RECIPE: How a 4-course meal inspired a PB&J parfait

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After many months of eating only what I felt like cooking in my kitchen and whatever UberEats would deliver to me, I was very excited when my parents invited my boyfriend and me to a fancy outdoor brunch in Connecticut.

And when I say fancy, I mean a prix fixe menu in a personal, heated “greenhouse” next to a waterfall fancy. Needless to say I was out of place. And that was before I looked at the menu.

I ate that stuff and liked it.

I did not expect to enjoy a single course, and I wound up loving everything (I even tried one tiny bite of the swordfish with orange cream, which wasn’t something I was interested in doing at all!).

At one point, the server brought over a muffin for everyone and didn’t say what the flavor was, and I ate it anyway….!!

Perhaps one of my favorite courses, silly as it may seem, was the parfait with sunflower granola and preserves. And considering I only just started eating granola a couple months ago, I’m quite proud of this. In fact, I loved it so much that I was inspired to create my own version at home this week for lunches (but without all the sugar that was surely in the original preserves).

What resulted was a delicious PB&J parfait that I’ve been excited to eat on my lunch break each day.

It’s creamy, rich, salty, tart, and much greater than the sum of its parts. On their own, each element is missing something—the yogurt’s too plain, the granola too dry, and the jam too tart.

But together, they create the perfect balance. Dare I say, these components go together like peanut butter and jelly?!

It turns out that all these years, my aversion to granola was strictly directed at the dried fruit so often added in. Subbing that out for fruit preserves and going heavy on the peanut butter flavor makes granola far more palatable!

Try out this recipe for PB&J parfait, and let me know how you like it in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles!

Recipe for PB&J parfait

Granola adapted from Lindsay Maitland-Hunt’s Healthyish cookbook and Cookie and Kate’s healthy granola. Jam from The Roasted Root’s raspberry and chia jam.
Yield: ~5 servings (plus extra granola) | Prep time: <10 minutes | Cook time: ~30 minutes

For peanut butter sunflower granola
2 cups old-fashioned oats rolled oats
2 cups quick-cooking steel cut oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds*
1/2 cup peanuts
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
For raspberry jam (c/o The Roasted Root, with slight adjustments)
12 oz fresh raspberries
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 qt plain Greek yogurt

  1. Make the granola. Preheat the oven to 300o. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until evenly distributed. Spread into an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the granola and pressing back down onto the sheet halfway through. Let the granola cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container.
  2. Make the raspberry jam. Add all the ingredients but the vanilla and salt to a medium sauce pot on medium heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring and mashing raspberries occasionally. When the raspberries have broken down and the mixture has thickened, stir in the vanilla and salt and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container and storing in the fridge.
  3. Assemble parfait. Once the granola and jam have both cooled, pile both onto a bowl of plain Greek yogurt. I do 3/4 cup of yogurt, 2 tsp of jam, and 2 Tbsp of granola per serving. You will have extra granola.**

*The sunflower seeds added extra protein and healthy fat to this, but they’re not strictly necessary. Any combination of rolled oats, instant oats, sunflower seeds, and/or peanuts would work beautifully.
**Granola can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for several months or in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Jam can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Published by Bethy St. John

Lifelong picky eater with a love for all things cooking. I'm a complicated woman.

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