Quinoa & Chia Almond Butter Gluten Free, Vegan Granola {recipe}

On especially busy weeks at work, a 3 p.m. desk snack is crucial to my survival. I 'm always looking for something I can grab and take to a meeting - and, I typically want something sweet by that time of day.

A few weeks ago I tried Ambitious Kitchen's Chia, Quinoa & Banana Granola Bars and they were amazing. I wanted to recreate them this week, but realized I didn't have banana. I thought I'd create my own version of the recipe based on what I had in my kitchen. 
It didn't go so well. I was trying to make granola bars, but without the banana, it was crumbly and the quinoa wouldn't stick together. 

However. When life gives you crumbly granola bars, make granola! The bars turned out to be awesome as granola - with almond milk or just by the handful. I love them because they're packed with nutrients, are energizing, gluten free and vegan (optional). Without telling you how I know this, I can also tell you they're great for bowel movements, especially if you add collagen (totally optional and will not impact flavor or texture). 

Happy eats! Let me know if you try them. 

1 c. gluten free rolled oats
1/2 c. uncooked pre-rinsed quinoa
3 T chia seeds
1/4 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup almond butter
3 T raw honey or pure maple syrup if you want vegan
1/3 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. almond pieces
1/3 c. craisins
3 T. collagen (optional) 
1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional) - I like Enjoy Life's Dairy-Free Mini Chocolate Chips

To make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a large bowl, mix oats, quinoa, chia seeds, salt and cinnamon 

In a small bowl, melt almond butter, coconut oil and honey
Slowly pour melted mixture over dry ingredients while stirring
Add remaining ingredients one by one
After mixing well, pour mixture in 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper

Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cook longer for crumbly granola, less for sticky granola
Allow to complete fully before storing in covered container. Some pieces will be in chunks - break with hands or eat as mini granola bars :)