This Quinoa Granola is a nutty, crunchy breakfast or snack option that’s packed with whole grains and protein. This maple-sweetened granola is gluten-free and vegan, with cinnamon and dried cranberries for flavor! The quinoa bakes up into delicious clusters.
Despite my many years of making homemade granola, I never get sick of it. Neither the process of making the granola, nor the product churned out of my kitchen ever gets old or tired.
The now-ritualistic process soothes me – measuring out the nuts and grains, adding a whole ton of warm spices, deciding which sweeteners to use and which add-ins I feel like that week. Of course, I definitely don’t get sick of the incredible smell that fills my apartment while it’s baking slowly in the oven.
Back in college, I would always make my granola early on weekend mornings, before my housemates had rolled out of bed. Slowly but surely, they’d trail into the kitchen, wondering what smelled SO good. They were always a little sad to see it was my granola – one of the few things I made that I hoarded for myself. I’d share handfuls with them when it was fresh from the oven, but then it went into my granola container and was all mine.
As I reintroduce grains following my Whole30, I’ve been wanting to incorporate more whole grains into my diet beyond the usual rolled oats and rice. I tend to be a creature of habit, so I thought adding a big dose of quinoa to my granola would be a delicious way to get more whole grains in a snack I already adore.
While I do enjoy cooked quinoa, it’s not my favorite grain to eat plain as a side dish – here in this granola though, it bakes up into little crunchy bites that cluster together with the oats in the most delicious way. Quinoa is packed with protein too, so it helps make this granola ultra filling.
I used Bob’s Red Mill’s Organic Quinoa, because I always love and trust the high quality of their ingredients. This quinoa, packed with protein and iron, is certainly no exception. You could use their tricolor quinoa for a burst of color, too!
I wasn’t sure exactly what the quinoa would taste like when baked, since it’s mixed into the granola mixture raw, but the flavor is super similar to the oats once baked – it’s just a little bit nuttier. The texture is crunchy, but definitely not too hard. It just works, especially paired with the nuts and chia seeds.
I opted for almonds and pecans cause they’re my favorites, but you can adapt this recipe to include your favorite nuts instead. For flavors, I kept it simple and just used cinnamon and sea salt. The warmth of the cinnamon shines, and pairs beautifully with the pure maple syrup that’s used to lightly sweeten and bind the granola.
For some added texture, I tossed in a big handful of dried cranberries at the end. You can go with raisins, dried blueberries, or any other dried fruit your heart desires, or skip it if you don’t like dried fruit in your granola. I love how endlessly customizable granola is! Just adjust it to suit your tastes.
I’m definitely going to be adding quinoa to a bunch of my future granola batches – I can always use an extra powerhouse ingredient in my breakfast! Have you tried quinoa in your granola yet? If not, ready to give it a shot?! Enjoy :)
Remember to #bakerita if you try the recipe!
Quinoa Granola (Gluten Free + Vegan)
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF and line a baking sheet (or 2, if they're smaller) with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, uncooked quinoa, sliced almonds, pecans, and chia seeds.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and kosher salt.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until all the dry ingredients are coated. Spread the granola mixture into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet(s).
- Bake for 40 minutes to an hour, turning the pan halfway through and mixing gently to ensure it doesn't burn.
- Remove from the oven and press down slightly to help form clusters, and then let cool completely without disturbing to help the clumps form. Toss in the dried cranberries.
- Store in a sealed container or bag at room temperature for about a month.
This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, one of my favorite brands to use in the kitchen! As always, all opinions are totally my own. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that help me keep Bakerita going.