When our founder, Nina, created what’s now the “Ultimate Salad Bowl” recipe, she converted some of the biggest salad skeptics and transformed plenty of picky eaters. We think it’s the sweet and savory honey-glazed candied nuts that moved it from delicious to downright crave-worthy. Here we share with you how to make That Salad Lady’s signature candied nuts, or “sweet nuts” as her family, friends and followers call them.
Our wholesome and sweet honey-glazed candied nuts recipe starts with a combination of walnuts, almonds and pecans, which are “candied” with an oh-so-delicious mix of honey, olive oil and freshly squeezed citrus juices. The candying process is very simple. We just let all the glaze ingredients ooze into the nuts and then oven roast them to a candy. That’s it! Best of all, every single ingredient used for the recipe is nutritionally beneficial.
THE BALANCING ACT
It might come as a surprise that we’re suggesting “sweet nuts” as a salad topper. Believe it or not, sweet treats can be a valuable source of health-promoting nutrients. Our recipe specifically calls for using honey as a base. While largely comprised of natural sugars, unlike refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, honey contains a unique combination of phytonutrients that function as powerful antioxidants.
By virtue of its antioxidant potential, honey has been proven to be especially beneficial in managing chronic diseases, including heart disease, various cancers and even diabetes. Despite the sugars it contains, compared to refined sugars, consuming honey causes much smaller spikes in blood sugar levels. It also houses essential hormones that suppress hunger and appetite in ways that reduce overeating and prevent excess weight gain.
When it comes to incorporating honey and other natural sweeteners into your diet, moderation is key.
Below we suggest a sensible portion of honey for our candied nuts recipe – just enough to complement the savory and fruity flavors of all the other nutritious ingredients. If you’re carbohydrate counting, candied nuts are probably not the best option for you, unless of course you incorporate cheat meals or cheat days. Otherwise, if your diet is more all-inclusive this recipe is indeed a must try!
Let’s talk more about what’s in the honey-glazed candied nuts recipe and why.
A Few of the World’s Healthiest Nuts
All nuts are packed full of fiber, good fats, protein, and essential micronutrients. Each type, however, has its own special qualities, especially the walnuts, almonds and pecans we suggest for this recipe. For instance, unlike other types of nuts that primarily contain monounsaturated fats, walnuts are also a dense source of omega-3s, which come with added health benefits.
Additionally, while almonds are an exceptionally rich source of vitamin E (a fat-soluble vitamin), pecans contain more antioxidants than any other tree nut (yes, nuts grow on trees).
While our candied nuts recipe calls for a combination of walnuts, almonds and pecans, just one or two will suffice. If you don’t have any of these, you can use whichever types you have. Just be sure they’re raw or dry roasted and unsalted so you can control the flavors. All nuts come with nutritional benefits and a little goes a very long way. Regardless of your combination, we suggest moderate portions.
100% Pure, Raw and Unfiltered Honey
In combination with nuts, honey provides superior satiation (filling effects) along with countless health and nutritional benefits, many of which we’ve already highlighted above. But the benefits only apply to 100% pure honey as most phytonutrients are lost when it’s overly processed. Many commercial honeys contain a lot of artificial ingredients with only traces of the real natural sweetener (check out our Nutrition Glossary to learn more about honey).
We suggest using pure honey for the candied nuts recipe, which you can find at practically any supermarket. A honey that’s also raw and unfiltered, which means it’s taken straight from a hive and retains the full array of phytonutrients, is also ideal. Raw, unfiltered varieties do come at a higher price point. If those don’t fit in your budget, at the very least, ensure that the honey you choose is 100% pure.
Good Ole’ Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
One of the most well-known “functional foods,” extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) boasts a wide range of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats for heart health. It’s also a good source of fat-soluble vitamins, namely vitamins E and K. The “extra virgin” label essentially means the olive oil isn’t refined and is therefore of the highest quality. Our candied nuts recipe calls for just a little EVOO, but, like nuts, it goes a very long way.
Freshly Squeezed Citrus Juices
Citrus juices have amazing flavor-enhancing effects, which is why they’re the perfect inclusion to our candied nuts recipe. Below we recommend using the juices of an orange and a lemon for the honey-based glaze. In addition to adding the perfect balance of sweet and tart to the glaze, both fruits are naturally rich in vitamin C, a potent water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that plays a critical role in immune health.
Before you begin mixing up the ingredients, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Then, measure 1-1/2 cups of nuts, three tablespoons of honey, a tablespoon of EVOO, and juices from half an orange and a lemon (about a tablespoon each). As we mentioned before, the nuts can include a combination of walnuts, almond and pecans (half a cup each) or just one or two types – whatever you have. Once you’ve chosen the nuts, some mixing is required for the honey-based glaze which you’ll use for the candying process.
To prepare the glaze, heat the honey in a covered glass microwavable bowl for about 30 seconds, remove it and stir it well. Next, add the EVOO, squeeze in the orange and lemon juices and then reheat the mixture for about 10-20 seconds. Remove the mixture and, again, stir it well. Once all this is done, toss in the nuts, re-cover the bowl, and shake up the mixture. When the glaze is evenly distributed, let the mixture sit for about 3-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place a large piece of foil on a baking sheet and grease it with a non-stick cooking spray. When the glaze is evenly distributed on the nuts, pour the mixture onto the greased sheet of foil, and bend the foil around its edges to make it look like a bowl. This’ll help prevent spills in your oven.
You’ll only need about 15 minutes to cook the nuts. That’s it! Simply place the baking sheet with the glazed nuts into your oven.
As the nuts roast, watch them carefully and stir them every 3-5 minutes. Due to the natural sugars in the glaze, they’re very easy to stick and burn. Once the nuts have fully candied (usually within 15 minutes) they’ll appear caramelized with a nice golden-brown color. At this point, remove the candied nuts from the oven and continue to stir them occasionally as they cool.
The Versatility of Candied Nuts
Our wholesome and sweet honey-glazed candied nuts recipe makes about six 1/4-cup sized servings. In addition to making tasty salad toppers, the candied nuts themselves are a sweet and savory standalone snack.
You can also add them to your favorite cereals (hot or cold) for unique flavor and texture. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed and airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
SHOW US YOUR WORK
That Salad Lady wants to see all your great work. If you enjoy our wholesome and sweet honey-glazed candied nuts, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.