What gluten-filled food do you miss the most? For me, it’s cereal. I had this obsession with cereal as a kid; sometimes I’d even forego dessert for a bowl of Kashi Crunch (weird, I know). There’s just something so satisfying about crunchy, buttery, ever-so-slightly salted chunks of grains with cold milk and cinnamon.
Fortunately, we live in a world with zillions of gluten-free cereals and granolas on the market. My favorite by far is purely elizabeth‘s ancient grain granola. Have you tried? Her granolas are certified gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, free of refined sugar, and are addictive. Because we’re known in this house to go through bags of the pumpkin fig flavor within a day, I set out to make a slightly modified homemade version in bulk.
As it’s summer, I swapped out pumpkin for coconut, adding coconut chips left over from my coconut cardamom buttercream cake. I also added puffed quinoa for extra crispness. This recipe is infinitely adaptable; pumpkin-pecan, dark chocolate-cherry, blueberry-vanilla, and raspberry-chia granolas would all work great. Later, I’ll explain how to puff quinoa (similar to popping popcorn!) and how to achieve those much sought-after granola chunks.
coconut fig quinoa granola
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 1 hr 15 minutes
- 4 cups (32 oz / 2 lbs) certified gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 1 cup pure maple syrup (or 2 cups coconut sugar)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
- 7 large dried figs – free of sulfites
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp pure coconut flavor
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup halved pecans (optional)
- 3 large egg whites (optional)
Rinse quinoa in fine strainer under cold water (if you’re in a pinch, the built-in filter from your coffee maker will work just fine). *Note: rinsing is important here, as in its original state, quinoa is covered in saponin, a natural bitter substance, which we do not want in our granola!
Bring a deep pot, at least 5 inches in depth, to medium-high heat. Add rinsed quinoa, plus a drop of olive oil. This will provide added nutty flavor to the quinoa as it puffs. For the first few minutes, the quinoa won’t do much, as residual water evaporates off the grains, but within 5 minutes, you will hear little crackles as the grains puff up and begin to brown. Stir constantly, ensuring even browning, for approximately 8-10 minutes. Let quinoa cool in large bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. In an extra large bowl or pot, combine oats, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and coconut flavor. Then add coconut flakes, spices, sea salt, dried figs, pecans, and quinoa. Stir with spatula for several minutes to thoroughly combine. If you are not concerned with keeping the granola vegan, whisk egg whites and combine with granola mix (the egg whites help with creating chunks later on).
On a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread a 1-inch layer of granola, patting down with spatula. Bake for 1 hr 15 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes to ensure even browning. Depending on how big your oven and baking sheet are, and how much granola you want to make at once, you will likely need to bake in batches.
On granola chunks: the key to getting those big chunks is to let your sheet of granola sit for at least 1 hour after it comes out of the oven. Then, break apart with your hands into desired size chunks.
The granola will keep for weeks in a sealed container. Serve in labeled mason jars with ribbon for a hostess gift, or for yourself in coconut yogurt parfaits.