Sunday 17 April 2016

Quinoa Granola (sugar-free and gluten free)

I thought that this week a breakfast recipe was in order as I'm constantly trying to find new and not-so-boring cereal alternatives to my weekday mornings. The problem with cereals is, as I've just mentioned: BORING! And when you've just about had enough of your cereal rota (everyone does have one right?) I do struggle to come up with on-the-spot alternatives which won't make me late for college, and that keep me full till lunch, (which believe me, is a hard task when I'm tempted with the daily smell of freshly baked sixth form coffee bar croissants lingering under my nose till noon!) 

Adding quinoa results in a crispy, crunchy, golden, satisfying and nutrient packed granola, everything you'd want a bowlful of this stuff to be! And with one 1/2-cup serving containing more than 9 grams of protein, it definitely has the potential to make me walk right past those tempting croissants. 

The only thing I'd say is that apart from it being incredibly simple - just chucking all the ingredients into a bowl, the most time-consuming element of this recipe is the getting everything out and weighing it all up, as there's quite a long list of ingredients which you can see from below. And although this recipe can be modified for easiness, such as buying a big bag of ready mixed dried fruit and nuts, I'd suggest making this big batch up at the weekend, when you've plenty of time to spare. Once you've made a batch, you can enjoy it all week long: the granola can be stored in a glass jar for up to two weeks. So another thing you can add to your cereal rota eh? 

What I love about granola is that it's so versatile, one day you could serve it with milk, and the next with yoghurt with all manner of fresh fruit toppings, depending on what you've got lying around. My favourite has to be milk though, with blueberries and chopped banana. 

This recipe is adapted from my Sugar Free - Sue Quinn book, which I wrote about in last week's post. I'm a sucker for it, I'll gladly admit that. And you can't blame me really when there's just so many recipes that I want to give a go. Thanks to the apple juice and cinnamon, there's enough sweetness in it to not need a syrup hit - à la honey or maple, which is the conventional choice of most granola recipes.  So a healthy brekkie all round, I say, which most, if not all store-bought cereals and granolas can't say for themselves, no matter what the catchy brand slogan, namely 'healthy' and all that jazz. Sugar is the culprit in all this and so save yourself the consumer pitfall and make it yourself. Then you can control what goes in it first hand, plus you can add in whatever fruits/nuts/seeds you like! 

Quinoa  Granola  (sugar - free and gluten free )

Serves 8+


200g rolled oats (make sure they are non-contaminated, pure oats if GF)
180g quinoa (raw)
75g flaked almonds
25g brazil nuts
50g walnuts
50g pistachios
50g cashew nuts
30g dried mango
40g chewy banana chips
40g dried berries (I used cranberries, raisins, inca, blueberries & cherries)
30g dried tropical fruit (I used apricots & papaya)
40g pumpkin seeds
40g sunflower seeds
25g desiccated coconut
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
100ml melted coconut oil
250ml unsweetened apple juice
1 large egg white


Preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300°F / Gas 2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats and quinoa. Roughly chop all the nuts and add to the bowl. Roughly chop the fruit ingredients and add to the bowl but reserve a handful for later. Then add in the seeds, coconut, cinnamon, coconut oil and apple juice. Mix well. 

Whisk the egg whites till frothy in a separate little bowl and then stir into the mixture. Spread out onto the prepared baking tray, you may need 2 baking trays if it doesn't all spread out flat. Bake for 15 minutes. Then give it a stir to make sure it bakes evenly. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool on the tray, then stir in the reserved dried fruit. Store in an airtight container, it will last for a few weeks. 

Serve with milk or yogurt and top with fresh fruit. 

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