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Spiced nuts

written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.

I was looking for a spiced nut recipe to match one we had recently at The Little Beet - slivered almonds with turmeric and pepper. I couldn't find anything equivalent so I combined several recipes that seemed interesting, and added turmeric..

I used all the nuts and seeds below, in similar proportions, but with overflowing measures, and threw in a handful of walnuts and hazelnuts (just because I could). I wanted to see how the spices were taken up by the different nuts. I've made this 4 times in the past week or two - because it keeps disappearing! Now I focus more on the slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds as they taste best, but any nuts you prefer would work. I've gradually increased the turmeric and cayenne to the quantities listed below, but again, they're up for adjustment depending on your taste.

The truth is, nuts with maple syrup and salt can't be bad. But a prior attempt with turmeric and nuts were too heavily coated and somewhat bitter. So try this combination!  Other herbs can be tried as well.

Turmeric is a rhizome, a thinner, more orange version of ginger. Its active ingredient is curcumin, an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It has been used by traditional healers for thousands of years, for everything from digestive issues to wound healing to headaches and blood flow, even to slow tumor growth. To date, it has not been proven in studies to be helpful for any of these purposes. Cooking with turmeric is fine, but using it as a supplement can have a downside. It can potentially interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, be a problem in the setting of gallstones or kidney disease, and cause bleeding. 

Ingredients :

1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup pistachios
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary and 1 Tbsp thyme chopped finely - or substitute about 1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary and thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste (I used freshly ground salt from Peru)
Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Combine nuts and seeds in a medium-sized bowl. Add the maple syrup and spices and salt and toss to combine.
3) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, then transfer coated nuts to baking sheet and spread evenly in 1 layer. Bake 12-15 minutes, stirring once, until nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted.  Watch them carefully, as nuts can go from toasted to burnt quickly).

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