You knew this already, but granola is totally my jam. I love the crunchy, nutty texture and the fact that everything you throw into it becomes like a beautiful piece of a delicious puzzle once it’s baked. You can mix and match flavors so that every time you make it you get a brand new thing.
The things I love don’t stop there though, that’s just what you can put into granola. I didn’t even begin to cover the world of possibilities for what you can put the granola into, which is basically everything. Tell me, have you ever tried granola on a salad? Well, if not you’re missing out. Bae my friend, it’s bae.
The only downside of granola is that it tends to be pretty energy dense, you know? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s great for athletes and hikers. However, if you aren’t quite as active it’s usually recommended to be eaten in moderation, especially granola that is pretty heavy on the sugar and oil.
Well, since I could probably eat an entire box all by myself if unchecked, I decided it was a brilliant idea to come up with a super clean version of granola that could be used a little more liberally because, like I said, I could literally add it to everyTHING! Hey, have you tried it on oatmeal or pancakes?
I do throw in a little ‘disclaimer’r, I guess you could say, that it’s not extremely sweet. Personally, I really liked it this way because it seems to better compliment things such as fruit or yogurt. Now, if you really like your granola sweet you can definitely add a bit more dates to the recipe. Then there’s always the option to add a little maple syrup or honey if that works for you. Another idea I had is to use some mashed bananas in it to make a sort of “banana bread” granola. I haven’t tried that yet but I’m thinking it needs to happen soon. I’ll let you guys know if I decide to try it. Hey, or maybe you can give it a go and tell me how it turns out.
This is a very simple recipe to make but if you are short on time I’d recommend having the quinoa cooked ahead of time. Or, if happen to already have leftover cooked quinoa this is a great way to use it. Other than that, this recipe is mostly hands-off. I know it does take a little bit of baking time, but that really is key to the best crunchy texture.
A last tip that I always use when making granola, is to leave it in the oven after cooling off. I picked up this trick when I was living in Patagonia and the humidity was always a challenge. The climate I live in now is very dry but I still do this anyway. It helps to insure you get a crispy finished product when you use this tip.
Okay, now go get creative and see how many things you can add this to.
Crunchy Quinoa Walnut Granola (No Added Sugar)
- 1 cup 185g uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups 200g pitted dates
- 2 tablespoons 30g chia seeds
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 2 cups 200g raw walnuts
- 2 cups 180g rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
In a small saucepan, add about 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and reduce heat to a very low simmer, then cover and allow it to cook for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove lid and allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes. (This step can be done a day before to save time. You can also use precooked quinoa)
In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, add the dates and pour enough boiling hot water over them to cover. Allow them to soak for about 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, use a fork or whisk to stir in the chia seeds into about 1/4 cup almond milk. Allow this mixture to sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the liquid then stir to ensure that there aren't any clumps of seeds.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180C) and line a baking tray with parchment or non-stick liners. Drain the dates and add them to a blender or food processor and pulse until they become a paste. Add in the oats, walnuts, sea salt, vanilla, and soaked chia seeds. Pulse until this comes together into a dough-like mixture. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and add the quinoa. Fold together with a spatula to mix evenly. Spread the final mixture out onto your tray and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring in 15 minutes intervals until crunchy and golden.
Once the granola done, stir a final time then place the tray back in the oven and turn it off. Allow the granola to cool off with the oven for 2-3 hours. Now it's ready to serve however you'd like.
Store in an air-tight container.