Sunday, March 31, 2013

Matzo Granola to Get You Through Passover

When you're keeping kosher for Passover, most of us hit a point during the holiday when we just think, "No!" "No, I can not eat one more piece of matzo! I miss bread, and pasta, and cereal, and granola!"

Matzo is a Passover staple and a sad, tasteless substitute for bread when you're avoiding all things leavened to observe the holiday. Over the course of Passover, I'll eat matzo with peanut butter, matzo with jam, matzo with peanut butter AND jam... Sometimes I'll make matzo brei and scramble broken pieces of matzo with eggs... Sometimes I make matzo pizza by slathering it with tomato sauce and cheese and then microwaving it until the cheese melts.

Five days into Passover, with half a box of matzo left, I don't even want to look at it! So, I crushed up five of my remaining pieces of matzo and mixed them up into this sweet and delicious Coconut Mango Matzo Granola!

The bold flavor in this sweet, Kosher-for-Passover treat comes from some of my favorite Thai-inspired ingredients: mango, ginger and coconut. Together, these components add enough flavor to override the all to familiar “cardboard” taste and feel that Matzo tends to emit.

A Thai-inspired Passover dish may be unusual and out of the ordinary, but that’s just my style! I’m always a fan of sprucing up something familiar with an unexpected twist. 

This year I set up a nontraditional Seder plate substituting a beet for the usual shank bone and adding an orange, which was introduced to the Sedar plate by Susannah Heschel in the early 1980s "as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gay men, and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community," including widows.

In one more very unorthodox twist, I replaced the typical bitter herb with the bottle of bitters I bought to make Old Fashioned Cupcakes on my birthday. If I had hosted a larger Seder, I might have sprung for some horseradish, but for just my roommate and me, a bottle of bitters worked just fine!

I used the ginger syrup that I still have saved from making Homemade Candied Ginger several months ago — the syrup keeps very well in the refrigerator. I vetoed melted butter in favor of melted coconut oil to keep my Matzo Granola vegan-friendly, and I added a chia seeds and almonds for protein.

Because it’s both tasty and healthy, this Mango Coconut Matzo Granola is a Passover-friendly breakfast I can feel good about grabbing as I go through my daily morning dash out the door. Give some to an unsuspecting person in place of traditional granola, and see if they realize its made with Matzo. My guess is they’ll have no idea!

This Matzo Granola is great plain, but I also really like it mixed into yogurt or with some almond milk as a makeshift cereal. If you have any other ideas or favorite uses for granola, I’d love to hear them!

If you like mango and coconut as a flavor pairing, try out my Mango Coconut Thumbprint cookies too! The mango curd is similar to a traditional lemon curd in its silky texture, but is sweeter and less tart. These cookies would make a great post-Passover indulgence for anyone who’s feeling the effects of carb-withdrawal.

Coconut Mango Matzo Granola (inspired by and adapted from Coconut & Lime)
Makes about 6 cups
  • 5 pieces matzo, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 8-10 strips of dried mango, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup almonds, crushed
  • 1 handful whole almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup ginger syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Combine matzo, mango, coconut, almonds and chia seeds in a large bowl and mix together
  • In a separate bowl, mix together ginger syrup, coconut oil and spices
  • Pour syrup mixture over matzo mixture and mix until incorporated
  • Spread mixture out on your baking sheet so it covers the entire sheet
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until it starts to feel crisp and brown slightly along the edges
  • Cool completely and break into small pieces before storing in an air-tight container

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