Granola topping is a healthier, more nutritious alternative to croutons for salads. I incorporated as many, if not more, flavors as I would for the bread, using lemon thyme, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, Pecorino cheese, Italian parsley, spices and extra-virgin olive oil. After the baked savory granola had cooled to room temperature, I mixed arugula with fresh cherries as an natural sweetener, drizzled a simple lemon vinaigrette and sprinkled the salad with the crunchy savory Pecorino granola topping.
I used boxed granola mix, called Granola Basics. It’s made by our friend Sarah from "Nuts About Granola" (it's their 5th anniversary!). Ever since she sent me my first box, I've wanted to explore and develop a savory version. And if you have the opportunity to purchase this awesome product, you'll see on the back of the box one of my recipes with a photo taken by me!
Servings: 1¼ cups
1 cup "Bake-It-Yourself" Granola Basics box mix (2½ cups)
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1½ tablespoons roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1 large egg white
⅛ teaspoon turmeric
⅛ teaspoon coriander powder
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
¼ cup Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
To enhance the flavors, dry toast the pine nuts over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the granola mix with the pine nuts, sunflower seeds, 3 tablespoons Pecorino cheese, lemon thyme, parsley and salt. Mix well.
In a separate small bowl, combine the egg white, turmeric, coriander, black pepper and oil. Stir well. Add the egg white mixture to the granola mix. Mix until well combined.
Spread the mixed granola onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and top with more Pecorino. Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F. Using a fork, stir and separate the granola and continue baking for an additional 8 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a mixing bowl and store until ready to serve.
You could make variations of the savory granola using different hard cheeses, fried onions, unsweetened coconut and more nuts.