Too many times I’ll want to give up on eating the rest of a recipe just because I’ve been way too overloaded at once. I love every single recipe I put up here, but really, if I am the only one eating it and it’s going down multiple times a day, I grow tired pretty easily. I want to be excited to eat my leftovers, not all “Blah why is this thing in my bowl again??” (um, that made me sound like a cat deploring his bowl of dry food, I digress, get cat food off your mind). But why would I waste a perfectly good recipe on my boredom?
Remember this quinoa salad? I loved the freshness of every piece of it, but it was time to breathe new life into the withering bowl of miracle grain. I had just enough of the salad left that it needed to be used or eaten, but not quite enough to give away either. Enter, granola! I knew quinoa + granola looked like a match made in breakfast heaven from other food blogs, but wanted to try my hand at it. So, I picked out the spinach leaves, stirred in some oats and maple syrup and baked the granola mixture low and slow to dry the fruits out. The best part is that the granola came out much better than expected. Improvised recipes + excellent result= best feeling.
The leftover quinoa salad isn’t necessary for this recipe, just use up some leftover cooked quinoa or cook up a batch before throwing the granola together. If your quinoa is already seasoned on the savory side, go ahead and try sweetening the mixture with the maple syrup. You might need to use a bit more, but it’s worth the sweet second life to those little grainy suckers. Also, feel free to sub in dried fruit or any other fresh fruit you may have. I loved that the fresh fruit gave a chewy texture to the granola, while still adding a fair amount of moisture. The method of baking the granola at a low temperature for an extended period is essentially dehydrating the fruit, so if you are using dried fruit, the bake time can be reduced.
I made this granola on a whim at night, so I don’t have any process shots, but had to hold back on eating all the the granola in a week in order to save some for photographing!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 3/4 cup fruit (either fresh or dried)
- 1/4 cup walnuts or nut of choice (chopped)
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking spice or mixture of cinnamon (allspice, and cardamom)
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, fruit, nuts, coconut and oats. Stir in maple syrup and vanilla, making sure to coat all ingredients.
- Spread mixture thinly on a a parchment paper or lightly greased lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until fruit is primarily dried out and oats/quinoa are crunchy.
- Remove from oven and left cool before storing or serving. Keeps in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.
- Makes about 3 cups granola