If I can make my husband shake his head and say WTF to a new recipe idea, I know I’m probably on the right track.
This one was inspired by a new condiment we got in our swag bags from the Portland Wedge cheese festival in October. Kindly provided by Rogue Creamery was a blue cheese powder. My mind was on fire with all of the fun things I could do with it – popcorn topping, mashed potatoes, very sophisticated mac ‘n cheese, creamy soups. Then out of nowhere a new idea emerged…
Savory granola with blue cheese powder.
Weird, I know, but stay with me. I took my usual sweet granola recipe and turned it on its head. Oats combined with smoked almonds, pepitas, chopped pecans, black sesame seeds and the blue cheese powder bound together by coconut oil, a bit o’ honey with a dash of Worcestershire sauce to harken back to the Chex mix days of my youth. Stirred together and baked in the oven. The house smelled AMAZING! It wasn’t as nicely chunky as the sweet variety, probably due to the insufficient sugar product to bind, but the taste did not suffer one bit. This morning I topped some cottage cheese with this new creation and it hit every right savory note. I think I’ll try it on plain Greek yogurt too; that’s usually sweet, but I bet we can bribe it over to the dark and savory side with this yummy topping. If I can keep my kids from eating it right out of the bowl that is. Oh and my husband? Yeah, he’s a believer now.
Breakfast and its cousin brunch are often a desert wasteland for those of us of the savory persuasion. You have your breakfast cereals; sugary nuggets bathed in milk. What else is dunked in milk and eaten? That’s right, cookies. Basically they are the same thing. Or you stay over at a friend’s house and they go out of their way to make you a special breakfast… 10 to one you are getting pancakes or waffles. I can feel my blood sugar plummeting now. You say smoothie, I say fruit milkshake. And please explain to me how breakfast bars are any different from bar cookies?
Too much sweet! Don’t get me wrong, I like dessert. Just not for breakfast.
When I was a kid, I was the weird-o who made toasted cheese sandwiches or ate leftover cold pizza or even fried rice for breakfast. Travelling in Japan was a dream come true – savory breakfast stuff everywhere! Ramen, rice and miso oh my! Same with Eastern Europe; nothing wrong with charcuterie to start the day in my book.
My kids are apples that have stuck pretty close to my tree on the breakfast front. This has presented some opportunities for creativity over the years. One result was the development of savory oatmeal. Hear me out and don’t scrunch your face all up like that. Oatmeal is just a grain so no reason why it can’t be savory. Think rice pilaf or risotto and you kind of get the picture. So next time you are making oatmeal for breakfast (we use steel cut, but any variety works), cook it in broth instead and top it with savory delights like cheese, nutritional yeast, green onions, green chiles, salsa, beans, smoked almonds. It works.
I saw a recipe list for high protein breakfast ideas that are plant-based. Typically and disappointingly, most of them were sweet. Being a committed savory girl, the beans on toast recipe caught my eye and ignited my creativity. Of course, I had to make it my own though, because recipes are merely a suggestion!
I toasted some Ezekiel bread. The stuff I eat when I’m feeling virtuous or just want that mighty grain texture. Mashed up a can of cannellini beans I had in the pantry with a splash of my beloved Sicilian Lemon balsamic vinegar from Navidi’s plus a generous sprinkle of my favorite Tex-Mex spice combo. I don’t eat slabs of meat anymore, but this rub stuff is great as an all-purpose seasoning salt.
So I spread the bean mash on the toast and then smashed an avocado with salt and lemon and smeared that on top. A couple of grinds of black pepper. I put diced red peppers and red onion, dash of Marie Sharp’s habanero hot sauce on mine. My kid avoided the veg (typical), but liked everything else.
I thought about this breakfast all day long because it was so good! My brain was filled with so many possible variations from changing up the bread, the beans and the toppings. Mashed pinto beans with chili spices on wheat topped with shredded cheese, tomato and green onions. White beans with garlic on Italian peasant bread with chopped tomato and basil dressed in olive oil. Rye toast with baked beans, sharp cheddar and white onion. MMMM the possibilities are endless! And this would be good for any meal, not just breakfast 😉