Crispy Quinoa Granola

In Breakfast & Brunch/ Snack

Crispy Quinoa Granola

Just a few days and I’ll be on a plane headed across the world to Cambodia and Laos for 30 very long (and lonely) hours of travel time on my own. How to eat when travelling is in the top of my mind, and I’ve been pondering snacks that can satisfy. Luckily, a perfect idea is just in front of my nose: this quinoa granola we made this weekend.

We had a blast this weeken visiting the market, tinkering around in the kitchen, and coming up with ideas for Healthy + Whole and other projects with our friend Erin of the blog Naturally Ella (which you must check out if you haven’t visited). Every time we’re together, we’re reminded of how similar our styles and approaches are to food and eating — embracing the good, enjoying the not-as-good in moderation, no rules, no diets — just fun in the kitchen!

Crispy Quinoa Granola

This recipe was born of Alex’s idea of a crunchy garnish for a soup (coming soon) and Erin’s quick web searching skills. The interesting part is that instead of oats, this recipe uses uncooked quinoa! We were all a bit wary of eating the quinoa raw, but being a seed and not a grain, it turned out perfect — delightfully crunchy, sweet, and packed with nutritional punch. It was quite filling, more so than a traditional granola, and a great protein-filled (and gluten-free) treat.

Since this recipe is easy to put together and a great way to start to explore healthy snacking, we’ve tagged it Healthy + Whole to go along with that project. (Just don’t eat the whole jar!) Throw it on yogurt, eat it with milk, or just dry as a quick snack on the run.

PS We received this quinoa as a gift from Fair Trade USA in honor of the United Nations Declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. There’s currently quite a bit of talk out there about ethical growing of quinoa. To us, it’s important to know that growers treat farmers, communities and the land with respect and ensure sustainable growing and business practices, so we were glad to hear that the company, Alter Eco, is committed to doing so!

Crispy Quinoa Granola


Crispy Quinoa Granola

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dried golden raisins (or other dried fruit)
  • *Note: This recipe can easily be doubled and fit on one baking sheet.


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Chop 1/2 cup almonds. In a medium bowl, combine chopped almonds, 3/4 cup quinoa, 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 cup honey to thoroughly combine. Spread onto a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring a few times during baking. Remove from the oven and add 1/2 cup golden raisins (or other dried fruit) and let cool 15 minutes. Break any large chunks into small pieces and store in an airtight container.


Adapted from From the Little Yellow Kitchen This recipe is easy to adapt — you can use any types of nuts, seeds, or dried fruit you have onhand.



  • Reply
    March 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I love this! What a great, gluten-free alternative for breakfast or snacks! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    March 10, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    This sounds like such a great recipe to wake up to, and perfect for your Healthy and Whole project!

  • Reply
    anna maria
    March 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    i love this idea and can’t wait to try it! I make granola pretty much every other week and am always splurging on special gluten-free oats – now I can switch it up with quinoa :) thanks for the great recipe!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    WHOA! This looks amazing, I have never thought of using quinoa in this way before, definitely gonna try this out – Thanks :)

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 12:37 am

    This looks delicious, and such FAB ingredients! I had also never thought to use quinoa whole. I just bought the tri-color, so I’m definitely going to give this a shot!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 1:16 am

    This looks absolutely delicious!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Is the quinoa not bitter? Every time I used uncooked quinoa, the saponin makes it taste bitter. Oooh – I bet you could probably just rinse the quinoa first, then finish the recipe. Hmm…I think I’ll try it. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2013 at 8:22 am

      Hmm, I didn’t find it bitter, but maybe it’s just me! I would definitely think you could rinse it before making. Let us know if you try it out and how it works out! :)

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Mmmm, they serve something really similar to this at every hostel in Peru. I couldn’t get enough! The quinoa was a little more “puffed” but such a great texture and flavor. It’s usually stirred into some yogurt (not a thick Greek-style yogurt) with honey and any dried fruit you like.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Using quinoa in a granola sounds like a perfect idea–I love the idea of a mouthful of different kinds of crunch! :)

  • Reply
    March 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    How exciting! I do love finding new uses for quinoa.

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    March 12, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Hopping over from Erin’s blog — love this recipe! Quinoa is a staple in our household. So happy to see the versatility of this grain :)

  • Reply
    Meghan {For the Love of Dessert}
    March 12, 2013 at 11:09 am

    In.ter.esting! I like this idea. A lot! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Reply
    March 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I made this tonight and it rocks! I had no idea that quinoa was so good as granola!

    • Reply
      March 14, 2013 at 8:16 am

      I know – we didn’t realize it could be used in granola either! We were excited to find a new use. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    this is SO good! I made my own version with other dried fruit and nuts, and LOVE how it turned out! thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      March 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed it. We can’t wait to make it again either!

  • Reply
    Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    March 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I love that the quinoa is such an unexpected addition!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    So glad you liked this!! It’s definitely something I plan to keep around for snackin’. I was also scared about the raw quinoa thing but I sure didn’t care once it was in my belly :)

    • Reply
      March 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you so much for the recipe and inspiration! I had been meaning to thank you personally for the lovely recipe. We loved this and can’t wait to make it again!

  • Reply
    Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa
    March 22, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Stunning photos and what a delightful recipe. I love adding quinoa to granola. It’s brings a nice crunch, but also great flavor and makes the dish even more nutritious. Your ingredients are simple, which I think makes the perfect granola. Can’t wait to give this a try!

    I would love for you to share this recipe on this week’s Thank Goodness It’s Quinoa, the bi-weekly link party that celebrates all things quinoa. I know our readers will fall in love with this recipe just as I have!

    Happy Friday!


    • Reply
      March 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      Thanks, Alyssa! We were excited to find a new use for quinoa. Thanks for your passion for this ingredient!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Delicious! I doubled the recipe and substituted dried mango and pecans, replaced the olive oil with coconut oil, then added a little dried unsweetened coconut to the final product.

    • Reply
      April 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      Sounds perfect! Love these substitutions.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I have a cereal type quinoa that looks like rolled oats. Wil that work just the same?

    • Reply
      May 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      I would think so — just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Can’t wait to try it ! Quinoa has recently become a staple at my house & I’ve been wanting to find some new ways to use it , thanks !

  • Reply
    June 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I just made this yesterday and it turned out great! So crunchy and delicious and the combination of sweet and slightly salty is perfect in my opinion. I doubled the recipe and used dried apricots and about a tablespoon of chopped candied ginger rather than the golden raisins. The only change I might make next time is to bake it in a smaller walled baking dish because I found that it spread out quite a bit in the oven and the thin edges burned slightly, even with pretty frequent stirring. Then, I think I’ll just spread it on a baking dish afterwards to cool! Thanks so much for sharing this great recipe!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I seem to always have a hard time getting my quinoa granola to be crunchy? I used coconut oil, maple syrup and coconut sugar for sweetener. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      September 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Hmmm, I’m not quite sure! Maybe check your oven temperature, and try baking a little longer? We have only tried it with the quantities in the recipe of honey and olive oil, and it worked great. Let us know if you’re able to get it to work with the sweetener/oil that you used!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    This was so good! I used maple syrup instead of honey, chopped pecans instead of pumpkin, and cashews instead of almonds and it turned out great.

  • Reply
    Lorrie Patterson
    January 10, 2014 at 5:40 am

    This is excellent. I’ve now made several batches , giving away some as small gifts and everyone I’ve given it to has asked for the recipe. I tweaked it a tiny bit, adding flax seed and omitting the pumpkin seeds. Fantastic breakfast with my homemade plain yogurt.

    • Reply
      January 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Glad you are enjoying the recipe! Reminds me that I need to make it again :)

  • Reply
    Purely Elizabeth
    October 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Love the idea of only using quinoa instead of oatmeal. Also pumpkin seeds are a great addition, packed full of great vitamins!

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