Ancho Chile Honey Granola

There are so many ways to love a tomato, and summer is the best season to eat them until your heart and belly are content! Slice up big beefsteak tomatoes for sandwiches, toss grape tomatoes in salads, or simmer plum tomatoes into sauces --these are just a few ways to up your intake of this in-season garden staple.

Not only are tomatoes are delicious, they are also good for our bodies, packed with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium, and lycopene – the perfect nutrient boost for any meal. Americans eat between 22 to 24 pounds of tomatoes a year, although about half of that is in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce! I’m trying to break my kids of their crazy-big ketchup habit (most brands have a lot of added corn syrup or sugar) and encourage them to put more fresh tomatoes on their plates.

 One way we’ve been working more fresh tomatoes into the family diet is with easy summer salads like my recipe for Ranch Tomato Salad with Ancho Chile Honey Granola. The two things most kids love most about this fresh side dish is the taste and creaminess of ranch dressing (or dip) and the crunch factor of granola. If skeptical youngsters balk at the idea of eating a vegetable topped with granola, remind them that tomatoes are, botanically speaking, a fruit!

 The granola is sweetened naturally with honey and a chili powder adds a light amount of spicy heat. It’s not too hot, but you can adjust the amount up or down according to our preferences. Pepita (pumpkin) and flax seeds, almonds and coconut oil add satiating, heart-healthy fats to this unique and addictive granola. It’s also so easy to make, no baking required -- it just take 10 minutes to whip up in a skillet! The recipe makes a bit more than you need to top the tomato salad, so leftovers can be eaten “as-is” for a sack, sprinkled atop a green salad, or used as a crispy topping on baked fish or chicken.

 For the dressing, I’ve used the crowd-pleasing OPAdipity by Litehouse Creamy Ranch Dip – it’s lower in calories and higher in protein thanks to a Greek yogurt base – and, of course, no preservatives or MSG. This seemingly indulgent, but surprising healthy dip is the perfect picnic or potluck pairing with a platter or cut-up veggies – or as a thicker dressing on a salad like Ancho Chile Honey Granola! Enjoy! 

Ancho Chile Honey Granola

Serves 4 | Finish in 28 minutes

Slice up a big, juicy tomato and top with creamy ranch dip and spicy-sweet granola for a unique side dish suitable for any summer supper, picnic or potluck.


3 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup raw pepita seeds (pumpkin seeds)
½ cup raw slivered almonds
2 - 4 teaspoons ancho chile powder
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup old fashioned oats (Gluten Free if needed)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon Instantly Fresh Cilantro
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

For Salad:
2 large beefsteak tomatoes (approx. 1 ½ lbs)
¼ yellow bell pepper, minced
½ cup Opadipity by Litehouse Creamy Ranch Dip

snipped fresh cilantro


1. Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast.

2. Add honey and stir to combine. Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture.

3. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.

4. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes in skillet.

5. Transfer to air-tight container using spatula to break up any pieces stuck to skillet.

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