Nuts. A healthy and filling snack. Nuts are a great source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. Almonds are the highest in calcium of all nuts and and studies have shown that they can reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol which is particularly harmful to heart health. Pecans and walnuts have also been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels and contain compounds that act as antioxidants. Walnuts, one of my favorites, may help to reduce inflammation which can contribute to many chronic diseases. A study of college students found that eating walnuts increased cognition, suggesting they may have beneficial effects on the brain. Walnuts are supposed to be the top nut for brain health. That’s probably why I like them so much! I’ve always been told that fish was brain food. But maybe it’s really nuts!
Considering all of the health benefits, snacking on a handful of nuts each day, unless, of course, you have an allergy to tree nuts, is a good thing. Eating nuts that are covered in chocolate might, however, cancel out the health benefits. And while raw nuts are probably best, nuts that have been roasted with a little sea salt are ever so much better tasting. My friend Jane gave me this quick and simple recipe for roasting nuts. They are excellent!
5 cups of raw nuts – I used pecans and almonds
1 1/2 T HOT water
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 T olive oil
Preheat your oven to 375.
Measure out your nuts into a large metal bowl.
Whisk together the 1 1/2 tsp of salt and the HOT water together until the salt is dissolved.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon pour the salt water over the nuts and stir well.
Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and spread the nuts out in a single layer.
Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir, and bake for an additional 8 minutes. Depending on your oven temperature you may want to bake them for a couple more minutes. You can sample a couple after 15-16 minutes remembering that once they cool they will crisp up a little more. After baking return the hot nuts to the bowl and stir in the 2 T of olive oil and additional sea salt to taste. Spread the nuts back out on the parchment covered pan and allow them to cool completely. Once cooled store them in an airtight container.
NOTE: I used raw almonds and pecans but any kind of raw nut would be good.
These nuts were so good I decided that some other flavor profiles might work as well. I did a second batch adding 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the 2 T of olive oil and sprinkling 1 T of cinnamon and 2 T of superfine sugar on the hot nuts. I could have added even a little more vanilla and cinnamon.
If you like things kicked up a bit, 1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne pepper added to the sea salt at the end may be another good choice.
If you don’t have superfine salt or sugar on hand you can use a coffee grinder or mini food processor to accomplish a fine grind.
As with any recipe, you’re only limited by your imagination.