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Granola is About to Become Your Go-To Seasoning

 Oatmeal does not belong only in your breakfast! Although there are many healthy recipes with oatmeal, including the classic granola and muesli bowl, it is an exceptionally varied ingredient. In the tips and recipes below, we mostly cover granola but feel free to use rolled oats instead.
Before we start, let's get any confusion out of the way: the difference between oatmeal and granola is that oatmeal is an ingredient in granola! Oatmeal is the dried kernels of the oat plant. Once you mix them with a little oil and honey, it becomes granola, to which you can add chopped dried fruits, dark chocolate bits, and many more ingredients. Now let's see 4 tasty and alternative ways to use granola!

1. Granola in Soup

soup with oats
Usually, we opt for croutons or cheese bits to make our soups more interesting and flavorful. How about a sweet twist to your savory soups? Granola can go well with tomato soup to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. You can also add lightly toasted oatmeal to your soup if you'd like to keep it savory.
Use a little olive oil or butter if you decide to roast it, but remember, roasting is optional - granola is ready to be used straight out the package! There is one important thing to remember, though. Oats are super absorbent, and when put in hot liquids, they will absorb the liquid and thicken the soup. So, we recommend adding in the granola or oats right before serving.

2. Granola in Salad

There's a lot more to our food than just its taste! Enjoying a good meal means getting to enjoy the smell and texture of the food. Granola has you covered on the texture part of your salad. Those of you who already like to add nuts to a salad will know what I'm talking about. There's something about that crunch! If you want to make your own granola at home, we suggest adding sunflower seeds. They give a kick of flavor.

3. Granola in Your Desserts

Halloween themed chocolate bark

Granola is a sweet mix, so it will shine in any dessert. There's a way to incorporate granola into almost any dessert (baking and cooking are all about creativity!), but here are two suggestions for you: 
 

Halloween Themed Chocolate Bark:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups dark chocolate chips.
  • 2 cups granola.
  • 1/2 cup candy corn, candy eyes, and other spooky candy!
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles in green, purple, or orange. 

Preparation:

1. Melt the chocolate.
2. Line an oven pan with parchment paper.
3. Fold the granola into the chocolate and spread it evenly using a spatula. Sprinkle the candy and the sprinkles on top and cool in the fridge for 40 minutes.
4. Break or cut into pieces. 

Source


Baked Granola Over Apples:

This recipe is perfect for those chilly fall evenings!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar.
  • 2 tbsp melted butter.
  • Granola, as much as you like.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 2 apples (or more to your liking).

Preparation:

1. Line an oven pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter.
2. Slice the apples and spread them evenly.
3. Mix the rest of the ingredients and sprinkle over the apples.
4. Wrap it all in tin foil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350°F (175°C).

Besides these two options, remember that you can add granola to all of your baked goods, such as cookies, muffins, and cakes. 

4. Granola Instead of Bread Crumbs

Gratin with oat crust

For this one, it is advised to use dried rolled oats instead of granola. You can grind it up in a food processor and use it as a replacement for breadcrumbs. Now, why would you want to do that? For the added nutritional value, of course! Oatmeal and granola have more fiber and protein, fewer carbs and sugars than breadcrumbs. For a deeper flavor, you can even lightly roast the oats in a pan with no oil or some coconut oil. Delish! 
 

How can you incorporate this into a recipe?
Here's a root vegetable gratin with a granola-crumbs crust inspired by Food&Wine:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled.
  • 1 butternut squash neck (2 1/4 pounds) from a large butternut squash, peeled.
  • 1 medium turnip (2 pounds), peeled and halved lengthwise.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth.
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream.
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal crumbs.
  • 2 tbs olive oil.

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (200°C).
2. Slice the squash and sweet potatoes into thin slices, 1/8 inch thick.
3. Layer the veggies in an 8-by-12-inch glass baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.
4. Remove the foil and pour the cream over the veggies.  Bake for another 30 minutes.
5. Mix the crumbs with the oil and seasoning, and spread over the gratin.
6. Return the dish into the oven for 10 minutes closer to the top of the oven so that the top heater will roast it nicely. Alternatively, if you have one, you can use the broiler. 

H/T: Women'sHealth, Food&Wine

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