Savory Partners: Dark Chocolate + Granola with Za’atar

What’s your favorite healthy chocolate companion? According to the Chocolate Lover’s Club, it goes with just about anything and they reference some unusual combinations from seafood and cheese to roasted cauliflower.  Hmm.  Before I reveal my choice, I want to thank the Recipe Redux team for this timely February topic, because I’m using it to multitask (in a time management kinda way):

1. Believe it or not, it’s an inspiration for cleaning out my pantry. Yep, using up chocolate leftover from Valentine’s Day (as well as some other ‘nearly gone’ ingredients; what else can you do with 2 tablespoons of red quinoa anyway?)

2. And yes, I ‘m  trying to make amends for the Valentine’s Day Treat (no bake chocolate mousse) that didn’t score me any brownie points. Geeze.

Maybe ‘the man’ will like this…my favorite chocolate combination…

\Dark Chocolate + Granola with Za'atar

dark chocolate + granola .  Here are the dry ingredients I used…

ingredients for Dark Chocolate + Granola with Za'atar

So 2 tablespoons of this,  and a quater cup of that…. what a thrifty way to polish off small portions of pantry staples.  And at the last minute, I added what I now consider the secret ingredient’atar.  Ever since I used this spice blend  in my Mediterranean Dip   I’ve been yearning to try it in granola. It’s an aromatic blend of sumac, sesame seeds, dried thyme, salt,  and other spices. The label states it goes best with lamb, chicken, fish and veggies. So, what about chocolate? It’s the bomb! Which means.. this month I’m one for one.  I’ll take it.  Ok, so now that I’ve got my family happily munching away on a delicious snack, how about nutrition? This is no more or no less healthier than most other granolas. Really. Close to 100 calories in 2 Tablespoons, 5 grams of fat, 2 grams protein, low in cholesterol , low in sodium and a very good source of manganese. So here’s the bottom line: if you like the taste of dark chocolate, and you want the heart healthy benefits of plant flavanols, please enjoy this one mindfully. Don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of this post for more healthy chocolate pairings from my friends and colleague members of the Recipe Redux.

What’s your chocolate philosophy? Do you think it goes with everything?

Dark Chocolate Granola with Za'atar

Dark Chocolate  Granola with Za'atar

Dark Chocolate Granola with Za’atar

Serves 8     adjust servings


  • 2 Tablespoons red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (to make gluten free, gluten free label)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg white (omit for vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil (or coconut oil for paleo diet)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, broken into bite sized pieces


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. 2. Rinse quinoa and add to a medium bowl with the next four dry ingredients.
  3. 3. whisk egg white and oil and add to oat mixture along with honey and vanilla. Stir well to combine.
  4. 4. Spread oat mixture into a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil. 5.Bake, stirring every 10 minutes until golden. (20-25 minutes)
  5. 6. Allow to cool completely befoe adding raisins and dark chocolate. Serve or store in an air tight container.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 150kcal Calories from fat 63
% Daily Value
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Transfat 0g
Sodium 69mg 3%
Carbohydrate 22g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 14g
Protein 3g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g

Snack Right: Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

August is Kids Eat Right Month!  This nutrition education campaign, initiated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Academy’s Foundation,  encourages healthy eating and active lifestyles for children and families.  Your family’s health is important to you.  So let me ask, are they getting enough of the essential nutrients? If they’re like most Americans, they’re not. (Ninety-nine percent of Americans aren’t meeting daily whole grain recommendations and eighty-five percent aren’t meeting daily dairy recommendations.)  What does this mean? Well, it  means they’re likely missing out on  fiber, calcium,  vitamin D and potassium. Bummer.

Now don’t feel bad. As a mother, I know the frustration of having my family turn their noses up at healthy food I spent precious time preparing.  Just remember one thing:  if they don’t eat it,  you’re wasting your time. So let me save you time, by sharing a recipe that will appeal to both  kids and adults and help you boost your family’s intake of  essential nutrients important for good health. Because this recipe provides 1/2 of a serving of whole grain oats  and 1/2 of a serving of dairy, it will close the gap on missing dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin D and potassium.  This is no joke! It’s the powerful combination of dairy and oats in a snack bar that tastes terrific  like carrot cake.  Let me explain how this mouth watering,  nutrient rich snack bar evolved.  I modified a basic oatmeal drop cookie, and then  converted  it into  a bar  filled with the goodness of dairy.  If I were Emeril Lagasse, right about now  I’d say, ‘Bam’. But instead I’ll  just tell you it’s healthy and delicious. Please don’t take my word for it; make it today. Pack it into lunch and bento boxes;  serve it with a glass of cold low-fat milk for an after school snack. Your family will thank you because they’ll delight over the taste! You’ll smile because you’re doing your part ensuring their healthy future.

For even more delicious recipes that surpass the ordinary with this powerful combination of oats and dairy, be sure to  visit the links at the bottom of this post. You’re welcome to come back for ‘seconds’ because new recipes will be appearing thru August 10.

How are you investing in your childrens’ future?

Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta FillingOatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling

Oatmeal Bars with Creamy Ricotta Filling


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups rolled oats, quick or old fashioned
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup skim milk

for the filling

  • 18 oz. part skim ricotta cheese (1 pound+ 4 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts,


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 2. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
  3. 3. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. 4. Stir in rolled oats and raisins.
  5. 5. Beat in oil, pumpkin, eggs, honey and milk with a spoon until thoroughly blended.
  6. 6. Set aside 2 cups of dough and refrigerate.
  7. 7. Spread the remainer of the dough into the prepared 13 x 9 inch baking pan using a spatula or the bottom of a measuring cup to press the dough into an even layer.
  8. 8. Make filling by combining ingredients ricotta cheese through walnuts together in a small bowl.
  9. 9. Spread filling evenly over the bottom oatmeal layer.
  10. 10. Take out the reserved dough from the refrigerator and crumble over the filling.
  11. 11. Bake 40 to 50 minutes.
  12. 12. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. Refrigerate if necessary.
  13. Tip when cutting make long cuts the length of the pan.   Clean knife, between cuts, in hot water and dry with kitchen towel.
  14. Store uneaten bars in refrigerator.


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