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Get Crunchy This Holiday Season and Hack Your Side Dishes with Granola

We know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. That drunken night you suddenly invited all your pals for Friendsgiving. Or last Hanukkah, when you heard yourself saying, sure, I’ll host next year. (Who even was that?) We’re not too proud to admit we don’t even how the fam ended up chez us for Christmas dinner.

However it happened, the reality is stark: preparing a holiday meal is...overwhelming. Which is why we’re sharing our favorite holiday hack to underwhelm things: granola!

Okay, at Mouth HQ we admit we have a little oat fetish. Sweetened with delicious maple syrup, packed with nuts and dried fruits, so many come with all the delicious traditional holiday flavors needed to dress up simple dishes and make them dinner-table worthy.   

Here are our 5 favorite ways to use granola to hack our holiday meals. From a baked brie appetizer to delicious side dishes to the easiest dessert ever, consider this party handled:

Baked Brie

If you haven’t had baked brie with granola, you haven’t lived. Any flavor that catches your eye will do, but we especially love cashews and coconut) for a sweet pop of texture. Plus, it’s easy AF to make, and will make you look like the Barefoot Contessa: simply top your fave wheel of cheese with a handful of granola and bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a pretty platter (never underestimate the power of kitschy Christmas plate) with some fancy crackers and a small-batch sweet and savory jam (we love a good fig spread) and get munching – just warn everyone to save room for the main course. Added bonus: it’s a lot easier to dodge questions from your nosy aunt about your love life (or lack thereof) when they’ve got a mouth full of cheese.

Gluten-free Kale Salad

This year, skip the croutons and toss your go-to kale salad recipe with a delicious-looking gluten-free granola and never go back. Hot tip: We love this Barely Sweet Berkshire Granola, because it’s not too sugary, aka keeps the salad virtuous. This year, your Friendsgiving contribution or holiday side dish will be anything but basic. 

Creamy Crunchy Mac ’n’ Cheese

We start salivating the second we hear “sweet and salty.” Which is why we can’t get enough of mac ’n’ cheese (did you know the Brits call it Macaroni Pie?) topped with a maple-syrup sweetened granola, which is less sweet than ones made with brown sugar. After mixing up your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe, pile it in a fancy baking dish, sprinkle it with fruit-free granola, and serve. (If the granola you have is chunky, just crumble with your fingers as you sprinkle!)

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Does your family start off their Thanksgiving meal by going around the table and saying what they’re thankful for? One bite and their answer just might be these mashed sweet potatoes topped with savory granola. Mash up those sweets like your mama taught you, add some butter and cream, and top with a savory granola made with rosemary (or any non-sweet version you dig). You’ll never go back to those stale, sickly sweet mini-marshmallows again. You’re welcome.

Easiest Apple Crumble Ever

If you’ve never been able to understand the phrase “as easy as pie,” try making a simple apple crumble, but skip the homemade crumble part and sprinkle a chunky apple granola over your sliced apples instead. Relatives might not agree on politics (let’s not go there), but an empty serving dish will be evidence that they can come together on something. 

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