A Thai-Spiced Granola That'll Save the Sparsest of Greens or Roasted Vegetables

October 20, 2016

I guess it’s customary to eat granola with or on something: with yogurt, on top of fresh fruit, that sort of thing. Truthfully, though, I’ve always eaten granola by the handful, clump by clump, as a snack. I usually make it with every intention of creating a proper parfait, but in the end find myself picking clusters off the center of the just-barely-cool baking sheet.

Savory granola may have changed my granola grazing ways. To be clear, it's a very good snack. But I’ve also come to love this granola as a crunchy topper for roasted vegetables, grain bowls, and salads. Think croutons, but so much nuttier, more flavorful, and more wholesome.

The first batch of savory granola I made featured turmeric, curry, and cinnamon. To the next batch I added fresh herbs (now I prefer to use dry ones). The version I’m sharing today is Thai-inspired, a mixture of almond, tamari, red curry paste, almond butter, and Sriracha. It is a little hot, a little sweet, and so tasty.

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In spite of the fact this granola is meant to be savory, I always add a touch of maple syrup or agave for a hint of sweetness. If you love sweet/savory combinations, you can add more than a tablespoon or two (up to four tablespoons still creates granola that's more savory than sweet).

Because savory granola is itself a little complex, you can rely on it to add life and variety to an otherwise simple dish. Typically I have to add a bunch of ingredients to a salad to make it as textured as I want it to be. Savory granola, though, is enough to dress up the sparsest plate of greens and vinaigrette—and if you have some roasted chickpeas to throw in, all the better. It’s also an incredible topping for roasted root vegetables; I’ve been doubling batches to top roasted carrots and beets.

Savory granola finds a happy home on roasted vegetables and greens. Photo by James Ransom

The Thai variety is my favorite right now, but if you’re looking for options, here are a few to try:

  • Golden curry variation: Omit the red curry paste and Sriracha. Add 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, a pinch of black pepper, and a pinch of garam masala, to the dry ingredients.

  • Savory herb variation: Omit the red curry paste and Sriracha. Add 2 teaspoons herbes de provence (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1 teaspoon dried thyme) and a pinch of black pepper to the dry ingredients.

  • Cheesy herb variation: Make the savory herb variation, but add 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast to the dry ingredients.

Of course, once you have a mixture of ingredients you like—a granola formula, if you will—you can start finding new flavor combinations. I’m keen on trying something with lots of lemon zest in the spring, then piling it on top of steamed greens or asparagus.

Gena Hamshaw is a vegan chef and nutritionist—and the author of our Vegan cookbook! You can read more of her writing here.

What would you put savory granola on? Tell us in the comments below!

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Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.