This quinoa granola is perfect for sprinkling over yogurt, serving with milk, or snacking on its own. The best part is you can customize it however you like!
Before we begin…history lesson! Because what better way to get you really excited about granola than with some riveting granola history.
The history of granola
Dr. James Caleb Jackson (1811-1895) of upstate New York was a health hipster of his time. A vegetarian, believer in unprocessed grains, and the owner of a water therapy spa, he was wholesome and nutritious before it was cool. So obviously the typical American breakfast of that time (eggs, sausage, bacon, the works) just didn’t fly with him. So he invented the first dry/cold breakfast cereal…granula. Granula was a heavy cereal made from graham flour, and everyone at his spa loved it.
But then Dr. John Kellog (1852-1943) of Battle Creek, Michigan caught wind of this granula stuff and thought “hmm, yep I’m going to make that, but with oats instead of graham flour, and I shall call it….granula!” Yea he didn’t even change the name. Which of course led to a big lawsuit which resulted in Kellog changing the name to “Granola”.
Kellog’s company took off as they created (and in a few cases copied) other breakfast cereals, and sadly, granola took the backburner for a while. That is until the age of the hippies. In the 1960s, granola had a comeback amongst the health nuts. They added dried fruits, it steadily moved from the health nut circles to the general population. And boom, granola, all day everyday everywhere.
What’s the difference between granola and muesli?
Oh and a quick side note, I discovered muesli during my first time in Europe. It’s like granola’s cousin…kind of the same, but not really. So, I wanted to touch on that in case you were granola curious (as I was).
- Granola: baked rolled oats, originated in New York
- Muesli: unbaked rolled oats, higher protein content, less sugar, originated in Switzerland around the same time as granola with the intention of providing high-calorie nutrition to hospitalized patients
So this was a pretty exciting kitchen escapade. One: because yea, it’s damn delicious. And two: because while I usually would have gone and paid an arm and a leg for store-bought granola, I realized that I could just make it instead. And obviously, any recipe that is both delicious AND saves me money is an exciting recipe in my book.
Ingredients For quinoa Granola
This granola is pretty simple to make. It have some grains and some sweet and some crunch!
- Quinoa: While fiber filled quinoa is typically cooked to soften it, when you bake it, it has a totally new texture! The result is crunchy and exciting!
- Rolled Oats: Rolled oats are a must (no, steel cut will not work). Rolled oats have been pressed and rolled allowing them to soften as they bake.
- Nuts: I use a mix of chopped nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts but you could use whatever type of nut you prefer.
- Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is one of my favorite sweeteners. It is naturally occurring but also has a wonderfully warm and unique flavor that adds sweetness and flavor to the granola.
- Black Strap Molasses: Molasses is another sweetener that adds flavor. Molasses is actually the byproduct of sugar processing, the burnt bits that are turned into syrup. This creates a slightly nutty and smokey flavor that is awesome in this quinoa granola.
- Oil: Any neutral oil will work like coconut, olive, or vegetable oil.
- Spices and Add-Ins: Cinnamon and vanilla are musts but as far as add-ins you could do dried fruit or chocolate chips.
How to Make Quinoa Granola
Granola may be expensive in the store and seem labor-intensive. But, I promise, it is super easy to make!
Step 1: Prep
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
Step 2: Mix Dries
In a large bowl combine quinoa, oats, nuts, cinnamon, and salt.
Step 3: Add Wets
Stir in maple syrup, molasses, oil, and vanilla.
Step 4: Bake
Spread mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at for 20 minutes. Turn pan 180° then continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
Step 5: Cool
Allow quinoa granola to cool on pan fully before breaking into pieces. It will harden as it cools.
Step 6: Add Fruit
Once cool, break into bite-sized pieces then stir in dried fruit (or chocolate chips).
As I mentioned, this granola can be totally customized. Here are just a few ideas that I love!
Stuck in The Tropics: For this mix, try using macadamia nuts, dried pineapple, and shredded coconut for add-ins.
Christmas Spirit: For a festive take on the granola, add chopped dates for the dried fruit and stick to just pecans for the nuts. You could also add 1 Tbsp of pumpkin pie spice.
Chocolate Chip Cookie: Probably my favorite type of granola (the chocolate kind). For this one use walnuts for the nuts and swap out dried fruit for chocolate chips. Yum!
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked, 140 g
- 1 cup rolled oats old fashioned oats, 100 g
- 1 cup chopped nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, 100 g
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup maple syrup 60 mL
- ¼ cup black strap molasses 60 mL
- ¼ cup neutral oil like coconut, olive, or vegetable, 60 mL
- 1 tsp vanilla 5 mL
- 1 cup dried fruit and/or chocolate chips like raisins, cherries, dates
- Prep: Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Mix Dries: In a large bowl combine quinoa, oats, nuts, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add Wets: Stir in maple syrup, molasses, oil, and vanilla.
- Bake: Spread mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at for 20 minutes. Turn pan 180° then continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
- Cool: Allow quinoa granola to cool on pan fully before breaking into pieces. It will harden as it cools.
- Add Fruit: Once cool, break into bit-sized piece then stir in dried fruit.
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