I’m a fan of brunch. It means you can sleep in (#treatyoself) without worrying that you’re going to miss the best meal of the day (breakfast) or the carry-me-through-to-dinner meal (lunch). It’s a harmonious meal, really, and that’s what I love about it. No rules, just yum.
That’s what I love about granola too. You can eat granola for breakfast. You can eat granola for brunch. You can eat granola as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. And you can eat granola as dessert. Because it’s so versatile, it’s one of those things I love to always have around the house or in my drawer at work.
What makes granola even better is how easy it is to make your own homemade batch. It’s really just about adding any combination of oats, nuts, seeds + spices with a sweetening wet mixture, think: apple sauce, maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, simple syrup. Think of the oats as a blank palette for your granola – you can doctor it up any way your stomach desires.
For this particular granola, I really wanted to up my nutritious game beyond just nuts and seeds, so I added our favorite grain to my granola: quinoa! It adds a wonderful crunch and all new dimension of nuttiness to the granola. Not to mention an added layer of protein (a complete protein that you can really only find in animal meat, not in plants) and a nice amount of iron and fiber. It elevates the granola from just an add-on to a powerhouse staple.
To turn it into a parfait like I did – place 1/2 cup of any berries of your choice plus a cup of yogurt, alternating layers (1/4 cup berries, 1/2 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons granola).
HONEY NUT QUINOA GRANOLA
(makes about 4 cups)
1 1/4 cup rolled oats (gluten free if you’d like!)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a large baking sheet with non stick spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (oats, quinoa, almonds, pecans, walnuts, flax seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and salt). Whisk to combine and disperse them evenly. In a small bowl, combine the apple sauce and honey and stir until the honey is evenly incorporated into the apple sauce and you have a smooth sauce. Add the apple sauce and honey mixture to the dry ingredients and toss to coat everything evenly. Pour the mixture onto your baking sheet and spread it into an even layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring the granola mixture every 8 minutes (about 4 times throughout the baking process). It should turn from a milky cream color to a rich golden brown (see pictures above). That’s when you know it’s ready!
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the pan. It should take about 20 minutes. Store in a ziploc bag or or airtight container at room temperature. Because the granola has dried out, it will last for several weeks (if you can keep it around for that long!) Enjoy!