By Micah (Grobman) Siva
(Editors Note): Tu Bi’Shevat, (also known as Jewish Arbor Day) starts this year on the evening of Jan. 24.
(AJNews) – My grandparents loved halvah, a sweet confection made with sesame butter and sugar, because it reminded them of their time spent in Israel. Individually wrapped halvah candies could always be found in the depths of their candy drawer. Despite halvah being a sweet confection, sesame seeds are incredibly nutritious and can be a part of healthy breakfast, so it inspired me to toss halvah into my granola in place of dried fruit, for a granola that pays homage to my grandparents’ candy drawer and tastes a whole lot better than the raisin-filled granola of my childhood.
If you want to add dried fruit to your granola [to enhance it for Tu B’ Shevat], toss it in as soon as the sheet pan is removed from the oven. The heat from the granola will soften the dried fruit and help it stick to the pieces. Don’t bake the dried fruit with the nuts and seeds, though, because the high sugar content of dried fruits will cause them to burn.
This recipe is from “Nosh: Plant-forward recipes celebrating modern Jewish cuisine” by Micah Siva, which will be released in March 2024 and is available now for pre-ordering. The recipe serves 10 to 12 people and the prep and cook time is one hour and 10 minutes.
3 cups rolled oats, gluten-free, if preferred
1⁄2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1⁄4 cup chia seeds
1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
2⁄3 cup pistachios
2⁄3 cup raw cashews
1⁄3 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch sea salt
3⁄4 cup crumbled halvah
Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, chia seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios, and cashews.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, tahini, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared sheet pan and spread it out in an even layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the halvah. Let cool on the sheet pan.
Transfer the granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 10 days.
Variation: Add an egg white to the liquid ingredients in your granola to make it even crunchier with larger clusters. Egg whites act as a binder, and the addition can help the components stick together. Love cardamom? Add an extra 1⁄4 teaspoon!
Native Albertan Micah Siva is a Jewish, Registered Dietitian and chef living in Northern California, specializing in recipe writing, food photography and story telling through food. She has strong roots in Alberta and is a camp BB (Riback) and NWC BBYO alum.