There’s no money in tv. None.
Okay maybe there is some, but when I signed my first contract to be a tv news reporter I can certainly tell you that all of the big flashy tv money was not coming to me.
I quickly realized that my small town rent would eat up more than half of my take home pay and no clothing allowance meant the other dribs and drabs of my checks would go towards “tv clothes.” A blazer in every color, please!
So I tried to become an extreme couponer, because I did not want to eat Ramen in my expensive rental while wearing the blazers. I have no patience for clipping coupons and didn’t subscribe to a million newspapers, so my “couponing” was limited to checking the store circular online and buying whatever was on sale.
Do you know what is constantly on sale? Chex Mix. Luckily, there are a lot of flavors of Chex Mix.
I don’t know how the math added up but week after week I would toss buy 1 get 1 bags of Chex Mix in my basket. Then dutifully dole out the savory cereal into snack bags for afternoon editing snacks during the week. Shoveling a handful in my mouth as I rushed out the door in the morning was also not an uncommon occurrence.
This is probably not the best breakfast for you but I’m all about that salty crunch first thing in the morning.
Fast forward a few years and I started seeing savory granola pop up on various sites with challenging flavors like rosemary or curry that sound great with a cocktail but not for the first meal of the day. I didn’t want sweet but I still wanted a comforting flavor, something I already knew. Something I bought by the pair on an almost weekly basis for the better part of a year.
This granola doesn’t scream party mix but the salty Worcestershire, sharp Dijon and slightly sweet maple syrup laced dressing would not be bad if you baked it onto cereal squares and pretzel nubs instead of these more wholesome ingredients. I am really telling myself this is health food with the popped quinoa tossed with the oats. Hat tip to Martha Rose Shulman from the NYTimes for enlightening me about quinoa in granola.
Since I was on this health kick from the quinoa I impulse bought nutritional yeast to make this granola saintly. I try not to leave the house on Saturday mornings, except for quick farmer’s market run down the street, because that is when the Food Network has their best programming. One Saturday morning I saw Trisha Yearwood make a black bean lasagna with a ricotta made from tofu and nutritional yeast. She said the nutritional yeast made the tofu cheesy. So I got some from the bulk bin section of Whole Foods and dumped into in the granola.
This mix bakes up just like any sweetened granola but probably wouldn’t be very tasty on the fruit yogurt that I usually pair granola with. I think tzatziki sauce should be served with everything so a pseudo deconstructed tzatziki yogurt bowl is not a bad breakfast. To make the bowl, I mix half a cup of plain Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of kosher salt. I top that with some chopped cucumber. I like hothouse cucumbers because the seeds annoy me less but if you only have regular cucumbers then remove the seeds. Because it is breakfast and you should have fruit, dried apricots bring a little sweetness. Then a handful of granola and you are ready to start the day.
This savory granola is also a great sub for croutons on a salad and will add texture to any New Year’s Resolution plate of lettuce that you’re dying to quit.
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 1/2 cup whole unsalted raw almonds
- 1 1/2 cup of oats (I used quick oats but steel-cut would probably give the granola the best texture)
- 1/3 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbs dijon mustard
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 egg white
- Preheat a small saute pan over medium high heat and toast the quinoa for 5-7 minutes. Stir every minute or so to make sure the quinoa cooks evenly. You want to cook the quinoa until you can hear the seeds start to pop and the pan smells like freshly popped popcorn. Once the quinoa is fragrant remove the pan from the heat.
- Roughly chop almonds.
- Combine quinoa, chopped almonds, oats, pumpkin seeds and nutritional yeast in a large bowl
- In a separate bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, maple syrup, pepper, paprika, and salt.
- Stir the dressing into the dry ingredients until the oat mixture is completely coated.
- Add one egg white to the bowl and stir again.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Spread the granola on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook the granola for 40 minutes.
- At the 20 minute mark rotate the pan and gently flip the granola with a wide spatula to ensure even browning.
- Let granola fully cool before breaking it up and storing or else it will lose its crispness.
- I made this with one egg white to help get big clumps of granola but would possibly use two next time because the quinoa is so small and didn't stick to the oats as well as I would have liked.