Have you ever watched Chopped on Food Network? My dad and I have watched countless episodes over the years, always betting on who the winner will be. One of my favorite reasons to watch the show is because I always learn simple tips from the judges’ remarks. For example, texture is huge in this competition. If I gave the judges a bowl of creamy oatmeal with creamy nut butter stirred in and some soft berries, I would probably be chopped right then and there. Why? They would tell me my dish lacked contrast. “I’m missing that bit of crunch that comes with nuts or granola,” Alex Guarnaschelli would say. I’ve found myself rarely able to eat a bowl of oatmeal without something crunchy on top because of how this advice has been drilled into my mind.
But this need for texture contrast doesn’t stop with oatmeal. For the same reason, it can be hard for me to eat a simple soup, such as carrot or butternut squash, if there is nothing crunchy on top. Crispy sage, a piece of rustic bread, or some crumbled nuts tend to do the trick. And with salads, I love to top them with nuts and seeds. But after a while, these toppings become repetitive. Also, if I eat nuts with every meal, sooner or later I will probably turn into one.
This is why savory granola has always intrigued me. I’m used to pairing granola only with breakfast foods, like my oatmeal or pancakes. Topping salads and soups with granola sounds like it could work in theory, but would it be an utter failure?
When I was creating this recipe, I knew I didn’t want anything spicy or too dedicated to one type of cuisine, because I wanted this granola to be universal and work on a whole host of dishes. I am pretty dang pleased with the outcome and can’t wait to start adding my Savory Granola to salads and soups.
Have you ever had savory granola? Did you like it more or less than sweet granola?
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds/pepitas (unsalted)
- 1 tablespoon herbs de provence
- ½ teaspoon fine grain salt
- ¼ cup EVOO
- 1 teaspoon honey
First, start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients altogether. Then, add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly until all the oats are coated and the honey is spread throughout.
Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet, making sure it is not piled up, but evenly spread across. Place into the oven for 25 minutes, or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Once done, turn the oven off and keep the mixture in the oven for up to two hours. This allows the granola to solidify in clumps. Once you take the mixture out, break the granola up, and store in an airtight container.
Put on your salad, soup, or savory oatmeal and enjoy!