For the past month or so, I’ve really been craving all sorts of really green or otherwise vibrantly colored puréed soups, even more than usual. I’ve been dumping bunches of greens and herbs mixed with broth and a gently cooked base into the blender and enjoying watching it all come together in no time.
On the other hand, I’ve been adding all sorts of texture and flavor pops over the top of the silky soup, like garbanzos or lentils, spiced seeds, and this genius savory pistachio granola, which kicks up just about anything it’s added to to the best degree.
The granola is a base of pistachios, oats, rosemary, thyme, and fennel, but then I got the idea to make it extra clumpy by adding a little chickpea flour. It adds to the savoriness and makes for extra clump.
Other than the flavor, which has really been enhancing my winter meals, what I really like is that I’ve made a granola colorful without adding any dried fruit! It has lots of little hints of green from the herbs and pistachios. For the past few years, I’ve repeatedly heard the terms phytonutrients and antioxidants thrown out and I’ve even used them myself when teaching about nutrition. I’ve generally stuck to the basics and encouraged simply making meals colorful and diverse. One of the reasons we hear the advice to eat the rainbow is because plant foods that are really vibrant and colorful really do have more nutrients. They’re the kind that in the nutrition world we call phytonutrients, and we tend to think they’re really healthy for us. These plant nutrients are nature’s way of toughening up plants to survive harsh conditions, and it just so happens that when we eat them, those benefits are passed on to us. There are many different types of phytonutrients but many have lots of antioxidant ability, meaning they fight inflammation and free-radical damage from normal cellular processes, as well as a modern lifestyle that’s often less than ideal.
The more colorful, whole foods we fit into our everyday meals, the better for our short and long-term health. And all those lovely green pistachios? They are actually known as The Colorful Nut™. They help you snack colorfully–because pistachios’ green and red-purple hues come from a type of phytochemical that is rich in antioxidants.
In addition to toppings for soup, I’ve been adding this granola to basic power bowl type meals and to winter salads that need a little spark. How are you making your winter meals that extra bit colorful?
Savory Pistachio Granola, makes 5-6 cups
Add as much or as little as desired to top meals, or even serve a hefty handful or so with some plain coconut yogurt for a nice savory sweet snack.
1 cup Wonderful Pistachios, roughly chopped
2 cups old-fashioned oats, gluten free as necessary
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water, as needed
1 Tbs. honey
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the pistachios, oats, puffed rice, chickpea flour, fennel seeds, herbs, and salt. In a smaller bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, honey, and about 2 tablespoons water until combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and mix well. Add about 2 additional tablespoons of water as needed.
- Transfer the granola to the prepared baking sheet and use the back of a big spoon or spatula to spread it out into an even layer.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden and fragrant. Let the granola cool completely in the pan to keep the clumps intact.
- Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Difference Between. (2015). Difference Between Antioxidants and Phytochemicals.
Higdon, J. (2005). Flavonoids.
The Institute for Functional Medicine (2015). Phytonutrient Spectrum Comprehensive Guide.