My blog seems to be a on health kick and I don't want to break its stride. We've covered a few salads but lets focus on the first meal of the day - breakfast. I've tried numerous cereals and still haven't found the one. Winters are easy, all I need is a warm bowl of oatmeal with some dry fruits on top and I'm happy. But the rest of the year is a mash up of many different breakfast finds. When in grad school nothing could beat Honey bunches oats with Almonds, well except Raisin bran crunch. We (roomies) would have it every single day and somehow did not tire of it. Never once did we complain while going through box after box of them. And then once I moved out I couldn't have another morsel of that cereal again! I had probably hit the quota limit for one kind of cereal and ever since the search for the next continues.
The first time I made granola at home I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was and more importantly how easy it is to make. Since then I've made numerous batches each different from the other. I pick up a cup of so of dry fruits from bulk bins and store them in refrigerator.
After experimenting with multiple batches I've narrowed my list down to using two type of nuts and dry fruits in each batch. Having this equation cuts down my confusion and makes it easier to get a batch done. The only constant in the last few batches has been crystallized ginger. I dice the chunks into tiny bits that disappear in the granola and the spice hits you by surprise when you bite into it. Switching out the combination of nuts, fruits and even the sweetener keeps it interesting. I've used honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, apple sauce and for this recipe Pomegranate molasses as a sweetener. I keep a jar of granola on the kitchen counter and a box at work. When the snack craving hits I don't have to look too far for something healthy to munch on.
I've always used rolled oats as the bulk of the granola but with plenty of quinoa on hand I decided to experiment. Cooking quinoa was out of the question for a granola so I decided to sprout the seeds instead. Sprouting, in general helps our body absorb nutrients a lot easier by breaking down some of the enzymes. And quinoa seeds are the easiest to sprout as they need a relatively short time. A 15-20min soak in water after a good rinse helps hydrate the seeds, overnight works too. Spread them out on a piece of clean cloth, cover to block any light and keep away from sun light for 4-8hours. If the conditions are right you could see tiny sprouts in just 4-5 hours. Its recommended that the sprout not be longer than the seed for consumption. Given the teeny tiny size of the seeds themselves tiny sprouts are just what we want. Sprouted quinoa can be used in various recipes like this granola or salads and stir-fries. Store unused sprouts in the refrigerator and use within 2-3 days. I've been adding about 2Tbsp to my breakfast smoothie for extra protein and it tastes just as good.
Oats are a great source of thiamine, iron, and dietary fiber making them perfect for breakfast foods.
|Before all decked out after baking|
Sprouted Quinoa & Oats GranolaPrep time: 1 day aheadCook time: 40 minsServings - makes ~6 cupsIngredients:
- 3 cups - Old Fashioned, Rolled Oats
- 1 cup - Quinoa
- 1/2 cup -each of Almonds, Pecans coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup each Cranberries, Raisins, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp - Crystallized ginger, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp - Flax seeds
- 1 Tbsp - Orange Zest
- 3 Tbsp - Butter
- 2 Tbsp - Oil, Honey, Pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp - Vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
Note: This recipe makes a mildly sweet granola leaning on dried fruit for sweetness. Pomegranate molasses also adds sweetness and a mellow tartness to the granola which I enjoyed. On its own pom molasses is extremely tart, making you pucker and the taste reminds of rola cola/purple poppins I had as a kid.
- Approx 8-10 hours ahead - Thoroughly rinse quinoa and set to soak for 20-30mins (can be left overnight). Drain water and spread the seeds on a clean kitchen towel. Cover and keep away from direct sun light for upto 8 hrs. When you see tiny sprouts they are ready to use, you can begin checking after 4-5 hrs. If you don't see any sprouts after 8 hrs then rinse, drain and repeat the process of spreading them out for another 8 hours.
- When ready to make granola, Pre-heat oven to 325F
- In a huge microwave safe bowl, combine butter & oil, microwave for 45-60secs. Add honey, pomegranate molasses, vanilla extract to melted butter and whisk together. Add the dry ingredients (excluding dry fruits and orange zest) and mix together coating them with some of the wet mixture.
- Spread the mix evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment and place in the center rack of the oven. Bake for 30-40 mins, flipping it every 10mins. Once you begin smelling the toasted nuts and oats check to see if they've turned a light brownish hue.
- Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chopped dried fruits, finely grated orange zest and combine. The oats may not be crunchy right out of the oven, let them cool a bit to dry out and get deliciously crunchy.
- Store in an clean and dry air tight container on the counter for upto 2 weeks or move to the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
If I want chunks of granola I pulse about 1/2 cup oats or add almond meal and pack the granola mix in the baking sheet before it goes in the oven. Being extremely gentle when flipping ensures that the chunks hold up.
Millet can also be sprouted and used here but it takes longer to sprout compared to quinoa so plan ahead.