Endless Nutty Possibilities

spiced-baked-nutsNuts make great snacks — they’re delicious, they’re convenient to carry, and thanks to the fact that most varieties of nuts are mostly fat and protein, nuts are one of the most satisfying foods on the planet. But there is something better than plain nuts: DIY seasoned nuts! I say DIY because most commercially seasoned nuts are also coated with less-than-salutary oils that taste terrible and ruin the nutrition and flavor of the poor nuts.

If you make your own seasoned nuts, though, you can use extra-virgin olive oil or any unrefined oil of your choice. So much tastier! And you can add whatever seasonings strike your fancy, from herbs to seeds to nibs. Just be sure to start out with plain nuts. They don’t have to be raw, but they do need to be unoiled, unsalted, and unseasoned. Your creation deserves a beautiful blank slate! Feel free to use this recipe as an inspiration for mixing and matching your own blend of nuts and seasonings.

Sweet-Savory Spiced Nuts

This makes about 1 cup nuts; feel free to double or triple the recipe as you like.

1/2 cup pistachio meat

1/2 cup almonds

1 T. sweet paprika (or smoked, if you prefer smoked paprika)

2 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional, but adds a deep savoriness; look for this in health-oriented stores)

2 tsp. oregano

1 1/2 tsp. tamari (be sure to use wheat-free tamari if you’re making this gluten-free)

1 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 T. brown rice syrup OR 2 tsp. maple syrup (the brown rice syrup provides a slightly caramel backdrop, but the maple would also work)

Preheat oven to 300F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, using spoons to toss. Spread out on the foil/parchment and bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and use a wooden spoon to break up the nuts. (They will have clumped together during baking.) Bake another 5 minutes to finish drying them out. You don’t want to wind up with soggy nuts!

Let nuts cool completely before storing in an airtight container. If you’re going to eat them within a week or two, you can leave them at room temperature (ideal for taking on trips!); if you want to store them for more than two weeks, stash them in the fridge. Just don’t forget about them! Not that I think that will be a problem. If anything, you might have to make a second batch pretty soon.

Enjoy!

Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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