Recipe: Spicy Nuts

Spiced Almonds

My idea of a great salad is one that is so full of stuff that it’s no longer diet food. I am a huge advocate for properly made croutons, I love a shredded cheese, and a flavorful nut is pretty much the perfect example of what I’m talking about. All together it defeats the purpose of ordering a salad if your goal is calorie counting. But if your goal is eating a whole lot of good tasting stuff, you will achieve it.

I hear there are some people who actually eat nuts when they’re not surrounded by a variety of greens. Some people keep bowls of almonds at their workstation for that midafternoon pickmeup, while I’m currently staring at a basket full of two different kinds of SweetTarts.

With the holidays here and guests always needing something delicious to munch on while they wait for the main course, I decided to see if I could make a nut taste delicious enough to make me put down my candy in favor of a healthier snack, and then use that nut in a salad perfect for your fall table.

Spiced Nuts
1 egg white
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ancho chili pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
18 oz almonds

Whip the egg white until it is foamy, then toss in all the other spices. Mix together until the sugar dissolves and you make a paste. Add the almonds and stir to coat.

Spread out in one even layer over a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 290. If you’d like you can start at a higher temperature – I started at 350 – to give the nuts a little toasting, but watch them closely and turn down the heat so you don’t burn the sugar.

With this same technique you can make any flavor of nuts you want. Oregano and grated Parmesan would be outrageously good, or you could make something super spicy to satisfy your personal favorite heat level.

Next week I’ll be sharing how I used these nuts in a salad, but until then, I’m going to get to snacking.