Herbed Walnuts

Welcome to another edition of The Recipe Redux!  For this month, “Green with Herb Envy” was the name of the challenge.  Spring is officially upon us…although for some of you it may be hard to believe as you look out the window and see snow covered grounds.  Here in Texas, the temperature has been in the 80s lately.  I know…foreshadowing of another brutal summer to come.  While I’m not ready for the heat just yet, I am looking forward to all the greens sprouting up like nobody’s business.  I mean, I love you sweet potatoes, squash, and all you not so attractive root veggies, but I’m ready to see some fresh greens ;).

The challenge was to use a fresh green herb in a nontraditional way, which means sprinkling it on top of pastas or various dishes won’t work.  Eeks!  I was in trouble since that’s basically all I do with them.  Not to mention the only herbs that I really use are basil, cilantro…ummm basil (sheepishly).

I’ve heard that herbs are super easy to grow and bullet-proof…so then why do they all commit suicide under my care?  Is there really no hope for me?

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While I like to modify recipes to my liking, this was not the time to do so since I lack the knowledge pertaining to various herb food pairings, applications, flavor profiles, etc.  Hence, I searched high and low for a recipe that intrigued me.  After what seemed like an eternity, I finally found one…walnuts with rosemary and thyme!  I would never have thought of this combination.  Check it out!

IMG_9168-4 blogRosemary and Thyme Walnuts

from Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 5 tsp olive oil
  • 5 tsp pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a bowl, whisk together: olive oil, maple syrup, cayenne pepper.  Stir in 1 Tbs of rosemary and 2 tsp of thyme.  Add walnut halves.  Toss well to coat.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake until fragrant and crisp, 10-12 min.  As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp thyme and salt.  Cool completely.

herb

The only time rosemary and thyme make it into my food is at Thanksgiving.  Tim and I are not huge fans of these woody and fragrant herbs; granted we haven’t really given them a chance.  I remember being absolutely appalled by cilantro, but now it’s a staple at my house.  In any case, the aroma was such a delight..I can see myself sniffing them in times of great stress from now on ;).

PicMonkey Collage

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Nuts, in general, are nutrient-dense foods.  They are great sources of protein, healthy fat, fiber, a wide variety of nutrients (folic acid, niacin, vitamin E…), minerals (calcium, potassium, magnesium…), phenolic compounds, and phytoesterol (which has been shown to interfere with cholesterol absorption and help lower blood cholesterol).

While they are high in calories and fat, evidence from both epidemiological studies and clinical trials, shows that their regular consumption does not contribute to obesity nor increases the risk of developing diabetes.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we are encouraged to consume more good fats and plant-based protein sources in our diet.  Out of all the nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acid, specifically the alpha-linolenic acid (which gets converted to EPA and DHA).  They also provide 4 grams per ounce of protein and are naturally sodium and cholesterol free.  While I can suggest a ton of research articles for you to read if you’d like more information (this one I particularly liked), walnuts.org has some excellent information as well as delicious recipes and helpful tips.

So how many walnuts should you consume in a day?  About 1 to 1.5 ounces which is about a handful (14-21 halves).  However, don’t forget – everything in moderation!  Practice portion control and eat sensibly, keeping in mind that too much of a good thing can also cause harm.  I definitely have to be intentional about this.  Ask Tim who  believes I may have been a squirrel in my past life.

I normally purchase walnuts in bulk from Costco and freeze them for easy snacking.  While I usually enjoy them raw, this recipe inspired me to spice it up from time to time.

These walnuts looked and tasted quite fancy and made me feel sophisticated ;).  So I’ve learned… rosemary and thyme aren’t just for stuffing and pork.  Together with the spiciness from the cayenne pepper,  sweetness from the syrup, and the obvious nuttiness from the walnuts, this is one exquisite treat.  I actually had to stop Tim from munching on more than his allotted portion.  I immediately thought this would be a great complement to wine.  Of course, Tim thought beer.  I see a wine and beer night in our near future ;).

As always, check out how the other Reduxers did on this challenge!


– What are some unique ways you enjoy herbs?

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15 Responses to Herbed Walnuts

  1. This is such a great idea Min, I would never thought of using herbs and nuts together like this! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. I wish the portion size for nuts were lot more than that. I just cant stop sometimes 😦 As much I love them plain, toasted its nice to spice things up. Happy Spring – I am really enjoying this weather.

  3. This is amazing Min! I love walnuts but I absolutely adore the combination of honey/syrup with fresh herbs! 🙂 plus i think its a wonderful thing you’re doing with reduction redux! keep it up!

  4. I have a bag of walnuts in my pantry right now that I was hoping to use this weekend. This will be perfect!!

  5. Melanie says:

    I love all your beautiful pictures and the walnuts look amazing!!

  6. Kym says:

    That looks delicious and i can almost smell it coming out of the oven. *YUM* I haven’t played around much with herbs, i think the only time i’ve used it in a nontraditional way was when i made pesto.. does that count!? 😛

  7. Oh my! Kind of love everything about these nuts — all of my favorites wrapped up in one delicious package. Definitely going to give these a try!

  8. Those look so good, Min! Your recipes are always so creative 🙂 I happen to have all the ingredients on hand, so I’ll be making a batch this weekend. The nutritional information on nuts was really interesting…it’s so amazing to see how your blog has evolved and how you’re incorporating your passions into it! Hope you have a great weekend, Min!

  9. Oh, fantastic! What a great idea! I have never thought of doing herbed nuts like this but now you’e pointed it out to me, it sounds like the perfect way to prepare them 🙂 Thanks for the idea Min x

  10. serena says:

    Just reading this post…I’m starting to smell my house filling with delicious aromas! Love that you were a squirrel in a former life…me too!

  11. Hi Min!!

    Love and miss you love! I am wishing you good luck! I got your comment on my blog!! You are almost done!!

    These look amazing!!! I have never seen this flavor nuts, and would buy in a second if I did!!!

    Happy Sunday! ❤

  12. I’m ready to move in with you, Min! Warm 80-degree weather sounds like a LOVELY reprieve from the 30-degree temperatures (and snow!) we had this weekend. Where is spring?! Oh, right. It’s in Texas, that’s where! If you’ll have me, I’ll also happily be a guinea pig taste-tester in your kitchen. 😉

    Oh my goodness…Not only do these walnuts look amazing, the flavor profile sounds incredibly delicious, too! I love all fresh herbs, especially when they’re paired with salty and sweet contrasts in salad dressings. I would have never thought to roast them with nuts, though! Yum!

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend, my friend! I miss you! Please fill me in on your plans for the summer…any chance you’ll be on the east coast? Are you going to HLS this year?

    Love you! ❤ xoxo

  13. Oh heavenly yum!!! Love this combo with walnuts – they are usually not my “go-to” nut – I’m more of a pecan, pistachio & peanut kind of gal but I cannot wait to make these. I had to giggle over your “why do my herbs always commit suicide?” because I can so relate. I have a big old black thumb – even kill mint, that apparently is like a weed. My best success has been to take the extra herb sprigs I get from the store (rosemary & oregano have worked best for me) and keep them in a small vase of water. They sprout roots and grow a bit – I’m terrified to transfer them to dirt because I know that will be their demise but this way I get a little more out of them 🙂

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