30 October 2011

Iron Chef Challenge #4: Carrots and Oats

Posting my entry to the final Iron Chef Challenge for this year's Vegan MoFo is a bittersweet event, but at least the outcome was tasty. I had fun participating in the challenges (save for the first, which I missed); they provided a much-needed sparks of creativity on my part.

In keeping with my apparent tendency toward creating savory dishes for each challenge, for this round, I put an atypical spin on granola. Granola is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions oats (one ingredient for this challenge), but I didn't want to be too predictable by making a typical, sweet version that happened to have carrots (the other secret ingredient) thrown in. Inspired by this recipe for carrot furikake, I made a delectably savory, sweet, and spicy granola. It's crunchy, chewy, and bursting with the flavors of Japanese cuisine I love. Make a batch and be prepared to flex some snacking discipline, because if you're like me, it will be easy to get carried away with a jar of these clusters around.
Carrot Furikake Granola Clusters (printer-friendly version)
Yields approximately 3 cups
Gluten-free option; nut-free

2 c rolled oats (gluten-free)
1 c puffed or crispy rice cereal (gluten-free)
1 T milled flax seed + 2 T warm water
2 T tahini
1 T mirin
2 T soy sauce (may substitute tamari for gluten-free version)
1 T maple syrup
1 T white or brown rice flour
2 tsp shichimi togarashi
3 medium-sized carrots, grated (approximately 1 c, lightly packed)
½ c shelled edamame
1 T hulled black sesame seeds (may substitute brown sesame seeds)
1 sheet nori, toasted
Canola oil for the pan

Preheat the oven to 325°F/170C. Line a rectangular brownie pan (I used a 7x9" pan) with foil and oil lightly.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats and crispy rice cereal. In a separate bowl, whisk the milled flax seed and water together until it becomes viscous. Whisk in the tahini, mirin, soy sauce, maple syrup, rice flour, and shichimi togarashi. Add the wet mixture to the oats and rice cereal, stirring to combine. Fold in the carrots, edamame, and sesame seeds. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove the pan and lower the oven temperature to 300°F/150C. Allow the granola to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the granola in one piece by lifting the foil lining from the pan and placing it on a baking sheet. Gently pull the granola into clusters, spreading them over the foil. Bake for 45-50 minutes, turning the granola every 5-10 minutes to ensure that the clusters don’t burn. Remove from heat and allow the granola to cool in the pan completely. It will harden more as it cools. Crumble the nori over the granola and gently toss it to evenly distribute the ingredients.


  1. Tiffany, this Japanese style granola snack hits home with me in a big way!

    P.S. Where the heck were the vegan iron chef/mofo challenges posted? I must be getting old because I tried to find them a few times by googling, and I checked the mofo site and the vegan iron chef site, but came up with nothing.  I want to give it a try at some point...can you post the link?

    Thanks very much and I love your blog! (you are on my blog roll! :-)

    Vegan Fazool blog

  2. Very unique! I never would have come up with that!

  3. Aw thanks, Dawn! The challenges and round-ups are posted on the Vegan MoFo site. You can find them all under the "Iron Chef Challenge" tag: http://www.veganmofo.com/category/iron-chef-challenge/

  4. Thanks! The challenges have really encouraged me to challenge myself to come up with creative dishes. I'm sure it's the same for other people, too. :)

  5. veganinbrighton10/30/11, 2:50 PM

    That looks great, nice work with the challenge!

  6. Thanks! Yeah, I AM getting old, huh? I definitely didn't check the sidebar. I think my eyes are going!  Oh well.  Next year, if it's in the same spot, I'll do it.  If not I probably won't because I'm sure I won't find it again haha.



Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)