Heirloom Tomatoes with Ricotta and Savory Granola

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It’s my favorite food time of year…tomato season. What is better than a super fresh, sweet, tasty heirloom tomato right from the garden? One of my favorite things ever! This awesome salad that I spotted in Food & Wine takes advantage of tomato season and matches them up with fresh ricotta seasoned with lemon zest and sunflower sprouts, and an unconventional topping — granola. It’s so simple but so delicious!

The granola incorporates pistachios and sunflower seeds and adds such a nice crunch to the salad. It makes a lot, so you’ll have plenty to throw on some yogurt with some berries for a nice week or so of breakfasts. And the other interesting ingredient — sunflower sprouts. They’re sweet, crunchy and fresh, and add a nice green splash to an already beautiful plate.

Make this and stat while the tomatoes are in their prime!IMG_7072IMG_7071

TW’s Tips

  • Do not skimp on the tomatoes. If you can’t get them fresh at the farmer’s market, don’t bother. Heirloom — even better.
  • Same with the fresh ricotta — must be fresh! You’ll find it at a good grocery store in the cheese section. Don’t you dare use the stuff in plastic tubs in the dairy aisle.
  • Sunflower sprouts won’t be easy to find. I nabbed them at the Union Square greenmarket.

Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomatoes with Ricotta and Savory Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup light agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup salted roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sunflower sprouts
  • Two 12-ounce heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325° and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the oats with the agave, water, 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt until the oats are thoroughly coated. Spread the oats on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring twice, until the granola is light golden. Stir in the pistachios and sunflower seeds and bake for about 10 minutes longer, until golden brown and dry. Let the granola cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally.

In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta with the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, toss the sunflower sprouts with the remaining 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the tomato wedges in shallow bowls and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the ricotta around the tomatoes. Scatter the sprouts on top and sprinkle with some of the granola; save the remaining 
granola for another use. Serve right away.

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Homemade Granola

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Some of my friends might undergo minor shock when reading this post. Confession: I have been eating granola and yogurt for breakfast lately. (GASP!) Yes, it’s true — the girl who has had the very same breakfast nearly every day since 2003–Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds–is changing it up. And with this homemade granola, it’s been pretty awesome. Though I admit I am missing my cereal. I may sneak some in tomorrow.

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This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and it’s delicious, with tons of dried fruit and nuts and rolled oats, sweetened with honey. On top of some Greek yogurt it’s pretty amazing. And this makes a huge batch! I had to split it into two sheet pans because my oven isn’t big enough to hold one that is 13×18.

TW’s Tips

  • I’m not a big fig person, and I wanted to mix it up a bit, so I grabbed a mixture of apricots, prunes, apples and some other fruits to replace the figs and apricots.
  • If your grocery store has a bulk section, it’s perfect for this granola. Buy 4 1/2 cups of any combination of dried fruit — your favorites.
  • Same for the nuts — buy 3 cups of whatever you like best, though I will say that almonds and cashews are my faves.
  • For the dried fruit that was too big, I chopped it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Don’t buy dried fruit that is really chewy — it gets dry too fast. Stuff like cranberries, cherries and apricots work well.
  • 2 cups of coconut sounds like a lot, but this isn’t too coconut-y.
  • Whisk the honey in medium bowl–prevents spillage and lets you get in there and work without worrying about it.
  • Don’t put the oven rack too low, and keep a close eye so you don’t burn it.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
  • 1 cup small diced dried figs
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small medium bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.