Quinoa Granola

Today I had every intention of working on my papers due for graduate school classes. I made quinoa granola and spiced carrot soup instead.

Last week, I had breakfast with a friend at Old Soul at 40 Acres in the Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento. I ordered their housemade granola, which came in a stainless steel mixing bowl (though the portion was appropriate for a normal person) with plain yogurt, sliced banana, and a generous drizzle of local honey. It was delicious, crunchy, and sweet but not too sweet. It reminded me how much I love this breakfast. So this weekend I decided to make granola, but a little different that I usually do. My typical granola recipe is oats and Wisconsin maple syrup, but this one has several more ingredients and a few spices, making it more wholesome and, quite frankly, more interesting than the stuff I'd been making previously.

My favorite way to enjoy this granola is with plain yogurt (either homemade or Greek God's Nonfat Plain), fresh fruit, and a drizzle of local honey (so local, in fact, it comes from my neighbor's bees).

Happy Breakfast!

Quinoa Granola
Makes about 5 cups

2 1/2 c thick-cut rolled oats
1/3 c quinoa (uncooked)
1/2 c sesame seeds
1/2 c whole almonds
1/2 c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/3 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c walnuts
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c pure maple syrup*
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c dried fruit (golden raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots, whatever you prefer or have on hand)

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, quinoa, sesame seeds, almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Stir to combine. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until oat mixture is completely coated.

Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Bake for one hour. Cool completely, then add the dried fruit; toss to combine. Store in an airtight container.

*I prefer my granola to not be very sweet since I add honey later, so I only added 1/2 cup of syrup. Recipes I read online suggest 3/4 cup for a recipe this size, so if you want your's a little sweeter, I suggest increasing the amount of syrup used.