Meatless Monday: Best Ever Crunchy Nut Quinoa Vegan Granola

I have DIY’ed so many things, but for whatever crazy reason, granola was something I shied away from…it seemed too complicated. Boy, was I wrong! The key to good granola is sourcing a bunch of fun, complimentary ingredients. The top secret is that you can achieve a delicious granola with simple components. The bare minimum is old fashioned oats, a bit of oil, and some sticky sweetener. Beyond that, the limit is your imagination…GO WILD!

This granola is special. Once I found out you could bake uncooked quinoa into granola for a nutty crunch, I had to try it. I’ve technically been obsessed with nuts since childhood, so I threw in a couple kinds to be safe. I suggest eating this by the handful, doused in almond/soy/etc. milk, or sprinkled over yogurt/ice cream. The coconut oil gives it a dreamy kind of scent and flavor. I also like to add dried cranberries to the mix for a sweet, tangy kick. What are your favorite granola mix-ins?

INGREDIENTS

2 cups old fashioned/rolled oats
3/4 cup quinoa (any color)
2 cups nuts or seeds (I used almonds and hazelnuts, some chopped, some whole)
1/2 or 1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup agave
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

METHOD

Preheat oven to 325. Line a large baking dish with parchment paper and set it to the side.

In a big mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir well. Then add wet ingredients and stir some more.

Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. You will want to stir once or twice during baking to ensure even cooking (and no burning!)

Remove from oven and press down firmly on the granola with the back of a large spoon. This will give you those lovely granola chunks when you break it apart later.

Allow it to cool completely before breaking up and devouring.

Store in an airtight container on the counter for at least a week (if it lasts that long!)

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