Simply put, this nori granola from Heidi Swanson's latest cookbook Near & Far is the granola of my dreams. I first discovered this granola in a very pretty Instagram post, and lucky for me the recipe had also been published in Food & Wine. Until this recipe, granola was the last thing I would have added nori to, but this granola is savory, sweet, spicy, and the fennel seeds and nori make this recipe a keeper for life. The ingredients are definitely not all pantry staples, so you may have to go on a bit of an ingredient hunt, but it will be well worth your while. This granola is a little weird and definitely not for everyone, but if you find that it's for you, it will really be for you.
At first I wondered how I should eat this nori granola. It is obviously very snackable on its own, but I was hesitant to eat it with milk or yogurt. Turns out it is actually delicious with yogurt topped with a bit of honey, but I have not yet tried it with milk yet because soggy nori pieces floating around in milk seems vaguely displeasing. Alyna's big sister gave us some very wise big sister advice by musing that the nori granola would be a good ice cream topping, and in Near & Far Heidi Swanson suggests crumbling over soup or salad. I've already tried the granola with a lentil soup from 101 Cookbooks, and it was terrific. I'll definitely try it on ice cream and salad the next time I make this granola because the last batch is looong gone.
Also, you can play with this granola recipe to make a nori and cashew nut mix, as I did for a dinner party this past holiday season. Because you'll be omitting the oats, you need to scale back the honey, olive oil, and seasonings. As delightful and unexpected as the nori granola, but perhaps a bit more accessible to those with tamer granola tastes.
Adapted slightly from Heidi Swanson's recipe published in Food & Wine
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups raw cashews, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon shichimi togarashi*
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
15 grams of nori, torn and crumbled into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup olive oil
*The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of shichimi togarashi, but I (and others) found this a little too spicy for my tastes.
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, cashews, black sesame seeds, fennel seeds, shichimi togarashi, black pepper, salt and nori.
In a small bowl, stir together the honey and olive oil until well-combined. Then, slowly pour the honey and olive oil mixture over the dry ingredients while stirring so that the honey and olive oil are evenly distributed throughout the granola mixture.
Spread the granola mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet, and transfer to oven to bake for 35 - 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until granola is toasted (stir less often if you like more clumpy granola). Be sure to stir from the edges, which tend to darken more quickly than the center.
Remove the granola from the oven and let cool completely. Granola can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.