When I lived in Dearborn a couple of years ago I totally and completely fell in love with Middle Eastern food. There is no better place to have this happen, besides the actual Middle East that is. Because of this, I have lots of those Middle Eastern spices in my cupboard, I find myself drawn to various Middle Eastern cookbooks anytime I'm at the bookstore, and I crave some good shawarma, hummus, falafel and homemade pita more than I would like to admit. It is just all so good.
One of the things I also know have in my fridge at all times is tahini. I first bought it to make hummus. I love my hummus full of lemon and tahini so I really have to have it on hand. Through the last few years though I've started using tahini in various other applications; sauce and dips, salad dressings, drizzled over roasted vegetables, on top of toast with a little honey, in my smoothies for a hint of nuttiness, you get the picture. I love creaminess it adds to everything, along with that nutty flavor.
So the other day when I was almost out of granola I got to thinking about making a tahini granola. There are many recipes out there for peanut butter granola, so why not try tahini instead? I added honey for a little sweetness and cinnamon, allspice and cardamom for flavor. A little orange zest at the end adds a nice kick of brightness and almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds joined the oats for extra crunch and flavor. In the end it turned out a delicious batch of granola with all of these delicious flavors melded together to form a wonderfully balanced granola, one that I highly recommend trying.
I don't love my granola to be overly sweet since I like to eat it for breakfast and not dessert. So I only added a couple tablespoons of honey, but if you like your granola a little sweeter I would add a little more. You might need to watch it a little closer to make sure it doesn't overcook with the extra sugar, but otherwise I think it should be fine. The flavor of the tahini is fairly mild. A nice nuttiness comes through, but if you are not sure about how much you like tahini I wouldn't worry, it's not overpowering. If fact you could add a little more if you want the flavor to come through a little more (I might do that next time!).
I used almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds for my add-ins, but you could add whatever you want, any different nut or seed would work. I think pistachios or sesame seeds would also be nice! And if you like dried fruit in your granola go for it, just mix it in after the granola is baked and cooled. You can do whatever you like really to truly make this granola your own.
Tahini Honey Granola
- 2 1/2 cups (200 grams) old fashioned oats
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 ounce almonds, chopped
- 1/2 ounce pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 ounce sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) tahini
- 2 tablespoons (35 grams) honey, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
- Water, as needed
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the oats in a large bowl. Add the salt, cinnamon, cardamom, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Mix to combine.
Combine the tahini and honey in a small bowl. Warm the mixture in the microwave for a few seconds, just to help it become a little less viscous, and easier to mix in.
Add the tahini/honey mixture to the oat mixture along with the orange zest. Stir to combine everything very well, adding water a teaspoon or two at a time if needed to help bring it all together.
Spread the mixture on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 1 hour, stirring the mixture halfway through. Watch the granola closely towards the end of baking to ensure that it does not overcook. Bake until it is completely dried through. Let cool on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container.