Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Change is Good: Yogurt with Olive Oil Granola, Candied Ginger, and Pomegranate Seeds

Change is good, right? I usually whole heartedly subscribe to this mantra, except on some occasions… such as breakfast.

I’ve eaten the same meal for breakfast for years now. Monday through Friday, I eat the same high fiber cereal with fresh or dried fruit, depending on the season. On Saturday and Sunday, I indulge in a bowl of yogurt, granola, and fruit. Real adventurous, huh?

While I would quickly tire of such monotony and repetition at any other meal, for some reason, the constancy of the same breakfast day in and day out is a comfort to me. I’m sure the fact that I’m not a morning person and am essentially on auto-pilot until around 10 a.m. aids and abets my reliance on routine. I just don’t have the brain fuel to mix it up in the mornings. So let me tell you, changing granola recipes is a big deal for me.

It occurred to me earlier this year that there might be another granola recipe out there that I might like and that perhaps I should put away the old recipe that I’ve been making for far too long now. (I’ve committed the recipe to memory so the reference to “putting it away” is really just a figure of speech.) So I started searching for a new recipe without much success.

Thinking I might opt for a healthier version, I tried a low sugar granola recipe that seems to be wildly popular (and is from a favorite bakery of mine) but it tasted like bird seed to me. I couldn’t choke it down, no matter how much I doused it in honey (which kind of defeated the whole low-sugar thing). I then tried tweaking my heretofore favorite granola recipe to see if I could breathe some new life into it. I just didn’t like any of the new combinations I tried as much as I liked the original recipe. After that, I pretty much gave up and resigned myself, admittedly somewhat happily, to eating my old tried and true granola.

But then…

When reading through In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, I came upon Melissa’s recipe for granola. I barely skimmed it and was about to turn the page when I saw it contained coconut. That piqued my interest. I went back and read the story that introduces the recipe wherein she describes the granola as sweet and salty and explains that the recipe uses olive oil instead of a neutral tasting oil. That got me even more interested. Her recipe definitely seemed worthy of a taste test.

A few weeks later, when I saw my granola supply was dwindling, I went to the store and picked up provisions to make Melissa’s recipe. As soon as I returned from the store I got to work. After mixing up the ingredients and waiting for the granola to bake, I couldn’t stand it any longer and took a taste as soon as I pulled it from the oven. Of course, I burned my tongue. But it was so worth it.

This is officially my new favorite granola! (For the next three years or so until I’m so sick of it I’m tempted to change again.)
Yogurt with Olive Oil Granola, Candied Ginger, and Pomegranate Seeds
adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

I used Melissa’s recipe as a base but tweaked it a bit. Her recipe calls for pumpkin seeds, which I like fine otherwise but not for breakfast so I omitted them. She specified maple syrup but to me, maple syrup is for pancakes, not granola, so I used honey. Also, I really like coconut so I increased the quantity and cut back a little on the pistachios. Melissa’s recipe called for ½ teaspoon of ginger but I upped the ante and used candied ginger instead. And thanks to Lee for her post on pomegranate seeds – I love pomegranate but had never thought to eat the seeds with yogurt and granola. It’s divine!
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c raw pistachios, hulled
1 ½ c coconut chips
2/3 c honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup candied ginger, roughly chopped
Plain yogurt, preferably with the cream on top
Pomegranate seeds

1. Preheat oven to 300℉. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, coconut chips, honey, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture on a parchment or silpat lined, rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted. Allow to cool and break into pieces.
2. Transfer the granola to a large bowl and add the candied ginger. Toss to combine. Serve with yogurt and pomegranate seeds.

Yield: About 9 cups.


  1. Olive oil?!? Who knew? Yet another fabulous Franish Nonspeaker recipe to bookmark...

  2. I know- news to me too! OO works really well, though. I'd highly reccommend it.

  3. This is my favorite granola too!! When the recipe ran in the NYT, it was called crack granola, or that's what she called it in the story about it. Love the coconut and the olive oil and salt. I change it up every time I make it with different nuts and dried fruit. Next time, I'm adding pomegranate seeds with the yogurt!

  4. Agreed. Change is good. However, I'm the same way about breakfast. There is something about rituals and comfort when you're half awake in the morning.

    If I WERE to change, this would be it. Looks wonderful!

  5. @Lisa- Crack granola is an apt name. I'm definitely addicted!

    @Red- So glad to hear that others aren't early birds either. And I like the term ritual instead of routine- makes it seem less boring :-)