One of my favourite snacks of the moment is flavoured almonds. Not shop bought ones I must first add- as these can be coated in lots of unsavoury additions that make the simple almond a bit of a health hazard. Available all year round, almonds are rich in energy and healthy mono-unsaturated fats, they make a great snack as they are protein packed with a good source of fibre, high in antioxidants, magnesium and vitamin E. The fact they are low in sugar also means that they are great for diabetics too as (so long as you aren’t coating them in anything blood sugar spiking) they can help to keep you full and your sugars stable. The combination of protein, fibre, good fats and a satisfying crunch make almonds a sensible snack option to help keep hunger pangs at bay while curbing any cravings. Obviously that’s not to say that you should eat a 100g bag to yourself in one sitting, however a small handful as a snack is an all round good health choice and can help to protect against high-cholesterol, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as help to manage weight and appetite.
There are lots of different ways to prepare your almonds, from roasting, toasting, eating raw, or some even soak them first to ‘activate’ them (The activation process requires almonds to be soaked in water from 12-24hrs). Advocates believe this deactivates the enzyme inhibitors and “brings the nut to life”. Once soaked, the almonds are then dehydrated at low temperatures (40 degrees) over a 24-hour period. Although, in theory, this seems a great idea in principle, I do not do this myself. For the most part being how time consuming it is and also that there is very little evidence to date, to prove activating almonds to be of any nutritional benefit to the person eating them. It is well-known that almonds (and some other nuts) – activated or not have important health effects.
Almonds are so versatile and one of my main kitchen staples, I use them to make almond butter, almond milk, nut butter curries and they are great for bulking out an energy ball too! For me I like to always have a jar of flavoured and roasted almonds to hand for when I get home after work. They are easily transported, don’t cost a lot and once you use my secret technique you’ll be creating your own wonderful flavours and sharing with anyone and everyone ! You might have tried to roast almonds yourself before, with a drizzle of olive oil, some sea salt and found that they take ages to roast and are just a little soggy / oily at the end?! Well, I can assure you will no longer have to experience this issue. My secret ingredient is egg white ! It helps all the herbs and spices bind to the almond and roasts them to perfection! They can keep for weeks afterwards too which is an amazing bonus.
- 300g almonds
- 2 tbsp lemon zest (zest of one large lemon or two small)
- 1 egg white
- 2tbsp dried chili flakes
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 1tsp sea salt
- Pre heat oven to 180°c.
- In to a large mixing bowl place your egg white and whisk until stiff peaks are formed.
- Add in all your almonds and coat in the egg white.
- Add in the lemon zest, lemon juice and dried chilli and mix until fully combined.
- On to a large baking sheet (non stick or lined with parchment) pour your almonds out and spread evenly (do two batches if there isn't enough room).
- Now sprinkle sea salt on top (be generous!).
- Bake for approx 15-20 minutes until golden and toasted (keep a close eye on them after 15 minutes to check they don't burn) you will hear them start to crackle.
- Take them out of the oven VERY CAREFULLY as they are scorching hot and allow to cool.
- Once cool break them up (as they will be bound together a little from the egg white) and place in a air tight jar to store for up to 3 weeks.