It’s almost as if spring snuck up on us when we weren’t looking. The cherry and plum trees in my neighbourhood suddenly burst out in glorious pink blossoms. I don’t think we got a proper farewell to winter, but then again, it was an unusual season.
Spring’s arrival means allergy season for me; last week I took two days off… two glorious days ensconced in my home and free of any encounters with tree pollen. Days leading to that I had a series of unfortunate sneezing fits and itchy eyes and throat mishaps, so I broke down and got myself some serious drowse-inducing allergy medication.
I spent those quiet two days between sleep and dazed consciousness, and even managed to make some awesome dried fruit and nut granola with black sesame seed.
There’s a woman in my building, my neighbour from six floors up; every once in a while we meet in the lobby and make small talk. We’ve done this so often that we’ve actually discovered some things we have in common; the This American Life podcast, and the bulk bin section at our local Whole Foods.
She turned me on to black sesame seeds – the exotic sibling of the more common pale variety. Black sesame seeds look edgier and taste slightly nuttier. Rich in iron, manganese, calcium and copper, vitamin B1 and dietary fibre, my neighbour calls it a ‘nutrient powerhouse’.
A while back, she gave me a bag and a recipe for a sweet and nourishing black sesame soup, which I regrettably never made.
I’ve kept a jar around ever since, though for all their greatness, I never do much with them, except maybe throw them in batter for muffins or sprinkle them on a bowl of cereal.
It was the bowl of cereal that gave me the idea to add them to granola. It boosts the nuttiness and adds a warm toasty flavour to the granola when paired with ginger.
The rest of the ingredients in this granola are stuff I had stuck behind other stuff in my pantry, begging to be used. You probably have them in a pantry too; coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, other nuts and dried fruit get tossed together for this tasty wholesome treat.
It’s a breeze to put together and adaptable; I always say granola is one of the more satisfying things to make at home. Plus, it’ll make your home smell great! Feel free to switch things up, use cashew, pecan, pumpkin seed, dried cherries, cranberry or whatever dried fruit or nuts you have on hand and toss in some black sesame seeds for delicious kick.
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
- 1 cup whole almonds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup green raisins (or regular raisins)
- 1 cup dried berries (I used freeze dried strawberries)
- 1 cup toasted coconut chips or ribbons, (large coconut flakes)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine oats, coconut flakes, almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds in a large bowl
- Add ginger, cardamom and salt and mix well to combine
- In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil over low heat, stir in maple syrup and bring to a gentle boil
- Take off heat and whisk in vanilla extract, then pour over oat mixture and mix well to coat
- Spread the mixture in an even thin layer on the prepared baking sheet
- Bake for 15 – 20 minutes stirring occasionally until oats are golden brown
- Remove from oven; add raisins, dried fruit and coconut chips and mix
- Cool completely before serving
- It’ll keep in an airtight container for up to a month