Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .
Well, okay, more like cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts roasting in the oven. If sweets aren’t your thing, but you’re still looking for a healthy snack and/or dessert alternative for the holidays, look no further! These roasted nuts are the perfect combination of spicy and slightly sweet, and boy-oh-boy will your home smell amazing. Roasted nuts, made with the proper ingredients, are also full of health benefits.
Most candied and spiced nuts are made with white sugar; but, there is really no need for that. Four simple nuts and four simple spices, plus a natural sweetener, is all you need. I like mixed nuts because they all offer different textures and health properties. Cashews are rich in important vitamins and minerals. Almonds are high in protein and fiber. Pecans are rich in age-defying antioxidants. Walnuts are high in Omega-3’s, super important for brain health. And all nuts are a source of healthy fats, important to aid in heart health, weight loss, and weight management.
Using a combination of spices, from hot to mild to sweet, also play different health roles. Hot spices, like cayenne, assist in speeding up our metabolism. While the sweet spice, cinnamon, helps balance out blood sugar levels. And many spices, including cumin, aid in digestion and support our immune system by clearing out toxins. The one other seasoning I like to use is Himalayan pink salt. I use this specific salt over white sea salt or table salt because it is the purest form of salt, where table salt is heavily processed. Additionally, pink salt improves respiratory problems, balances the body’s pH, is a natural digestive aid, and is a better sleep inducer due to its high mineral content. Lastly, I finish my roasted nut mixture with a generous drizzle of raw honey for natural sweetness.
Let that baby hang out in the oven for 45-minutes and your home will smell as warm and inviting as it feels. Once the nuts are cooled, store in airtight containers to maintain freshness. If serving when company comes over, this is the perfect snack to put out around your house in a few decorative bowls. Even better, scoop some in tiny cellophane gift bags and hand out as end-of-the-night part favors or add as a sweet (and spicy) surprise to gifts.
Everyone will be so impressed with the decadent flavor, and no one has to know how little prep it takes. The holidays are about relaxing and spending time with loved ones. Cooking can be a wonderful family activity, but having some quick and easy recipes on hand also leaves time for doing all the other relaxing activities you so deserve.
Happy Holidays, little clementines! Wishing you all a warm, toasty, relaxing, and delicious season.