I always have a jar of tahini in the cupboard, ready to come to the rescue during sudden hummus cravings, or to be used for savoury dipping sauces and salad dressings. But did you know that the stuff is as versatile as any nut or seed butter and is equally delicious when used to make sweet treats? Last weekend, when I wanted to treat the girls to homemade almond butter granola for breakfast, I decided to replace the almond butter with tahini – and the resulting tahini granola turned out to be my favourite granola to date!
Making your own granola is a fun and easy way to treat yourself to a healthy breakfast or mid-day snack, using all and only those ingredients and flavours you like best. For this tahini granola I chose middle eastern-inspired ingredients like pistachios, rose petals, cardamom, cinnamon and sesame seeds, for a fragrant and festive treat. The verdict of my youngest at first bite was as flattering as it was spontaneous: that this must be the best thing I ever made.
You can make granola with delicious results using rolled oats only. But as different grains and seeds add different nutrients and flavours, I like to combine lots of them. In this one I used oats, spelt flakes, quinoa flakes and buckwheat groats. Quinoa and buckwheat both provide the full amino acid spectrum for creating protein, with the quinoa flakes adding a deep nutty flavour and the buckwheat groats turning lovely crisp and puffy when baked. The mixture of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds adds extra protein, healthy fats and delicious flavour. When tossed with tahini and maple syrup and baked for half an hour, the dry ingredients turn into golden and beautifully big clusters of yumminess – not too sweet, yet highly addictive.
The key to getting these big granola clusters is simply to neglect them a bit during and after baking. Resist the urge to stir them too much – one time is enough to prevent the edges from burning – and leave them alone after baking until completely cooled. This will make them crisp up in big lumps that can be broken to smaller pieces afterwards, if you like.
I’ll have to warn you: you may want to munch on these goodies all day long. My personal solution for that is storing them in a big glass jar with a lid that’s just that bit too tight for me to open it effortlessly – and preferably in a place I can just about reach. This way I can make a batch last a good two days….
Since the festive season is approaching, though, there is another option: when stored in little jars, with labels and spoons attached, this tahini granola makes a lovely gift. So right now I feel well ahead of the game, and my family members already know one of the gifts they may expect from me this Christmas….
Tahini granola with pistachios and rose petals – makes about 500 g
- 100 g rolled oats
- 50 g rolled spelt flakes
- 50 g quinoa flakes
- 50 g green, untoasted buckwheat groats
- 50 g pistachios (shelled weight)
- 50 g pumpkin seeds
- 25 g sunflower seeds
- 25 g linseeds
- 25 g sesame seeds
- 100 g tahini
- 120 ml maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground cardamom
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp. dried rose petals
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
In a large bowl, combine the grains, nuts and seeds.
In a smaller bowl, mix the tahini with the maple syrup, rapeseed oil, vanilla extract and spices and stir to a smooth paste.
Add the tahini mixture to the grains and fold to coat, then spread the grains in a single layer on a lined baking sheet.
Bake the granola for 15 minutes. Then take out of the oven, stir the mixture and spread again, to prevent the edges from burning. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes until golden brown and fragrant. In my oven the granola is ready after this second run, but depending on your oven, it may take a an additional round of stirring and baking for another 5-10 minutes.
When the granola is done, take the baking sheet out of the oven and leave it to cool completely without stirring or touching the granola. This will make it crisp up in large clusters which you can later on break into smaller chunks.
When completely cooled, mix the granola with the dried rose petals.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month for home use, or divide over pretty little jars to hand out as festive presents. Enjoy for breakfast with plantbased yogurt and fresh fruits, or dry and straight from the jar for mid-day munching.