Making granola at home is so easy and allows for you to control the ingredients. I've made lots of versions of granola through the years, but this recipe has really caught on in our house as the top contender to nab the title of "Best Homemade Granola Ever."
I just recently started adding quinoa to my granola. Doing so results in unexpected, yet fun little pops of texture and crunch. And, I like that the quinoa doesn't even have to be cooked prior to assembling the granola.
Granola is one of those recipes that can be adapted easily according to what is on hand and taste preferences. If you like pecans instead of sunflower seeds, go for it. Prefer a stronger cinnamon flavor? Use two teaspoons instead of one. Just be sure to keep the general measurement guidelines the same as you go along.
When I make granola, my family utilizes it mostly as a topping for yogurt. We almost always serve that with some sort of fresh fruit or a good-quality jam/preserve. If we want the granola more for snacking on its own, I usually toss in some dried fruit after the granola comes out of the oven ... we prefer the combination of raisins, dried cherries and dried apricots added in.
I will mention that this granola is not overly sweet. Honey and a little brown sugar are included in the ingredient list, but I don't like my granola cloyingly sweet. I should note, also, that I use unsweetened coconut, but sweetened can be used if desired. We usually serve our granola, yogurt and fruit "bowls" with honey drizzled on top, so that gives everything a little touch of additional sweetness, too.
4 tablespoons coconut oil (unsalted butter can be used)
1/2 cup honey, divided
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice (freshly-squeezed is best)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup coconut (I prefer a combination of flaked and shredded)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the oats and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Line a high-rimmed baking sheet with foil - including up the sides of the pan. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the coconut oil, 1/4 cup of the honey, brown sugar, orange juice and salt. Bring just to a simmer over medium-low heat. (Be sure that the brown sugar is thoroughly dissolved.)
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over the oats and sunflower seeds. Stir gently to thoroughly coat. Pour mixture onto the foiled-lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
Bake - stirring once - for fifteen minutes. Remove from oven.
Drizzle oats with remaining 1/4 cup honey, then stir in quinoa and coconut. Return pan to oven. Bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes - stirring once or twice to avoid burning granola - or until granola is just beginning to toast and slightly darken.
Remove from oven. Stir, then allow to thoroughly cool before serving or storing.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Serve with yogurt and fresh fruit. Drizzle with honey for a sweet finishing touch.