Olive Oil Granola with Black Sesame Seeds, Cardamom and Black Pepper (Keto, Low-Carb)

I love, love cardamom and cannot find enough uses for it. I use it in my nut butters, my fat bombs, my meat stews, my lamb patties, my homemade white chocolate and my bulletproof coffee, just to name a few.

And I’m sure that most of the great chefs would agree that cardamom is one of the most versatile spices around. The wonderful ways in which to use cardamom span from baking (or adding it to raw cookie dough!) to stewing to making exotic marinades and, if you’re at all familiar with Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, you’ll know that it goes beautifully both with sweet and savory dishes.

Cardamom is also one of the most expensive spices by weight in the world (only a few others, such as saffron and vanilla, are more expensive) and it comes with an impressive list of health benefits – it’s great for digestion, has anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, it improves blood circulation and is an aphrodisiac as well as an anti-depressant.

So, when I decided I wanted to make a semi-sweet granola that was earthy, spicy and intensely-aromatic, I knew immediately that cardamom would be the star of it. While the olive oil, black sesame seeds and black pepper, all bring tons of flavor and complexity, they really work to complement the cardamom rather than the other way around.

I’ve made this granola several times now, using different ratios and combinations of nuts and seeds. While my favorite has been the one I share below, exactly as is (using the chia seeds and almonds rather than pistachios), I’ve honestly loved them all. So if you don’t have the exact ingredients, feel free to be creative!

If you are not strictly low-carb and can do dried apricots, I also strongly recommend adding those to the mix (1/3-1/2 cups chopped). I personally don’t do great with fruit but they really do elevate the granola to a whole other level. Or you could mix the granola with freeze-dried berries, or sugar-free chocolate chips after it’s cooled off!

I’ve enjoyed the granola with homemade hemp milk, chopped 100% dark chocolate, coconut yogurt, and chia pudding, but my favorite combo has honestly been the one pictured below.

For this, I just mixed labneh with spirulina powder (no sweetener) and topped off with the granola and a glug of Kasandrinos olive oil. Creamy, earthy, salty and juuuuuust sweet enough!

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YIELD

about 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut chips
  • 2/3 cup chopped raw almonds (or almond slices) or pistachios (chop each nut into 3-4 pieces)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup powdered monkfruit sweetener or erythritol
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 3 tbsp egg white powder (this will help make the granola more “clumpy”, but if you don’t have any in your pantry, you can replace it with 3 additional tbsp almond flour)
  • 2 tbsp monkfruit maple-flavored syrup (or sugar-free maple syrup)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper (if you have an “adventurous” tongue I recommend upping this to 1/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss all ingredients into a large bowl and stir well to combine. Make sure there are no lumps from the powdered sweetener and the smaller seeds are distributed evenly (they tend to sink to the bottom of the bowl).
  3. Spread mixture evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring once halfway through, until golden-brown and crisp, about 20-25 minutes. Note that the granola can burn REALLY easily, so you want to keep an eye on it to make sure that doesn’t happen! Also, don’t skip the tossing as it will likely cook unevenly if you do.
  4. Let cool completely and transfer to a large mason jar or other airtight container.
  5. The granola can be stored on the counter for up to one week.

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