This month at Allergic to Salad, we’re celebrating spices and seasonings. While our favorite foods are flavorful on their own, sometimes they need a little help to be extra delicious. Otherwise bland dishes come to life with a sprinkle of oregano, a dash of cumin, or a touch of cinnamon. Exploring different herbs and spices is a great way to try new things and practice adventurous eating.
For thousands of years, spices have been prized for their delicious flavors, bright colors, and helpful properties. Centuries ago, when salt was scarce and hard to extract, people used spices to preserve their meat, which would quickly spoil otherwise. Across the world, communities used spices as medicine, healing everything from stomach ailments to pain to sniffles. Even today, eating spice-rich food is recommended as a way to fend off unfriendly germs.
Today, we’ll be using cinnamon, one of our absolute favorite spices, in an orange cranberry granola. Chock full of antioxidants, this magical spice is known to fend off heart disease, cancer, and inflammation. Warm and slightly sweet, it makes a great addition to baked goods and curries. Together with fragrant orange zest, which adds a vibrant burst of citrus and pleasant sourness, this flavor combination is unstoppable! Be sure to take a moment to stop and smell while making this recipe — pay careful attention to the change before versus after it’s baked.
Homemade granola is a great treat for breakfast or snack. Stirred into yogurt or eaten by the handful, it’s sure to win you over with its crunchy texture and nutty flavor. We suggest making a big batch of this recipe, putting it into little bags, and giving it out to family and friends all winter long.
Take-Home Orange Cranberry Granola
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar of your choice
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup pepitas
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt OR ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the orange zest and sugar. Using your fingers, rub the orange zest into the sugar until it’s a bright orange color and fragrant.This will really help to release the citrus-y flavors of the zest and infuse the granola.
Combine oats, seeds, pepitas, cinnamon, and orange sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup/honey. Mix well, making sure the dry ingredients are completely coated.
Pour the granola onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly. Bake for 24 to 28 minutes. If using honey in place of maple syrup, you may need to reduce cooking time slightly. Halfway through cooking time, stir granola. Remove granola from oven when it is a light golden color, it will continue to crisp on the baking sheet as it cools.
Let the granola cool completely before stirring in the dried cranberries.
What are your favorite spices and seasonings? Let us know in the comments below!
See you next time,
The Allergic to Salad Team