More Than Just A Snack

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by: The Propa Eats Team

Roast­ed Nuts

Roast­ed nuts can do a lot more than just sti­fle your hunger; they can add valu­able tex­ture, smok­i­ness and pro­tein to many dish­es.

Roast­ed nuts are a fa­mil­iar food item. Whether you pur­chase a pack of nuts bought from the brave men on the high­way or throw a clear bot­tle of salty, roast­ed nuts in your shop­ping cart, there’s no deny­ing that the smoky and crunchy nuts are not on­ly a sat­is­fy­ing snack but a much-need­ed hunger and bore­dom filler dur­ing hard times. But first, let’s take a look at how easy it is to make your own roast­ed nuts at home.

Roast At Home

Why would you roast at home when you can eas­i­ly pur­chase at the gro­cery store? Well for one, it’s more cost-ef­fec­tive. Sec­ond­ly, the re­sults are far bet­ter. Roast­ed nuts from the store are usu­al­ly not roast­ed enough, too salty or too pep­pery. By roast­ing them at home, you not on­ly achieve that cov­et­ed char that packs a tonne of flavour but, you can al­so sea­son it how­ev­er you please.

Method 1: Stove Top

This method pro­duces un­even toast­ing, but it’s a love­able in­con­sis­ten­cy—the type where you’re not sure how toast­ed each nut will be and en­joy the vary­ing flavours. We don’t rec­om­mend toast­ing nuts to be used for bak­ing or cook­ing like this as it may hin­der the qual­i­ty of the dish.

Start in a dry, heavy iron pot. Sea­son the nuts with salt (if you want them salt­ed) be­fore toast­ing them as the oil re­leased by the nuts dur­ing cook­ing al­lows the salt to ad­here bet­ter to the nuts and thus, sea­son it more ef­fec­tive­ly. Over medi­um to medi­um-high heat, add nuts and pe­ri­od­i­cal­ly turn and let roast. The nuts touch­ing the bot­tom of the pot will roast first. The nuts should start to smell toasty and nut­ty.

Method 2: Oven

Choose this method if you’re a stick­ler for con­sis­ten­cy, even brown­ing and have a lack of de­sire to stand over a hot pot turn­ing nuts. This method will pro­duce gold­en-brown, per­fect­ly roast­ed nuts per­fect for sprin­kling over sal­ads or ice-cream.

Pre­heat your oven to 350ºF. In a dry bak­ing sheet, add nuts and sea­son with salt, if you pre­fer. Roast in the oven for 5 to 10 min­utes, toss­ing once or twice dur­ing this time. Re­move the nuts from the oven when they turn gold­en-brown and let them cool. The nuts will con­tin­ue to cook for a bit af­ter you have re­moved them.

Cook­ing times for both meth­ods will vary de­pend­ing on the type of nut.

Salt isn’t the on­ly sea­son­ing that blends with nuts. Chan­don beni, de­hy­drat­ed gar­lic, black pep­per and pep­per flakes are just some of the oth­er savoury sea­son­ings that can be used on nuts. Ad­di­tion­al­ly, sug­ar, cin­na­mon and hon­ey would be great for sweet nuts.

How To Use Them

Sal­ads

Sal­ads crave crunch. This is usu­al­ly where crou­tons come in, how­ev­er, for a health­i­er, more flavour­ful and more nu­tri­tious sub­sti­tute use roast­ed nuts. You can cus­tomise their flavour by pur­chas­ing or mak­ing them in a va­ri­ety of flavours (think, spicy, hon­ey-roast­ed or plain). Roast­ed peanuts are tra­di­tion­al in­gre­di­ents in the Thai sal­ad, tom sum and work well in sal­ads with Asian flavours. Be­sides fresh sal­ads, nuts can al­so add tex­ture to veg­etable side dish­es like roast­ed sweet pota­toes and sautéed broc­coli.

Crusts

Crush roast­ed peanuts in a bag with the back of a pan or in a food proces­sor. Use them ei­ther mixed with Panko bread­crumbs or alone as a crust for chick­en and fish. The crunch is much deep­er and the flavour is, of course, a lot nut­ti­er. On a sweet­er note, ground roast­ed nuts would be a great ad­di­tion to pie or tart crusts. It’s a gluten-free op­tion and packs in flavour in what can be a some­times flavour­less part of the pie.

Top­pings

Chopped roast­ed nuts (if mak­ing your own, chop af­ter roast­ing) are un­sur­pris­ing­ly de­li­cious over ice-cream sun­daes, ba­nana splits, frost­ed cakes or re­al­ly any type of mushy dessert that would do well with a tex­tur­al change. The salt in salt­ed, roast­ed nuts al­so adds an ad­di­tion­al di­men­sion to the flavour of a sweet dessert.

Baked Desserts

Adding roast­ed, chopped nuts to ba­nana bread, cook­ies, cakes and muffins can break the mo­not­o­nous tex­ture of flour bat­ters. Ground, roast­ed nuts can be sub­sti­tut­ed for flour in some bat­ters and dough. They add a more mealy tex­ture and pro­vide earth­i­er notes of flavour.

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