bowl, rinse and let quinoa drain well in the colander. While your quinoa is soaking:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Put drained quinoa in a bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, nuts, coconut flakes and flax seeds.
- Melt coconut oil in a small pan. In a small bowl, mix coconut oil with maple syrup, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over quinoa and mix well.
- Pour mixture onto a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Flatten mixture with the back of a spatula and spread well in pan, filling the baking sheet as much as possible.
- Place in oven and bake 7 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well. Bake and stir two more times at 7 minute intervals. Cook an additional 5 minutes more.
- Add dried fruit and stir well into granola. Bake 4 more minutes.
- Remove baking sheet to a cooling rack. Let granola cool completely. The granola will cool as it hardens.
- When cool, break granola into pieces and store in a glass or plastic container.
- Serve with yogurt, kefir, milk or almond milk. Add fresh fruit.
- Any kind of dried fruit is good in this granola. Dried apricots, figs, dates, banana chips, crystalized ginger, whatever you like!
- Any nuts will work too. Cashews or macadamias or hazelnuts would be wonderful.
- For a fun treat, add a handful of chocolate chips to your cooled granola.
- I use a combo of raw honey and Pure Maple Syrup but you can use all of one or the other or agave syrup. Another natural sweetener I love and use a lot is Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Nectar. It’s another healthy, low-glycemic choice.
- I love to use these yummy Organic Coconut Flakes. And I love that this brand only uses apple juice to sweeten their cranberries: Eden Foods Organic Dried Cranberries Apple Sweetened.
- Serve Crisp, Crunchy Quinoa Granola with lots of fresh fruit and yogurt or as a topping for ice-cream. Or, just enjoy it by itself. For a pretty dessert, layer in a glass with fresh yogurt, granola and berries. Or, add to pancake batter with sliced bananas. Yum!