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.

apple spice quinoa granola in a white bowl

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.

apple spice quinoa granola in a colorful bowl

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.

apple spice quinoa granola in a colorful bowl

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.

quinoa in a white dish

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!

apple spice quinoa granola in a white bowl

apple spice quinoa granola on a silpat baking mat

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. 😉

apple spice quinoa granola in a glass bowl with yogurt

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!

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

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apple spice quinoa granola in a colorful bowl

Apple Spice Quinoa Granola

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 5 cups
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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.


Ingredients

  • 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 pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup*
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the oats, quinoa, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together until combined. Fold in the dived apple. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Granola will lose its crunch overtime because of the apples.

Notes

  1. Oats: Make sure your oats are certified gluten free if you have an intolerance.
  2. Sweetener: 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.

Keywords: apple spice granola, apple spice quinoa granola

27 Comments

  1. Is there anything I could substitute for the unsweetend applesauce?

    1. You could use apple butter instead. Or even 1 large mashed banana – but your granola won’t be nearly as crunchy.

  2. Excellent recipe! Used dehydrated apples instead of fresh to avoid the extra moisture and it turned out great!

  3. Looks amazing! Just wondering though, since I’m not exactly the super-crunchy-granola type, how would you make the granola a bit, well, softer?

    1. I would add more chopped apples. They will release their moisture and make the granola softer. Or slightly reduce the oil.

  4. Loved the flavors of this! I had some trouble getting mine to cluster and turn out crunchy though.. My initial thought was to maybe dice my apple more finely? If you could give me any tips on how to achieve this, that would be great! Really love this over plain greek yogurt!! 🙂

    1. Hey Sarah! Yep, you could try to dice your apple to be a tad smaller. Also, try not to overcrowd the granola on the baking sheet. I bake my granola in batches. The more space it has, the crunchier it gets because it’s not all on top of each other. Does that make sense?

  5. Do you prewash the quinoa befor using it like we do when cookibg it?

    1. Hi Susan! Yes, if the quinoa is not pre-washed already, I will wash and pat it dry.

  6. I tried this tonight and instead of using applesauce (didn’t have any) I used pumpkin puree instead – ended up being a lovely delish “Fall Harvest” granola, thanks!

  7. Can you use quinoa instead of oatmeal, I have problems with gluten and whole grain and have sensitivities with oats? I’m not sure gluten free oats would resolve the issues. Want to find recipes that I can make with quinoa as the replacement. Do you use the quinoa flakes or just plain, have never used before. Thanks! Sounds yummy!

    1. Hi Lisa, you do need some sort of oat to go along with the quinoa. Though I’ve never tried it before, I assume the quinoa wouldn’t hold as much of the flavoring or the ingredients together as oats would. If that doesn’t matter to you, perhaps you could just add more quinoa and more add-ins like nuts and then leave out the oats.

  8. I made this yesterday and it’s so good!! I left the apple out BC I wanted to make a big batch of your baked apple chips and ended up crumbling some in after baking. I’m gonna make more and add the apple this time BC this batch is almost gone already….so yummy…thanks for the recipe!

  9. I love your granola recipes!! Thank you soo much for sharing. SOOO, I made a double batch of the apple cinnamon quinoa granola before realizing the shelf life of 2 weeks. Is that the max shelf life? Will it spoil after because of the fresh apples required in the recipe? Any suggestions to extend the 2 weeks? Thanks soo much!

    1. Put the granola in the refrigerator for another week. That will extend its shelf life. I’m sure it could even be left at room temperature for up to 3 week, I just have not tasted it and am unsure if the taste is affected.

  10. I made this this morning and love it. Thanks for sharing. It is going to go well with yougart and summer fruit!!!

  11. Just made this. So yum!!

  12. Your granola recipes are the best Sally! I can’t decide which one is my favourite but its this recipe and your pumpkin spice granola neck in neck. Thank you for sharing your wonderful creations.

  13. Mmmmm that looks so delicious!!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to make it!
    Is there any sub for the applesauce?

    1. Marie, you could use apple butter instead. Or even 1 large mashed banana. Your granola won’t be as crunchy.

  14. I had never made my own granola before, but now I have made this granola twice and it’s super yummy!  I am looking forward to trying your other kinds of granola now.  I love your blog and the way you explain recipes, mention what things can be substituted and the reasons that some things shouldn’t be.  I love baking and love dessert, but I really like that you also include a lot of yummy, healthy snacks on your blog that I enjoy baking as well.  Keep the great recipes coming!

  15. Delicious granola! Thanks for your recipe and the addition of the nutritious quinoa. I made a few changes and it still came out perfect! Instead of the sugar I cut up a couple of large mejdool dates. I also mixed almonds and pecans. In terms of spices I added some pumpkin spice and a little turmeric with a very small pinch of ginger as well. Used a large green apple and added some dried apples I also had on hand. Finally sprinkled coconut flakes on top. Thanks for giving me a compelling reason to get out or bed tomorrow ! Keep us inspired xx 

  16. Hi Sally,

    I’d love to try this however I was wondering if there is anything else you would recommend replacing the quinoa with? I’m just not too sure about adding raw quinoa to granola. Thank you. 

    1. You can simply leave it out or add more oats 🙂

  17. This looks great! What would happen if I left out the diced apple?

    1. Nothing! You can leave it out.

  18. “DELICIOUS”…..”FABULUS”…..”EASY TO MAKE”
    I sent this to my granddaughter in a care package for Thanksgiving….. she absolutely adored it. I sent it again for Christmas and now again for Valentine’s Day….she says this is her go to for breakfast and snack!!!!! I also eat it on my oatmeal every other day. So today I am making it for the forth time ALL for me!!! I will never buy granola in the grocery store again!!!! LOVE, LOVE,LOVE, IT!!!!!!!!!

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