Nuts – A Great Source of Vitamins, Antioxidants, Fiber & Healthy Fat – Great Recipes for Roasting!

January 6th, 2018

Nuts are nutritious snacks which have been linked to lower cholesterol, better heart health, weight control, and even a lower cancer risk.  Compared to people who avoid nuts,  those who eat nuts on a regular basis also tend to have:

Lower systolic blood pressure
Fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome and a lower risk for diabetes
Better cardiovascular health
Reduced mortality risk by 23%
Greater longevity

 

A 30-year long Harvard study found that:

People who ate a small handful (approximately 1 ounce or 28 grams) of nuts seven times per week or more were 20 percent less likely to die for any reason, compared to those who avoided nuts.

Eating nuts at least five times per week was associated with a 29 percent drop in mortality risk from heart disease, and an 11 percent drop in mortality risk from cancer.A Dutch study of 120,000 men and women ages55-69 for 10 years researchers found that people who ate just 10 grams of nuts each day had a 23 percent lower risk of death from any cause.A Dutch study of 120,000 men and women ages 55-69 for 10 years researchers found that:

People who ate just 10 grams of nuts each day had a 23 percent lower risk of death from any cause.
43 percent decrease in neurological disease, 30 percent decrease in diabetes and 39 percent decrease in respiratory disease plus fewer deaths due to cancer and heart disease.Nuts per ounce (28.5 grams):
49 pistachios, 23 almonds, 10 macadamia, 20 pecans halves, 16 cashews, 14 walnut halves, 16 cashews

RAW NUTS VERSUS DRY ROASTED/SALTED NUTS 

I don’t know how many people actually monitor their daily salt intake, but limiting salt consumption to no more than 2,500 mg/day is recommended.   For those who are sensitive to salt for blood pressure reasons, perhaps no more than 1,500 mg/day is better, and eating raw forms of nuts would be preferable.

But studies have shown that dry roasting of most nuts does not reduce their health benefits.
So if you like the taste of raw nuts, go with them but if you don’t, then dry roasted nuts that are either not salted or lightly salted are the way to go. Either way you get in your daily one ounce of your favorite nuts.

I suggest switching between your favorite nut choices because they all have slightly different nutritional make-up.  Pecans for example, a one ounce serving of pecans includes over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc.  Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ranked pecans in the top 20 out of 100 foods for antioxidant capacity.  Walnuts contain a number of neuro-protective compounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants.

HOW TO ROAST NUTS AND TASTY RECIPES:

Below you will find tasty recipes for; Rosemary Roasted Walnuts, Roasted Almonds with Honey & Cinnamon, Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts, Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans, Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds and more.

Roasted nuts are delicious and make healthy snacks, party treats and great gifts.  Roasting nuts deepens their flavor making them even more nutty and complex.

Dry Roasting vs. Roasting
There are two basic ways to roast nuts in the oven – dry or with a small amount of oil. Roasting nuts with a touch of oil is a really nice way to add flavor and crispness. You can use a neutral oil like grape seed oil, or match the oil to the nut such as almond oil or walnut oil. Various spices can also be added to the oil for flavored nuts. Roasting in oil is great when adding nuts to salads, or when using as a garnish. Dry roast the nuts if they are going to be used in baking recipes because the extra oiliness can throw off the recipe.
If a recipe requires chopped, roasted nuts, chop AFTER roasting as it is easy to burn chopped nuts during the roasting process. Warm nuts also chop more cleanly and with less flaking.
ROASTING NUTS IN OIL
Ingredients:
Nuts (any amount)
Oil (a neutral oil such as grape seed or a nut oil, almond, walnut etc.)

Equipment:
Heavy baking tray or cake pan
Plate or tray for cooling

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Spread nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet.
If you are roasting the nuts with oil, drizzle a small amount over the nuts and toss to coat evenly. A cake pan can be used for small amounts allowing you to shake the pan to evenly distribute them.
Use as little oil as possible, starting with just a teaspoon or two.
Roast in oven for 5 minutes.
Remove after 5 minutes to check, and stir so that the outer nuts are moved towards the middle and the middle nuts are moved towards the edges. If using a cake tin, gently shake to redistribute.
Check the nuts again after 3 minutes. You are looking for the color to be a few shades darker. Return to the oven and check again in 3 more minutes. If they need longer, give another stir. Nuts rarely take longer than 15 minutes to properly roast, usually closer to 8 to 12 minutes.
Check for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool by immediately transferring to another plate or baking sheet. DO NOT COOL ON THE TRAY THEY WERE BAKED ON or you run the risk of scorching them.
ENJOY!
Note: While roasting, nuts can go from “just right” to “burnt” in under a minute… so monitor carefully.

Tasty Variations – Roasted Nut Recipes
Sweet and Spicy Party Nuts, Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon, Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts, Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts, Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds, Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans, Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds and more…

You may use any type of nut or combination with the recipes below.

Recipe #1 – Roasted Almonds with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients:

¼ cup honey
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
12 ounces shelled almonds
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoon salt
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner. In a skillet warm honey, cinnamon and ginger over low heat, stirring until combined. Add almonds and stir to coat almonds. Remove from heat. Sprinkle in brown sugar and salt and combine. Spread coated almonds on lined baking sheet and bake at 325-degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Slightly adjust cook time to toasted/roasted preference. Allow to cool, tossing a couple of times as they cool to avoid them sticking together. Break apart once cooled before storing.

Recipe #2 – Spiced Rosemary and Thyme Nuts 

Ingredients:

3 c. large whole nuts – such as 1 c. cashews, 1 c. pecans, and 1 c. almonds
2 T. olive oil
2 T. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300°. Place nuts in a medium heat-proof bowl. Pour oil into a small heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat until warm. Do not let it get too hot – the oil will burn. Add rosemary and thyme and stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in cumin and cayenne pepper. Pour the flavored oil over the nuts and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir again. Transfer to a jelly roll pan or a baking pan with sides. Bake for about 15 minutes total, stirring after the first 10 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

 

Recipe #3 – Italian Rosemary Garlic Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you could cut the amount of olive oil in half, if preferable)
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 teaspoons flaky sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix up the nuts in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mix the olive oil with the seasonings. Pour the oil mixture over the nut mixture and stir to coat all the nuts. Spread the nuts out onto a rimmed baking sheet. A 11 x 15 jelly roll pan works really well for this. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the nuts are lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

 

Recipe #4 – Maple-Chipotle Spiced Nuts

Ingredients:

2 (6-ounce) packages pecan halves
1 (6-ounce) can whole natural almonds
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 egg whites
Cooking spray
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine pecans, almonds and next 3 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir in maple syrup and egg whites, stirring well. Spread evenly onto a foil-lined baking sheet coated well with cooking spray. Bake at 325 F for 10 minutes. Stir mixture and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Cool and break into pieces, if needed.

Recipe #5 – Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp. agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions:
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, pour 1 cup almonds into a large mixing bowl. Add your cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt — toss to coat. Drizzle the agave and vanilla extract on the almonds and stir until all almonds are coated with the spices and sweetener. Spray a foil lined cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the almonds on the sheet in a single layer. Cook for 15-20 minutes, flipping once, until almonds are roasted. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Recipe #6 – Maple Citrus Roasted Pecans

Ingredients:

8 ounces raw pecan halves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B – the darker, more flavorful syrup)
pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon orange extract
pinch of ground ginger
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Place nuts in a single layer on a parchment or Silpat lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until fragrant about 10 minutes. Flip once during with a pair of tongs. Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan bring the rest of the ingredients to a boil over medium high heat. Turn off the heat. Toss roasted pecans in the mixture with a heat proof spatula. Evenly spread the pecans back onto the lined cookie tray. Be sure they are in a single layer. Bake nuts for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let the nuts cool before serving. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe #7 – Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts

Ingredients:

1 cup untoasted walnut halves
1 cup untoasted pecan halves
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted almonds
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted cashews
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine walnut halves, pecan halves, almonds, and cashews in a large bowl. Add salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Heat the sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. Slowly pour butter mixture over the bowl of nuts and stir to coat. Transfer nuts to the prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Bake nuts in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Stir nuts until the warm syrup coats every nut. Spread into a single layer, return to the oven, and bake until nuts are sticky and roasted, about 6 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

Recipe #8 – Rosemary Roasted Walnuts

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups walnuts
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the olive oil, rosemary, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine well.

 

Recipe #9 – Barbecue Roasted Mixed Nuts

Ingredients:

3 c. mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts etc.)
1 egg white
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Instructions:
Heat oven to 325°F. Line 15x10x1-inch baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, extending foil over edges.
Melt butter in oven in foil-lined pan. Combine sugar, espresso powder, cinnamon and salt in bowl; set aside. Place egg whites into bowl. Beat at high speed, scraping bowl often, until soft peaks form. Continue beating, gradually adding sugar mixture, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in nuts and orange zest. Spread nut mixture over melted butter in pan. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, 25-30 minutes or until nuts are browned and no butter remains. Cool completely. Store in container with tight-fitting lid.

Recipe #10 – Cocoa Cardamom Espresso Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (for a more subtle cardamom flavor, use just 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3 cups raw almonds
Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 275°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon liner or parchment paper, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cardamom, and salt. Whisk to remove any lumps. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla bean paste until frothy. Add the almonds and toss in the egg mixture. Pour the sugar and cocoa mixture into the almonds and stir until the almonds are evenly coated. Transfer the almonds to the prepared baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Roast for about 40 – 45 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet, continuing to stir occasionally. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe #11 – Chai Spiced Roasted Almonds

Ingredients:

3 cups whole almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Few drops of water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon chai spice mix (or half cinnamon, half ginger would work)
Pinch salt
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white, vanilla bean paste, and water until frothy. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, chai spice mix, and salt. Add the almonds to the whisked egg mixture and stir to evenly coat all of the almonds. Add the sugar and spice mixture, and toss until all of the almonds are covered. Spread the almonds out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring twice. Spread the almonds out on waxed paper or parchment paper to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Not only are roasted nuts great snacks and party treats, they make great gifts. Place in small half pint mason jars, labeled and decorated, or in plastic bags tied up with ribbon.

 

To the Best of Health,

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.