I was thinking about granola today - all of the options of nuts and grains and spices - and the binders, too. And then I got to thinking: What about savoury granola? Maybe with toasted pine nuts and scattered on top of a salad? Or pecans and added to a bowl of squash soup? Aren't the possibilities endless? Maybe add a bit of chili powder and add to a bowl of chili? Maybe chili powder and some dried tropical fruits?
The only stumper I can come up with is what to use as a binder for the mixture: I don't want something sweet (syrup, honey, etc.) and was wondering if a beaten egg white (like you'd use when making spiced or sugared nuts) might work?
I was also contemplating fresh herbs: maybe minced rosemary added to the pine nuts? Or sage leaves with walnuts? One would have to be careful about the herbs burning though, I'd think.
Has anyone done this and do you have any pointers? What mixtures might be good?
I'm all about this, along with savory hot oats. Yes, the possibilities are endless. In fact, due to my salt tooth, I make savory granola bars, often with a multi-grain base and shredded carrot, beet or zucchini.
You definitely don't Need egg white, as granola does not really need much more than a bit of liquid and meal/flour to do the trick. So, your liquidy stuff could be: oil, nut and seed butters, a touch of sweetener, flax seeds blended with water ("flax eggs"), juices (carrot, tomato, aloe, prune, and apple have made their way into my snacks), mashed banana or veggies (pumpkin, squash, peas, roasted eggplant bellies), condiments and sauces (like Worcestershire sauce, bbq sauce, fish sauce, harissa paste, mustard, miso, tomato paste), vinegar, pre-mixed marinades and dressings, and stocks. Even beer and pickle brine works!
My first version was a heavily spiced and curried granola, tossing in chili, coconut, mustard seeds, black sesame seeds, cashews and toasted nori, with just a small amount of shallot and sesame oil. Now, my granola is graced by such lovely additions as ground dried porcini, dehydrated capers, black olives, cheese/nutritional yeast, freeze-dried vegetables, chickpea flour, wasabi powder, grated onion, garlic, steadily-going-stale puffed rice cereal, toasted chickpeas and beans, oats soaked in bay-leaf infused homemade nut milk, grated corn, spinach, tempeh, black gram lentils (udad dhal), nigella seeds, fennel seeds, saffron, sago, and puffed lotus seeds.
Hey...not sure if this is quite what you waould call granola, but an idea nonetheless. We have a standard savoury snack called chevdo, which consists of a whole bunch of things deep fried and then seasoned with spices.
A healthier version that my mother and her sisters have started is called cereal chevdo - toasted puffed rice, various cereals, roasted nuts are mixed in with some deep fried stuff ( potato sticks, curry leaves, green chilli pieces and coriander), plus split chick peas. These are seasoned with indian red chilli powder, a bit of sugar, salt, citric acid powder, some turmeric and popped mustard and cumin seeds.
Not that healthy but a perfect snack to go with a glass of cold wine
My first thought was egg white too, and I can't think of anything else savory with the same ability to bind. I think I would stir in fresh herbs about halfway through the toasting time so they could dry and flavor at the same time with less chance of burning. Also, I usually replace half the oil called for in my sweet granola with a nut oil like walnut, sesame, roasted pumpkin seed, depending on the nut and fruit mix-ins I'm using that day. Bet you could do the same with savory but have even more options like a little chili oil, or garlic oil. Or maybe you could make an herb oil and use that so you didn't have to worry about burning the herbs. I'm kinda intrigued. I think I'll play with a small batch. Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh, I'd not thought about an herb-infused oil - that's brilliant!
Hmmm ... I wonder about stirring in some Sriracha - just a tad bit - and using as a topping for an Asian-inspired salad or slaw.
Going back to the binders for a minute, I was thinking about a sweet/spicy or sweet/savoury possibility, such as maple and cayenne, honey and garlic ... Or maybe some crystallized ginger?
What about a "from scratch" dry ranch dressing, mixed with oil and egg white? A riff on croutons of a sort.