Bad Seed’s Chili Granola

A spicy but sweet treat co-created by respected NYC chef Sara Jenkins and app developer Peter Cortez

by Jenny Miller

Bad-Seeds-chili-granola-jar1.jpg bad-seeds-chili-granola-watermelon2.jpg

Occasionally an idea comes along that’s so good it seems astounding nobody’s thought of it before. This just happens to be the case with Chili Granola, a new product from Brooklyn-based company Bad Seed—a joint endeavor helmed by New York chef Sara Jenkins (who lists Porchetta and Porsena on her resumé) and smartphone app developer Peter Cortez, among others. The blend is exactly what it sounds like: a sampling of Chinese-style chili oil and chili paste mixed with a puffed rice- and hempseed-based granola. Though the namesake ingredient may sound intimidating, rest easy knowing there’s enough sweetness from coconut and brown sugar to balance all the flavors out.

Cortez got the idea for the product from a granola-topped açai bowl he tried in Santa Barbara. “I liked the light airiness of that granola,” he tells CH. And so, he approached Jenkins (a friend and colleague on the New Italian Pantry app) and together they developed the recipe. “We worked on it a lot so the granola doesn’t get soggy,” Cortez explains. “It has these clusters—we call them ‘flavor bombs.’ It isn’t just one note of hotness or smokiness.”


Cortez likes his Chili Granola on breakfast tacos, or on a salad of watermelon, feta and mint. Jenkins sprinkles some on her morning Greek yogurt. “It’s crunchy and spicy, but with this funky undercurrent of ginger and onion. It’s very complicated yet deeply satisfying,” she says. Regardless of application method, Bad Seed’s Chili Granola sells at a reasonable price—$11 from online food retailer Mouth and in-store at both Marlow & Daughters and Depanneur, where it’s been routinely selling out.

Images courtesy of Bad Seed