I never really got aboard the “WOOO QUINOA!!” train.
I’m Italian. I eat pasta and bread like there’s an imminent flour shortage. And I don’t mean whole wheat or omega-3 fanciness. Nope. Plain ‘ol standard pasta. I know brown rice and whole wheat flour are probably a teensy bit better for me, but I enjoy the good stuff. Still, I attempted to replace a pasta/cous cous side dish with some quinoa. Eh. I’m just not that excited to eat it. And if you know me, I like to get excited to eat! So, I wanted to try to use quinoa in a different way. BAM – lets mix it with some oats and sugar and bake it! YES! now I can get excited to eat quinoa!
If you have seen my other granola recipe, you know how much I get excited about granola.
Quinoa gives the granola some extra crunch and adds a little nuttiness. Who doesn’t want a little more nuttiness in their day? 🙂
Quinoa also adds extra protein to the granola. Quinoa is a complete protein; it contains all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can’t make and we must get from food. So, eat up!
***Also, if you don’t want/have quinoa – you can still make this granola! Replace it with an equal amount of your favorite granola add-in: another nut, seed (sunflower, pumpkin etc..) or shredded coconut! (just replace it with something that can be baked (ie – not chocolate)
The other star of this granola? Pure maple syrup.
No, that’s not Crown Royal. It is a Crown Royal bottle FILLED WITH MAPLE SYRUP!
I’m a really lucky girl. My Taller half’s Uncle gives these as Christmas gifts every year. Amazing, right?! Look at all that pure, rich, made with love maple syrup! I added the pecans there for a relative size comparison. So much delicious MAPLE SYRUP.
I understand that not everyone has a vat of maple syrup, so you can replace this with honey or agave. The taste will be slightly different, but equally delicious!
So now that I am sufficiently excited to eat – let’s make some granola.
Making homemade granola is easy!
If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed – give it a quick rinse in some cold water. Don’t worry about drying it off – the quinoa can be wet.
Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Then in a small saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, oil, water and stir until well combined. Then add in the vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until all the dry ingredients are well coated.
Spread out on a large baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Bake at 320F for 25 minutes – stirring once at about 15 minutes. And DONE!
BONUS: Baking this will also make your house smell delicious. Start snacking!
Yield: 4 cups
Total time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups old fashioned oats (use gluten-free oats to make gluten-free)
- 1 cup of pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed (don’t worry about drying it, it can be wet)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 tablespoons butter (or replace with equal amounts of oil to make vegan)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or canola, or coconut)
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of real maple syrup* (you can replace with honey or agave)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 320 degrees F and place oven rack so it is in the top third of the oven. Line baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.
- Rinse quinoa in cold water
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to make sure all ingredients are mixed well
- Add Wet ingredients except vanilla to medium saucepan and melt on low heat while stirring. *To easily measure maple syrup, spray measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam), before measuring. After wet ingredients are melted and well combined, remove from heat and add vanilla
- Pour the warm mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together using a rubber spatula – until all the dry ingredients are coated by the sugar/oil/butter mixture
- Spread granola out into a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 320 F for 15 minutes. Remove and stir granola
- Bake at 320 F for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!
Adapted from my Maple almond cinnamon granola
Granola can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two weeks (good luck getting it to last that long!)
**If you don’t want/have quinoa – you can still make this granola! Replace it with an equal amount of your favorite granola add-in – such as another nut, seed (sunflower, pumpkin etc..) or shredded coconut! (just replace it with something that can be baked (ie – not chocolate or dried fruit)