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Cue the parchment paper. We’re going granola-ing.
If there’s one snack I can’t get enough of, it’s homemade granola. From bold cinnamon dashes to musky vanilla splashes and unnecessarily large globs of sticky peanut butter, the decadent flavor combinations are unlimited.
Packaged varieties have lined our grocery store shelves for years, and you could spend hours gazing at the countless brands and their novel jumbles of ingredients. But have you ever spotted a savory version of this crunchy treat at the market?
I certainly haven’t, so I took it upon myself to navigate through the salty world of oats and nuts, as a pioneer paving the way for future chefs.
Just kidding. I’m not responsible for this trend. It was probably that cartoon rat from the Disney movie. I do, however, take full responsibility for keeping flannel shirts tied around the waist in style still to this day.
It’s surprising that savory granola isn’t more readily available since the movement began on the restaurant scene somewhere around 2014. I suppose I’m a little late to the game, as I just joined this cluster crusade.
Without a second thought, I knew my first traveling companion would be sumac.
The vibrant fruit clusters (dried and ground) are used in Middle Eastern cuisine to add color and flavor. They bring a tart, citrusy pop that is unparalleled. Sumac berries are also touted as an excellent herbal remedy used to treat a variety of ailments.
Yumminess and a potential cure for a lingering cough? Sign me up.
I had a hard time not chomping on this savory treat straight from the container, much like my maple-spiced nuts, but adding it to my snack-packs and sprinkling it over salads, soups, and dips turned out to be ideas that were just as wonderful.
Along with the sumac, I keep things savory with a dash of fiery crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and aromatic herbes de Provence – a classic Provençal medley of seasonings that typically includes things like thyme, rosemary, fennel, and lavender.
There are many variations of this blend available, and they all ultimately provide the same result: a fragrant, piney addition to whatever you’re making. Get your own jar of this savory, salt-free blend to add to your spice cabinet from Stonewall Kitchen.
Herbes de Provence Spice Jar, Available from Stonewall Kitchen
Just as you would add a touch of salt to balance a sweet dish, a few drops of something sugary here rounds everything out. You can use agave, honey, or another sweetener of your choice, but I reach for pure maple syrup since I dig the way the subtle woody flavor plays off of the earthy poppy and sunflower seeds.
An egg white aids in the binding process so you can achieve those clumpy clusters all granola nerds go nuts for (pun intended), but the real secret is in the stirring. Most granola recipes call for you to give everything a toss about halfway through the baking time, but it’s not just to move everything around.
That toasty aroma you smell around the fifteen-minute mark is the outside of your granola rectangle beginning to make its way toward golden-brown territory. Delicately shifting those pieces to the center while simultaneously bringing the middlemen to the edges of the pan offers everyone a chance to have just as much fun.
Go ahead. You deserve some fun.Print
Shake up your standard granola with a savory mix of oats, nuts, and a fragrant herbes de Provence blend featuring thyme and rosemary.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 large egg white, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried sumac
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or coat with nonstick cooking oil spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, and egg white. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, sumac, red pepper flakes, and herbes de Provence.
- Gently fold the olive oil mixture into the oat mixture. Spread it onto the baking sheet, evenly flattening the mixture with the back of a spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and very fragrant, stirring once halfway through.
- Cool completely in the pan, and then break it up with your fingers, leaving some bigger clusters for more texture. Store in an airtight container at room temperature on the counter for up to 2 weeks.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Granola
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Snacks
Keywords: granola, savory, oats, herbes de Provence, sumac
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Baking Pans and Combine the Wet Ingredients
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, and egg white.
Step 2 – Combine the Dry Ingredients
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, sumac, red pepper flakes, and herbes de Provence.
Rubbing the dried herbs between your palms before using them helps to bring out their flavor.
Step 3 – Mix the Wet Ingredients into the Dry
Gently fold the olive oil mixture into the oat mixture, and then spread it onto the baking sheet, dividing it evenly and flattening the top of the mixture with the back of a spatula.
If you find that the oats are sticking to your spatula, it helps to spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 4 – Bake
Bake, stirring once halfway through, until golden brown and very fragrant. This will take about 25 to 30 minutes.
Make sure you move the exterior pieces to the middle when you stir, as they’ll be the first to attain a deeper color.
Remove from the oven. Cool completely in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then store in an airtight container at room temperature on the counter for up to 2 weeks.
My Cluster Crusade
The journey that led my brain (and stomach) from sweet to savory granola doesn’t have to be identical to yours.
If you’re feeling Italian food and a caprese salad sounds just right, for example, you could infuse your oats with hints of ground garlic, dried basil, onion, and fennel seed, and land them directly atop some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes.
Keeping an eye on your granola as it transforms into a golden masterpiece is a crucial part of the cooking process. Oats can go from toasted to burnt in a matter of minutes, so use both your nose and your eyes as guides in addition to the timer.
A creamy goat cheese and sweet mandarin orange salad with lemony greens is an excellent base for these savory clusters, and you can get the full recipe for those glorious greens here.
If my crispy, savory mixture didn’t convince you of how easy it is to concoct homemade granola, these undeniably delicious recipes certainly will:
Olive oil adds a delicate fruity note, but you can also use vegetable or sunflower seed oil for an even milder flavor.
What type of oil do you opt for when making granola? Share your favorite combos in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”