You know olive oil is good for you, right? As are certain kinds of nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, almonds? These olive oil roasted, sweet and just a little salty, spiced nuts are not just a squirrel’s delight — they have been described by members of my family and friends as downright addictive. How lovely to hear that about a snack that is as healthy as it is yummy. Make it with the nuts of your choice. Keep the nut types separate — or commingle, if you dare. I think these keep well, but frankly they have not lasted long enough around my place for me to know for sure.
Note that these nuts are spiced. They are NOT spicy. Numerous folks who have tasted them at my house have commented with things like “I can’t eat spicy foods, but I really like these. They have a lot of flavor without being at all hot.” In other words, don’t be afraid. You can handle these. Some of you may decide after your first batch to double the chili powder on subsequent batches of the spiced nuts. Have fun experimenting! I developed this recipe back in 2015 or so, and I’m getting ready to do some experimenting of my own. It is possible to toast plain nuts in an air fryer, so why not these spicy ones? I’m going to try it and let you know!
2 cups pecans (or walnuts, or almonds — or any combination of them)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3 packets of Splenda (or 2 Tbsp. sugar, if you prefer)
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line a baking pan/cookie sheet with foil. (You will be glad you did, when it comes time for cleanup!)
Get out a bowl big enough to hold the ingredients and put the nuts in the bowl first and coat them with the olive oil. In a separate small bowl, mix together the salt, Splenda/sugar, chili powder, and black pepper. Then sprinkle that mixture over the nuts and toss well. I put my food prep gloves on and get in there and just play with those nuts!
Pour the nuts onto the foil-wrapped baking sheet and place them into the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Eat the spiced nuts warm (they are a little soft that way), or allow them to come to room temperature and crisp back up. I suspect you will need to try a few fresh from the oven because they will make your kitchen smell so good!
Try different types of chili powder. We’ve used regular and we’ve used ancho. Next, I’m going to give a chipotle chili seasoning a whirl. I’ll report back on how that works out.
This recipe doubles well. We had no problems with making double, and even triple batches. A suggestion, however. To keep it all straight when you are doubling or tripling, print the recipe out and, on your paper copy, write the new quantities. On one double batch, some of the ingredients were doubled, while others were not. It was . . . interesting. They got eaten, trust me, but you want them to be made correctly and writing down the doubled or tripled amounts of each ingredient will keep you focused.