Not hosting Thanksgiving? Be the best guest instead.


As an inveterate planner, pie baker, and lover of turkey, it's amazing that as an adult, I've only hosted Thanksgiving once, the year my younger son Ellis was born. He was a month old at the time so staying home just made sense. 

But over the years, our family has been guests elsewhere - either to the raucous 30-plus-person gatherings at my aunt and uncle's house west of Boston, or to upstate New York, where close friends and family live and where the day after Thanksgiving is often spent shooting off potato cannons in rural fields. Either way, I just love the day - complicated history of its origins aside - and I like to cook something, regardless of whether we're traveling or staying closer to home. 

But when you're in a car for eight hours, items that can withstand the travel are key. And when  we're houseguests, I figure our hosts will have the meal's components in hand, so I think of snacks for the next day (one perfect cheese is often my go-to here) or for breakfast in the morning. This granola answers that call - honey and tahini hit just the right rich, not-too-sweet notes. You might even be moved to sprinkle it over your breakfast pie. 

Honey-Sesame Granola

Makes about 6 cups

4 cups rolled oats

½ cup coconut flakes

1 cup slivered almonds

½ cup pumpkin seeds

½ cup sesame seeds

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ cup honey

⅓ cup tahini

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 275°F, place the oven racks in the top half of the oven, and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss together the oats, coconut, almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds, salt and spices in a large bowl. Whisk the honey, tahini, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Pour over the oats and use your hands to thoroughly mix the wet ingredients into the oat mixture. Spread the granola evenly onto the baking sheets and place in oven.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the sheets on the racks every 15 minutes or so to ensure the granola browns evenly (don’t stir it - this helps keep it clumpy). It should be a toasty caramel brown. Cool completely before storing. Transfer to a storage container with a lid. The granola will keep for a week, covered. To give as a gift, scoop 2-3 cups into a clear cellophane gift bag, write the ingredients on a gift tag and tie with raffia or baker’s twine.