A day after my husband and I bought bags of Halloween candy for the expected avalanche of neighborhood trick-or-treaters this week, I tiptoed into the room where we stashed them and tore open a bag with the good stuff: Snickers, Twix, Milky Way.
We weren’t supposed to touch the new bags, having already gone through two with a Skittles-Starburst combo. I confessed the next day.
“I know,” my husband said. “I saw the opened bag when I went to go open it this morning.”
So it goes in October, when cravings for fun-sized corn syrup bombs run wild and a two-per-day limit seems like restraint.
I needed a sugar reprieve.
Seeking something brunchy the next day, I got to work on a dish that would use more natural sugars and flavors but still be worthy of a Sunday brunch.
I started with granola, which I love to make at home because it’s an easy way to cut out tons of sugar often found in store-bought versions. That’s the main thing you’re cooking here, but once you do it, you’ll have enough for at least four or five yogurt bowls. Almost as easy as grabbing candy out of a bag.
I rummaged through my pantry and found some sunflower seeds, slivered almonds and walnuts. I collected all three, figuring they’d work with the rolled oats I wanted to form the base for my granola.
When working on a recent story about Alison Roman’s new cookbook Nothing Fancy, I was reminded of a coconut-turmeric-sesame granola from her first book, Dining In. It uses egg whites to bind the ingredients together, which also helps make the granola kind of crispy and light without the addition of too much oil.
I modified her version a bit and also realized that just almonds and walnuts were the way to go, the sunflower seeds cooking a little too quickly in the oven.
To build my yogurt bowl, I started by grating some orange zest into a big serving of plain Greek yogurt. Lemon zest would also work. It’s a trick I use often to introduce flavor without adding sugar.
Next, a swath of pumpkin butter, which you can find in lots of grocery stores right now. And a large scoop of that granola. To finish things off, I mixed a little bit of creamy tahini (my current favorite store-bought variety is Once Again’s creamy unsweetened version, very smooth and spoonable for recipes like these) with some honey, then drizzled that over the bowl.
Yogurt Bowl with Coconut Granola and Honey-Tahini Sauce
For the granola:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup almonds, chopped or slivered
½ cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup olive oil
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⅓ cup maple syrup
3 egg whites
For the bowl:
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter, store-bought or homemade
2 teaspoons tahini or peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey
Water as needed
Make the granola: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together, then stir in the wet ingredients. Spread the mixture in an even layer on top of the parchment.
Bake for about 45 minutes, using a spatula to turn the granola in sections every 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then store in a sealed container for up to two weeks.
Make the bowl: Add yogurt to a serving bowl. Stir in orange zest. Dollop pumpkin butter on top. Top with about ½ cup granola.
Mix tahini and honey in a small bowl until blended, adding a bit of water as needed to thin the sauce out, then drizzle on top of yogurt bowl.
Source: Adapted from Dining In by Alison Roman