Honey Za’atar Roasted Cashews
Contrary to whatever the holiday carols say, I must insist that autumn is in fact the most wonderful time of the year. The air is fresh and sweet, your hair stops frizzing, the leaves are pretty, Halloween happens, and DID I MENTION YOUR HAIR STOPS FRIZZING?!?! It’s also a free pass to become totally basic for two months out of the year, because everyone else is being basic too. Basically.
Part of me isn’t ready to let go of summer, though. With new school years come new responsibilities, and with this specific school year comes a new degree and decisions I don’t particularly feel like making yet. I mean seriously, didn’t I just graduate college? Wasn’t I JUST an unfertilized egg? EVERYTHING IS STRESSFUL.
And what do you do when you’re stressed out? Eat a SNACK, duh. Kidding. Kind of… But if you’re going to stress-snack, you might as well go for something healthy, like veggies, fruit, or a handful of nuts.
And this month, the Recipe Redux theme invited us to go “nuts,” because tomorrow is NATIONAL NUT DAY! Does this mean we get to celebrate BEING nuts as well as nuts of the edible variety? Either way, count me in.
And so, we have this amazing, good-for-you snack. These cashews have only FOUR ingredients and roast up super fast. Warm, cozy, crunchy, crackly, and cold-weather appropriate, they would make great coffee table hors d’oeuvres at any holiday party! But in keeping with my denial that this year is actually happening, I wanted to bring this snack back a few months to my summer trip to Israel.
It was in Israel that I experienced the magic of za’atar for the first time. Za’atar is a middle eastern seasoning blend with herbs like hyssop, thyme, or oregano, with some sumac, salt, and sesame seeds thrown in. Unfortunately, even though I passed mountains upon mountains of za’atar in EVERY SINGLE SHUK, I was apparently too preoccupied stocking up on shredded halva and pomegranate liqueur to bring any back. Biggest regret of 2015, not exaggerating.
Za’atar can be found easily in the states though, or you can make it yourself. But however you go about getting za’atar, I highly recommend putting it on ALL THE THINGS once you have it. I have been sprinkling it on my eggs every morning, mixing it with yogurt to shmear on sandwiches, throwing it in salads and dressings, and adding it to hummus. And as za’atar does in this recipe, it can complement sweet flavors very well. We went to an organic farm in the Negev desert where we actually took sticks dipped in honey and coated them in za’atar. It was so simple, but the sweet, floral honey with the herbacious, salty za’atar was unforgettably tasty. And so, we have the inspiration for honey za’atar roasted nuts.
You can use whatever nuts you like – I love the creamy, mild taste of cashews, but you can choose whichever you like. You can even combine whatever you have in the house!
- 1 lb. raw, unsalted cashews
- 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbs. honey
- 2 tsp. za'atar (plus 1/2 tsp for sprinkling)
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Mix olive oil, honey, and 2 tsp. of za'atar.
- In a separate large bowl, pour honey mixture over nuts and toss to coat.
- Spread cashews onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp za'atar.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven to toss cashews, and return to oven for another 6-8 minutes, or until golden.
- Za'atar already contains a healthy amount of salt, so I didn't add any. If you're going for a more savory roasted cashew, feel free to add some. If you're going for a sweeter flavor, try adding cinnamon or a small amount of brown sugar.
- For a vegan option, use maple syrup or date honey.