When I'm home, my breakfasts tend to be super simple, but always savory. Scrambled eggs with hot sauce or cheese, a quick breakfast burrito with greek yogurt instead of sour cream, or my favorite: egg sandwiches with cayenne and mayo on un-toasted whole wheat bread.
Which is why it was super weird when I woke up the other morning craving granola.
But nonetheless, the craving was there. And even more specifically, I wanted a bowl of sweet chocolate granola. Something which I'd never even had before.
So I wandered into the kitchen and got to work rummaging through my pantry and combining ingredients in a bowl. I was initially going to go with a basic oatmeal base, but then I spotted the quinoa and wondered if perhaps there would be a way to use that, instead to increase the protein content of the granola.
To add lots of chocolate flavor, I used cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and chocolate chunks (the later, which I added after the granola had already cooled). A generous amount of salt, plus some cinnamon for a warm touch and a few handfuls of sliced almonds, and the results were stunning! I've been enjoying small bowls of it as a mid-afternoon snack topped off with delicious whole milk. The chocolate mixes with the milk (reminiscent of those sugary childhood cereals!) and the toasted nuttiness of the almonds and quinoa work beautifully in the final dish.
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Triple Chocolate Quinoa Granola
Makes 6-8 servings
2 cups rolled oats (not instant--for a gluten-free version, be sure to select gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill)
2 cups dried quinoa, rinsed well (OK if still moist after rinsing)
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds + an additional 1/4 cup (divided)
1/4 cup chia seeds (optional, but wonderful! Feel free to substitute flax or pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup raw cocoa nibs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw turbinado sugar ("sugar in the raw") OR substitute regular granulated white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste if you prefer)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, 1 1/2 cups almonds, chia seeds, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, turbinado sugar, honey, olive oil, and salt. Stir until completely combined and all pieces are coated with the honey and oil. (I just toss everything in my Kitchen Aid mixer and let the machine stir it up.)
Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, or until completely toasted and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Add the remaining 1/4 cup almonds and the chocolate chunks and stir to distribute (I like the contrast of the toasted and raw almonds, but if you prefer all toasted, you can just add them at the beginning).
Serve room temperature with milk or yogurt, or as a snack. Store in an air-tight container in a cool spot or in the refrigerator.