Growing up, granola was my #1 culinary weakness (aside from Gushers). When I was a kid, I was all about the Dipps bars - the chewy, high-fructose corn syrup bars dipped in waxy chocolate (one time I locked myself in a closet in the laundry room and ate a whole box of them in like 20 minutes); I could eat bowls upon bowls of granola for breakfast mixed with vanilla yogurt or milk… And God forbid my mother ever forgot to replenish our household supply when she went grocery shopping - there would be Hell to pay.
Strangely though, as I grew up and matured into my palate, my sweet tooth has all but disappeared (relax, I'm not "so lucky", I can still shamelessly consume a whole wheel of brie in one sitting). I thought that granola was one of those things that I had outgrown, until I heard about this crazy new phenomenon: Savory Granola.
Apparently… granola doesn’t have to be sweet. Who knew?! Instead of roasting it with honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup, it can be done with savory spices like cayenne pepper, paprika, pepper, fennel, mustard, rosemary or more. The world is your oyster. This was a REVELATION to me - a total paradigm shift.
I found a recipe in Bon Appetit, but really didn’t want to leave the house to go get groceries, so I adapted it to make with what I had on hand at home. This recipe is seriously a game-changer and I have been enjoying it on salads as a crouton alternative, vegetables (try with tomatoes and burrata), and even on soups for a little texture. If you're averse to the flavor of black licorice though, leave out the fennel seedsl.
The great thing is that you can sub the nuts/seeds in or out for whatever you feel like or whatever you have on hand. Next time, I am going to make it with mustard, thyme and rosemary!
1 cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup raw pistachios, shelled
½ cup halved walnuts
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg white, beaten to blend
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon hemp seeds
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
Preheat oven to 350°.
Toss oats, pistachios, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper with egg white, oil, and honey in a medium bowl.
Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until golden, 25–30 minutes.
Add hemp, chia and flax seeds, and any additional salt and pepper to taste.