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Sweet and Spicy Tahini-Maple Granola

slight spicy tahini-maple granola on a wooden spoon

This sweet and spicy tahini-maple granola is a game-changer. Hear me out. I know spice is not what immediately comes to mind when we think of granola, but adding just a touch of red pepper flake to the mix makes this granola both interesting and addicting. The heat is very subtle and doesn’t steal the show — it only complements the other ingredients. The maple syrup and cinnamon help maintain a distinctive “granola” flavor profile, and the tahini further balances out the spice and helps create a smooth and flavorful coating. On top of the rich flavors, this granola is also supremely crunchy! You’ll find almonds and pumpkin seeds in many a granola, but the addition of quinoa here really amps up the crunch flavor. You probably already have a go-to purely sweet granola, but isn’t it time to switch things up a bit?

The fact that this granola straddles the line between sweet and savory makes it incredibly versatile. It’s great with Greek yogurt and a sweet fruit like peaches or apples, but can also be an out-of-hand snack or even used as a crouton replacement over salads. The possibilities are endless. Let me know how you use this granola in the comments below! (For more on my love for sweet and spicy combinations, see my post on ricotta toast two ways, which features a spicy honey and peach combo that is equally amazing.)

sweet and spicy tahini-maple granola in a jar

Ingredients in this sweet and spicy tahini-maple granola

You’ll find many of the usual granola culprits in this recipe, which keeps the flavor profile familiar despite the unexpected spice:

  • Oats, because what is granola without oats?
  • Pumpkin seeds and almonds, for crunch, texture, and protein
  • Quinoa, for more crunch and more protein
  • Maple syrup and cinnamon, so as not to stray too far from the familiar

You’ll also find a few surprising ingredients in this granola, which give it its distinctive (and addicting!) flavor:

  • A pinch of red pepper flake, for just the slightest bit of heat
  • Tahini, which brings together the sweet and spicy really nicely
  • Olive oil, which replaces the need for butter and is undetectable in the final product
  • Egg white, which adds extra crunch when baked

Inspiration for this granola

I can’t take credit for the general idea behind this granola. I first saw a similar version in a Cooking Light special edition on healthier comfort food. A lover of most things sweet and spicy, I dog-eared the recipe and forgot about it for many months. I came back to it recently and made a few changes, subbing tahini for almond butter and pumpkin seeds for pretzel sticks to keep this feeling like a more traditional granola. I think you’ll love the final product!

A couple tips & tricks for the best granola

I know you’re eager to make the recipe — if you haven’t made granola before, here are a couple tips that will help you along the way:

  • Leave some intentional clumps of granola mixture before baking. It can be tempting to smooth the mixture out and break up large clumps, but those add interesting texture and crunch to the final product. Try to strike a balance between splitting up the super large chunks and leaving some others for added interest.
  • Let your granola cool completely before eating or storing. Your granola won’t be perfectly crispy or crunchy until it’s cooled for at least 20 minutes, so for best results let sit before indulging or packing up.
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Sweet and Spicy Tahini-Maple Granola

Sweet and spicy tahini granola is both familiar and surprising. Give it a try over yogurt with peaches or as an out-of-hand snack.

  • Author: A Tavola Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hr to 1.5 hr
  • Total Time: 1 hr 10 minutes to 1 hr 40 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Snack
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Combine oats, almonds, quinoa and pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
4. Add tahini mixture to oat mixture and stir well to coat.
5. Spread mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving a few clumps.
6. Bake for 1 to 1.5 hours until mixture is crisp. Stir every 30 minutes to ensure even browning. (It will not yet be super crunchy — that comes as it cools.)
7. Let cool completely before serving, about 20 minutes.

Notes

  • Be sure to allow the granola to cool completely before serving or storing, as it will harden and become deliciously crunchy as it cools in the open.
  • This granola does not come out super spicy —  you just get the idea of spice almost as an after-taste. But if you are hesitant about the spice level, you could use just 1/4 tsp of red pepper flake.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 236
  • Sugar: 4.2 g
  • Sodium: 101.7
  • Fat: 12.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.7 g
  • Protein: 8.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: granola, sweet, spicy, tahini, maple, healthy

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