Apple Spice Quinoa Granola.
This crunchy apple granola is packed with nutrients and will soon become a favorite. Spiced with cinnamon and cloves, it makes the perfect fall snack.
It’s been far too long since I shared a granola recipe with you. But I’ve secretly been making different granola recipes all summer. Snacking on them helped me get through my cookbook manuscript! Late nights and early mornings – we’re talking 4am alarms – all summer long. Munching on mocha java granola kept me awake, alert, and… sane.
Homemade granola, while boring to some, is actually one of my favorite things to munch on. In fact, I think it is far from boring! So many textures, so much crunch, the flavor possibilities are endless, dried fruit, nuts, the whole shebang. Eaten for breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout, midnight munchie, or sitting at my desk – I never tire of this stuff! The only downside to granola? It is so addicting!
But I can think of worse problems.
When I make granola, I like to focus on whole, natural foods. Healthy foods to balance out my Reese’s bar obsession, foods without a bunch of excess sugar, and foods that I buy on the reg – so I don’t have to make any extra trips to the grocery store. Not only is homemade granola so simple to throw together at home, but you have complete control over the ingredients. Oh, and it’s cheap to make at home too.
My #1 granola recipe has got to be this one (peanut butter, duh) – but the more I snack on my recent apple-spice batch, the more I am convinced I’ve got a new fave. Warming flavors like cinnamon, clove, maple, apple, vanilla, and almond merge together bite after bite. Whole-grain, fiber-packed, gluten free quinoa gives the clusters a nice crunch. Chunks of real apple release their juices, so each bite is infused with their flavor. This stuff is seriously the best.
If you’re not familiar with quinoa – you should be! It’s pronounced keen-wa. Not qwee-no-a. Don’t worry, I had no idea how to say the word a couple years ago. Quinoa is a super food. It’s a type of whole grain with a huge list of perks: gluten free, fiber-packed, protein-packed, high in iron, low in fat, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, and vegan. My soon-to-be sister in law, Kerry, makes amazing quinoa patties with lots of herbs and spices. I’ll have to share that recipe sometime if you’re interested!
The quinoa in this granola is essentially flavorless, but it does bring a nice “toasty” flavor to each cluster. It also supplies much more nutritional benefit, as opposed to making the granola with only oats. I think I’m going to sprinkle uncooked quinoa on pretty much all of my granolas from now on. 😉
I buy quinoa at my regular grocery store in the rice aisle.
Besides quinoa, this spiced granola is packed with real apples, almonds, and raisins. I peeled and finely diced a large honey crisp apple (my favorite!) and tossed it into the mix. The apple pieces release their juices and stay slightly soft as the granola bakes. They are a fabulous contrast to the crunchy clusters – perfect for texture freaks like me. I also added almonds, both slivered and whole, as well as a medley of colorful raisins. The nuts and raisins are completely optional, but the more “stuff” in my granola, the better. They both pair so nicely with the spices and apple flavor as well.
The granola gets its flavor from the apple, as well as pure maple syrup, a touch of brown sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla. Yeah, it’s quite flavorful. Full of all of my favorite fall spices. PS: a pumpkin granola recipe is coming soon.
I found that the granola wasn’t nearly as flavorful or sweet without the 1/4 cup of brown sugar, so don’t leave it out. 1/4 cup is such a teensy amount as well – especially spanned over 5 cups of granola. You could try adding more pure maple syrup instead, but that stuff is so expensive!
The granola slow-cooks in the oven at a 325F degree temperature. This will give it that beautiful, addicting little crunch. Some granola pieces will be soft from the apples, but the quinoa gives the majority of each handful a crispity, crunchity bite.
Don’t go too far as the granola bakes – you’ll need to stir it around every 10-15 minutes or so. Otherwise it could burn. Just wait until you smell this baking in your kitchen. My kitchen STILL smells amazing and I made this yesterday morning.
The granola is vegan and gluten free (if you’re using certified GF oats). I have many readers ask me for more vegan recipes, so I am happy to share today’s tasty treat! PS: you can find all of my vegan recipes here and all of my gluten free recipes here. A few of my very favorite recipes fall into both categories. My upcoming cookbook also has a slew of both vegan and GF options too. 😉
I am completely in love with this maple-infused, cinnamon-spiced, autumn-inspired granola. It’s SO hard to put down because each bite is completely different. Luckily I don’t have to feel too bad munching on the healthy stuff. Love it when that happens!
Apple Spice Quinoa Granola
Yield: 5 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
This crunchy granola is packed with nutrients and will soon become a favorite. Spiced with cinnamon and cloves, it makes the perfect fall snack.
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats*
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup almonds (I used a mixed of slivered and whole)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 large apple, peeled & diced (any variety)
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup*
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the oats, quinoa, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. Fold in the dived apple. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, applesauce, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until everything is moistened. Spread onto two baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, making sure to stir the granola every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning. Allow granola to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheets. This will help it get crunchier. Pour into a large bowl and add the raisins.
Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Granola will lose its crunch overtime because of the apples.
*Make sure your oats are certified gluten free if you have an intolerance.
*You may use honey, agave, or light corn syrup as the liquid sweetener. Keep in mind that using honey means your granola is no longer vegan.
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