Monday, November 15

Granola with quinoa and seeds

I eat granola almost every weekday morning for breakfast, but until recently, I've never actually made my own.  Any of the recipes I saw seemed too complicated or they had ingredients that I didn't want to use like corn syrup and/or oil (wtf?), or or they included nuts/seeds that I didn't have. So, even though I always check every recipe that I see, I've never once attempted to make it...until I saw a recipe for Quinoa Granola over at Fake Ginger.

At the time, I had a huge amount of red quinoa that I wanted to get rid of (even after using it in the Quinoa and sausage stuffed acorn squash), so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to both make granola for the first time AND use up the quinoa. I can't say that I would have ever thought to use quinoa in granola, but it makes sense since it's actually a seed.

Unfortunately, once I made and tasted the recipe, I wasn't entirely happy with the outcome.  First, it wasn't sweet enough.  Second, there was so much quinoa that, because it turned hard during baking, it made for difficult eating.

But, all was not lost because I finally realized just how easy it was to make granola and how infinitely customizable it is! Initially, I set out to make granola that tasted similar to my favorite commercially available granola, Oats and honey by Cascadian Farms.  So, I modified the original recipe primarily by increasing the honey and decreasing the quinoa; I also added some other nuts, seeds, and flavors.  I've made it several times now and each version is better than the previous.

See the puffed rice in the mix?

As a bonus, I found that I could make this granola gluten free without spending a ton of money on gluten free oats.  I've tried a few batches with puffed rice, both mixed and 100%, and it ended up working very well.

[Our camera is on the fritz so these pics below (plus the header pic) were taken with my iPhone.  Not too shabby, might I add.]

Inspiration from Fake Ginger

~10 1-cup servings

For the mix that's pictured above, I used a combination of puffed rice and oats; a nut and seed mix that included 1 cup walnuts, 4 tablespoons each of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, 4 tablespoons quinoa (rinsed and spread out to dry), and 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (which are on the restricted list, but Tara isn't eating this stuff anytime soon, so no worries); and for the fruit, I used cranberries. 

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats and/or puffed rice
  • 2 cups mixed nuts and seeds
  • 1 cup applesauce (or baby food)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • Optional additions: flax meal, protein powder, wheat germ


Preheat oven to 300.  Coat a baking dish or 2 with oil (preferred) or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, and seeds. Set aside.

Stir together applesauce and/or baby food, honey, molasses, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. (This is where I add in my optional ingredients, too.  I feel that mixing it with the liquids gives it a better distribution.)  Taste and add more flavorings as needed. Pour over oat mixture and stir to moisten all of the ingredients. Spread the mixture onto prepared baking dish.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until granola is golden and slightly crunchy (Don't cook it until it is totally crunchy because it will crisp up as it cools).  Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit.  Let cool and store tightly covered.

Notes: If you don't have a glut of baby food like us and are using applesauce, you may want to leave out or reduce the sugar, especially if you're not that into sweet stuff.  By the same token, if you are using a flavored or sweetened protein powder, you may want to decrease or eliminate both the sugar and the vanilla.


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