Summer is probably the most hectic time of the year for me, I’m always running around trying to keep up with the booming garden, house chores, and work, and also trying to take advantage of the nice weather with weekend camping trips, hikes, and trips into the city. Portland really explodes in the summer months—it’s such a beautiful town, and when the weather is nice, there’s nothing like strolling around, stopping for a beer or two, and taking in the greenery and brick buildings as fellow residents walk by. I know that everyone else is trying to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts, too, so I wanted to make a healthy and tasty on-the-go snack to keep myself and you all nice and fueled up for the bustling sunny season! And what better than a rich and crispy pecan snack?
I know pecans are traditionally relegated to the dessert category, but their buttery flavor lends itself to *so* much more than just pies (you can check out this pecan-encrusted rack of lamb and roasted acorn squash and pecan soup from the recipe archives for some savory pecan recipe inspo!) Their crunchy-yet-smooth texture pairs so well with a wide variety of ingredients, I love using them in salads and wraps for a tasty protein, fiber, and healthy fat source, or pulsing them in the blender with some olive oil and salt for a tasty spread. Out of the seven nut trees grown worldwide, the pecan is the only one native to North America, and virtually all the pecans sold in North America are grown here, so you know you’re supporting US farmers and small businesses when you purchase and cook with them. They’re a huge part of southern cooking and food culture, but I’m hoping their versatility spreads to the northern states, too!
So, along with the chopped and raw pecans, these bars have chopped dates, coconut flakes, flax seeds, fresh rosemary, honey, a hefty dose of sea salt, and a kick of hot sauce. I am kiiiiiind of obsessed with salty sweet foods, and these bars toe that line perfectly. With every buttery pecan bite, you get an herbal kick of rosemary, a little sweetness from the dates and honey, a dash of heat, and a nice salty finish. I know the spicy element might sound strange, but trust me, it goes craaaaaazy well with the salty sweet combo.
Just an FYI, you can store any extra pecans in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 9 months, and can store them in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag for up to 2 years. They can also be thawed, frozen, and thawed again several times without having any effect on their texture or taste, woohoo! Just make sure that the container they’re in is *totally* airtight, as they will absorb the flavor of any odor in the fridge or freezer if they’re not sealed up. Wishing you all a very fun-filled summer!! 😀
This post was made in partnership with the American Pecan, but all opinions expressed here are my own, per usual!
Savory Pecan and Rosemary Granola Bars
- 2 cups chopped raw pecans
- 1 1/2 cups whole raw pecans
- 1 cup chopped pitted dates
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 teaspoons flake sea salt
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons nut butter
- 1 teaspoon vinegar-based hot sauce
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the side of a roughly 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish or baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, making the sheet a little wider than the pan so that some of the paper hangs off either side of the pan (this will make the bars easier to remove from the pan, later).
In a medium bowl, mix together the chopped raw pecans, whole raw pecans, chopped dates, coconut flakes, flax seeds, fresh rosemary, and sea salt until combined. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, dark brown sugar, nut butter, and hot sauce until smooth. Add the honey mixture to the pecan mixture in three increments, stirring well between each addition, until the honey mixture evenly coats the pecan mixture.
Empty the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out in an even layer. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the granola bar mixture and press down on it to compact it into a solid single layer. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and place the pan in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely to room temperature. To make them easier to cut and store, I recommend placing the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Remove the sheet of granola bars from the pan by lifting the overhanging parchment paper. Place the sheet of granola bars on a cutting board and cut into 20 evenly-sized granola bars. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of each one and wrap each granola bar in plastic wrap. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, or for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.