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.
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, pepitas, or a mix of both
- 2 tablespoons coconut flakes, optional (I use unsweetened; sweetened would be fine)
- 1/4 cups egg whites (requires about 2 eggs)
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (see note)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil (could substitute canola or grapeseed oil)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- Optional add-ins: nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate or white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine quinoa flakes, coconut (if using), sunflower seeds and/or pepitas, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, combine egg whites, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, and vanilla.
Add the wet mixture to the dry quinoa mixture, and mix until all of the quinoa flakes are thoroughly moistened.
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.)
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.
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.
- 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.