This week I took a stand against the breakfast industrial complex. Sunday for breakfast, I thought I’d go carnivorous, and ate a plate heaped high with Amish summer sausage. In honor of meatless Monday, I thought I’d swing vegetarian, and polished off a bowl of leftover garlicky lentil salad with goat cheese. Tuesday at 6am, I started to worry that I might not be getting my daily serving of fruits and vegetables, and munched away on snow peas, carrots, and bell peppers while I was getting ready for work. Don’t worry, I also ate string cheese for protein! This morning I was out of time and thinking that I might want to dip towards the sweet side, unfortunately things got a bit sticky when I tried to juggle spoonful’s of Nutella while driving. Paul, no stranger to my breakfast rebellions, calmly continued eating his grape nuts. Now that I’ve gotten that all out of system, I am ready for a spiffed-up breakfast classic. So when I got home from work today, I made a big batch of Chocolate Maple Granola with Quinoa and Cranberries. This chocolaty, crunchy granola is somewhere between breakfast and dessert, a good place to be in my mind, and with the combination of nuts, oats, and quinoa, provides a complete protein rich meal that keeps me energized through the whole day.
Yield: Approximately 7 cups
- 3 1/2 cups oats, old fashioned rolled
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 3/4 cup coconut, shredded & unsweetened preferably
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 250.
- In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (oats, quinoa, walnuts, coconut, brown sugar, and salt) until fully incorporated.
- In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, oil, cocoa powder and vanilla. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until the chocolate mixture is well distributed.
- Pour the granola onto 2 sheet pans (clean-up is much easier if you put down silicone baking sheets or parchment paper).
- Press the mixture down firmly so that it forms a fairly solid even mass, this will help it to clump later.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotate baking sheets half way through the bake time to ensure even browning. I do not stir mine while it is baking in order to maximize the clumping.
- Cool 15 minutes. Once cooled, add the dried cranberries and chocolate chips (if you are using them). Eat the granola straight-up or served with yogurt, milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, anything goes!
Note: This granola keeps well in the freezer for up to one month.