My old housemate Marlaina is possibly just as zany as I am when it comes to finding and creating new healthy yummy recipes. One morning this summer, she showed up to my house as usual for our daily exercise video (that makes it sound like we’re grandmas, but we were actually huffing and puffing through Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred — not a grandma workout, let me tell you!). With her was her newest creation: yet another version of homemade granola.
Now, I have a bit of beef towards granola. It is constantly touted as an extremely healthy breakfast and snack option because it packs a lot of fibre and protein. While all this is true, it is also very high in fat, since those delicious clusters are held together with oil. Thus, even the smallest portion will eat up a considerable percentage of your recommended daily fat intake, and clock in at a few hundred calories. It just seems to me that granola balances precariously between the healthy and less healthy food zones.
But Marlaina’s most recent creation was different, in that it doesn’t use any added fat at all. Her secret ingredient?
The applesauce keeps everything together while the grains and nuts crisp up, and if you place a layer of parchment paper on your baking sheet instead of greasing it up, the only fat in your granola will come from your actual cluster ingredients.
I made my own version of applesauce granola a few weeks later, adding another secret ingredient to the mix: quinoa. I first learned of quinoa in granola here, and it piqued my curiosity. Of course I had to try it out!
The quantities below are the ones I used, and it made a huge batch of the stuff — about 3 baking sheets’ worth. I gave some away as gifts and I’ve packed the rest up into sealed containers so that it lasts a while, but this is just a warning that if you make this exact recipe you’ll have a lot of granola.
Good thing it’s the bomb.
Applesauce Quinoa Granola
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup quick oats
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup kasha
1 cup raisins
i cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1 jar unsweetened applesauce
4 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger
1. Preheat your oven to 250º.
2. Mix all of your dry ingredients, including the dried fruit but excluding the spices, in a bowl. Stir to combine them all nicely together.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the applesauce, maple syrup or honey, and cinnamon and ginger. This will help you spread out the sweetness and spiciness throughout the granola.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir until the applesauce is completely distributed.
5. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon your granola mixture onto it, then spread it out and flatten it into a relatively uniform sheet, about 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch thick.
6. Bake in your oven for 30 minutes to an hour, checking at 15 minute intervals to make sure the granola is not burning. You may elect to turn your oven even lower and bake the granola for longer, in order to ensure no burning happens, though 250º is a pretty safe bet.
7. Wait until the granola has cooled slightly, then break it up with your fingers into clusters (this should be pretty easy/almost effortless). Store in airtight containers.