Cherry Almond Quinoa Granola
Made with red quinoa, this Cherry Almond Quinoa Granola is super crunchy and filled with cherries and almonds! Almond extract gives it even more almond flavor.
When I set out to create a new batch of granola recipes, I knew I wanted to include a quinoa granola. I had never made quinoa granola myself, but I’d seen it pop up on blog after blog. I love cooking with quinoa, and I knew it would give a granola some nice crunch.
I’ve used red quinoa because of it adds a pop of pretty color to the granola. (Plus, it coordinates so well with the cherries, don’t you think?) You add the quinoa to the granola raw, just like the oats, and it toasts up as the granola bakes. You will want to be sure to rinse the quinoa well before adding it to the bowl. Rinsing will remove the bitter coating that is naturally found on quinoa. Don’t worry about drying it – just give it a little shake in the strainer – it will dry in the oven.
Yesterday I shared five reasons why you should make your own granola. One reason is that it’s endlessly customizable. I made this Cherry Almond Quinoa Granola with coconut oil. If you don’t have coconut oil and don’t want to buy some, you can substitute olive oil. Either oil will help the granola to crisp up after baking.
You might notice in my photos that this granola doesn’t have many big clusters. While I love clusters, granola tastes just as delicious without them. If you must have the clusters, though, you can modify any granola recipe to get them.
Here’s what you do. After mixing everything together, beat one egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Stir the egg white into the granola mixture until everything is evenly coated, and then bake as usual. The egg white helps hold the oats together, forming clusters. Easy peasy. Unless you’re like me and just want to pop that granola in the oven already!
If you are new to using coconut oil, you will find that there are two kinds sold at your grocery store. (You should be able to find coconut oil at most stores now – they have it at my local Safeway.) First there is refined coconut oil, which has only the slightest hint of coconut flavor. Really, you probably won’t even taste it in your granola. I used refined coconut oil in this recipe. There is also unrefined virgin coconut oil, which has lots of coconut flavor. Use this one if you want your granola to taste like coconut throughout. I used virgin coconut oil in the tropical granola I shared yesterday.
Store your coconut oil at room temperature, as it will become rock-hard in the refrigerator. At normal room temperature, it will be a soft solid. Although, when we recently had a series of 100-degree days here and my house got warm, my coconut oil melted. No big deal, but it won’t last as long when stored at warmer temperatures. When stored in a cool, dark cupboard, your coconut oil should last at least a year. It can easily be melted in the microwave.
Now that I’ve given you an in-depth lesson on coconut oil, get yourself into the kitchen and make this granola! I bet you’ll have a hard time waiting for it to cool before digging in! It’s super crunchy and the cherry-almond combination is amazing!
Be sure to check back tomorrow… you won’t want to miss my easiest-ever granola recipe!
- 5 cups (425g) old-fashioned oats
- ¾ cup (140g) quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup (85g) raw sliced almonds
- ¼ cup (25g) flaxseed
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil (or olive oil)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp. almond extract
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (120g) dried cherries
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, quinoa, almonds, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix well.
- Place coconut oil in a heat-safe liquid measuring cup or bowl. Heat in the microwave until melted, about 30 seconds. Whisk in maple syrup, honey, almond extract, and vanilla. Pour over oat mixture and stir until everything is evenly coated.
- Spread granola in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until granola is lightly browned, 40-45 minutes total.
- Let granola cool completely on baking sheet. Mix in dried cherries. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
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