It’s the little luxuries in life that lift each day out of the ordinary. Things like eating chocolate cake for breakfast, or polishing off a whole, perfectly ripe avocado all by yourself.
Except avocados are one of those rare indulgences that actually leave me feeling great, not crashed out with a sugar hangover. They’re like butter, but better, because they’re full of healthy nutrients.
So when I need a little pick-me-up, or an “I’m worth it” kind of treat, I reach for an avocado (and try not to think about chocolate cake). I’ll eat it with grapefruit or orange slices for a “salad” or smear it onto toast. And when I really want something special, I sprinkle on some savory pesto granola.
Savory granola is a luxury all its own. Crunchy and herbacious, it can lift ordinary salads or roasted vegetables into special-occasion status. I love mixing the oats with bright basil-y pesto, but sometimes I use za’atar or Indian spices instead.
Crispy, salty oats on creamy, buttery avocado is a seriously addictive combo. But since it’s packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fats, I consider it health food — even though every bite tastes like a guilty pleasure.
Crispy Pine Nut and Pesto Granola
Makes 2 ½ cups
You know how pesto is so versatile you can swirl it into just about anything? Well, the same holds true for this granola. Think of it as pesto with texture. It has a lovely crispy-sandy quality that’s perfect for sprinkling on avocado toast or savory breakfast porridge in the morning, or use it to add crunch to leafy greens or roasted root vegetables at dinner.
1 cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley
1 clove garlic, smashed
Zest of lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup pine nuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Pulse until basil and garlic are finely chopped. Add the oil and process until smooth. The pesto should be on the oily side. If not, add another tablespoon of oil.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, pine nuts and pesto, stirring until evenly coated.
Spread the mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully stir the granola to encourage even browning and bake about 10 minutes more, until toasted and golden. It will crisp up as it cools. When cool, transfer to an airtight container.