Chunky Quinoa Granola

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This is one of those recipes I am really excited to share.  It is chunky and crispy and, as far as my tastebuds are concerned, the perfect granola.  What’s more, it is a terrific option for those who are gluten-free and may be intolerant of oats.  From the various feedback I receive from the fabulous Fountain Avenue Kitchen readers, many of you are interested in integrating more gluten-free options into your diet and particularly like quinoa for its high protein and excellent overall nutritional profile.  I love quinoa for these reasons, too, as well as for its tremendous versatility.

I happen to be a snacker.  I get the mid-morning and the afternoon munchies.  Sometimes, the urge to nibble strikes before bedtime.  I am on a perpetual search to find something that will satisfy that craving in a healthy way.  (Otherwise, dark chocolate peanut M&Ms win.)  I enjoy this granola with yogurt and also make it into a snack mix with a blend of our favorite nuts and dried fruit.  Add a few chocolate and my kids perk up!

Feel free to try this recipe once and then tweak according to your tastes.  You could add a little more coconut or skip it entirely.  Add slivered almonds instead of the sunflower seeds and adjust the maple syrup to the sweetness level that is perfect for you.  There are no oats in this recipe, so the flavor is slightly different than regular granola…but not so much that everyone may discern a difference.  The first time my husband tried it, he thought the slightly different taste he detected was from the addition of sunflower seeds. He noticed something different but couldn’t quite put his finger on it.  I will be excited to hear your feedback if you try!

For another recipe using quinoa flakes, you may want to try Banana Nut Quinoa Muffins.

Chunky Quinoa Granola
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  2. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, pepitas, or a mix of both
  3. 2 tablespoons coconut flakes, optional (I use unsweetened; sweetened would be fine)
  4. 1/4 cups egg whites (requires about 2 eggs)
  5. 1/4 - 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (see note)
  6. 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (could substitute canola or grapeseed oil)
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  9. Optional add-ins: nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate or white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine quinoa flakes, coconut (if using), sunflower seeds and/or pepitas, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine egg whites, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet mixture to the dry quinoa mixture, and mix until all of the quinoa flakes are thoroughly moistened.
  5. Spread the mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. (I take a few minutes to press the mixture into an even layer and then separate into similar-size chunks. See photo. I use a spatula to sort of slice into pieces and then work into clumps with my fingers. It doesn't have to be perfect, but this will help you to get evenly-crisped chunks.)
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the granola is turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir. Then reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees, and bake for another 10-20 minutes or until the granola is just crisp. Precise time will depend on individual ovens and the size of your chunks, so take a peek on the early side the first time or two you make this. The granola will continue to crisp up as it cools, so err on the side of not too crisp. After the granola cools, if it is still a little chewy, you may return to the 250-degree oven for another 10 minutes or so to dry out a bit more. This will not compromise the granola at all.
  7. Allow to cool completely and then store in an airtight container. If desired, add optional nuts and dried fruit. You may also enjoy with yogurt or as a cereal.
Notes
  1. I add 1/4 cup of maple syrup which produces a not-too-sweet granola. If you prefer your granola a bit sweeter, use 1/3 cup. I do think that the flavors develop overnight, so while you may think this granola is not sweet enough straight out of the oven, you may find it slightly more flavorful the next day. Feel free to tweak according to your taste preference.
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen http://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

Taking a few minutes to spread the mixture evenly over the baking sheet and separate into similar size clumps will yield evenly-crisped, chunky granola.

After the initial bake, remove from oven and stir; then return to the oven at the lower temperature to fully crisp.

Combine with your favorite nuts and dried fruit (a few white or dark chocolate chips for a treat!) and you have a delicious, portable snack or light meal on the go.

If quinoa flakes are new to you, this is what the box I buy looks like. Find it in the gluten-free or organic aisle of most major grocery stores or in health food stores and some smaller markets.

 

This recipe was shared with Recipes for My Boys’ Thursday’s Treasures and Foodie Friends Friday.

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Comments

  1. Mary

    I’ve been baking your oatmeal dishes and love them! I make enough for a week and I’m set for everyday joy! With the baked oatmeal I use three Tbl of unsweetened apple sauce instead of the oil/butter. Never know the difference and I believe it’s better for you. I’ll try with this recipe as well. Thanks for your great site!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Thank you very much for your great feedback, Mary. You make a great point about the oil. The baked oatmeal recipe is very forgiving and the applesauce is a great replacement. I think you will find success omitting the oil in this recipe, too. I enjoy the aroma of the coconut oil and like to include a little fat (since it is said to aid in vitamin and mineral absorption), but was thinking I would use just one tablespoon the next time I make this. I am always changing things a little to see how the final outcome is affected! Feel free to let me know how you make out!

      Reply
    1. Ann

      I hope you love it as much as we do, Nicole. This is a great way to make quinoa more appealing, especially where kids are concerned!

      Reply
    1. Ann

      Thank you so much and I am thrilled it was a success! I have my vegetarian sister to thank for introducing me to this little known food item many years ago…and I am so glad she did!

      Reply
  2. Mary Lou Keller

    I could not find the Qunioa Flakes at my local Kroger, but I do have another place to check and if I can’t find there, I will check Whole Foods! Have to give this a try.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Good luck! I hope you can find them without too much trouble. Coincidently, I just snacked on a handful! For my last batch, I added a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract which I really enjoyed.

      Reply
  3. Mary Lou Keller

    I have not made it to the store where I think they will have the Quinoa flakes. One of these days I will find them.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Recently, I have bought them at Stauffer’s on Rohrerstown Road and Lemon Street Market. I hope that helps and that you can find them soon. If you don’t see them, you may want to ask. There is a chance they are temporarily sold out or could order them if it is a store that does not typically carry quinoa flakes. Good luck, Jen!

      Reply
  4. Mary Lou Keller

    I finally found the Quinoa Flakes at my Kroger! It was with the cereals in the Nature’s Market section not where they have the regular quinoa and rice. I bought a box and look forward to making some of the granola! I have shredded coconut at home, is that the same thing?

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I am so glad, Mary Lou. Coincidently, I saw a bag of quinoa flakes, manufactured by Shiloh, that I had never noticed at my grocery store today–and bought it! I use the shredded, unsweetened coconut for this recipe, although the sweetened flakes would work, too. Hope you enjoy!

      Reply
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  6. Marlys @Thisand That

    I have never heard of quinoa flakes but going to look for them the next time I am shopping ~ these look good. Thanks for on Foodie Friends Friday and I hope you come back this coming week with more great recipes.

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Thank you very much, Marlys! I don’t think I ever would have paid them much attention had it not been for my vegetarian sister. I hope you find them and enjoy!

      Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Natalie,
      I bake a good bit with the flakes and have not tried this recipe with cooked quinoa. My first thought is that it would not work as the flakes are very light and fluffy–basically the whole grain shaved very thinly. I think granola with regular quinoa would be terrific but would likely require different proportions. Something with which to experiment!!

      Reply
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  8. Cammy

    love this granola..I eat it on greek yogurt for lunch …perfect sweetness 🙂 i just patted it into the pan and ended up having to cut into chunks since i had a huge granola cookie..will know better for next time lol

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I am so glad you like this, too, Cammy! Thanks for letting me know. Maybe you hit on another great idea…granola bars!

      Reply
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  10. Mary Lou Keller

    Hello Ann. .I am making some of this. .it’s been a while since I made it. Last time I bought coconut oil I got the virgin instead of refined. I love it because it really imparts the coconut flavor and aroma, but does it make a difference with cooking that you know of? Just curious. .

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi Mary Lou, I always buy extra virgin coconut oil, as I think it has a better flavor. The primary difference between the two, I believe, is that the unrefined (virgin) oil is made with fresh coconut, whereas the refined oil is made from dried coconut and undergoes more processing. I hope that answers your question and that you enjoy!

      Reply
  11. Mary Lou Keller

    Thanks Ann, the granola turned out great. I had just enough of the quinoa flakes, so they are going on my shopping list so I can make more of this. It really is quite yummy and I really like the virgin coconut oil so much better than the refined.

    Reply
  12. Ann

    I’m so glad you liked, Mary Lou. This is one of my favorites…a different ingredient for granola that really works well!

    Reply
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