Grab a handful of these easy skillet Chai Spiced Nuts when you get the afternoon munchies or serve them as an appetizer with cocktails.
When I was a kid, we would regularly go over to my grandparents’ house for dinner. Pre-dinner was always martinis for the adults, Shirley Temples for the kids, and various wooden bowls filled with roasted nuts and my personal favorite, Bugles. My grandfather was the true driving force behind the bowls of roasted nuts. He adored them. So much so that each year we bought him a pound or two as one of his birthday presents. He passed that love on to my dad, who in turn passed it to me.
I don’t know what my grandfather would have thought of these chai roasted nuts or my curry roasted version, but I’d like to think that he would have branched away from his usual salt and pepper variety to give these a try.
Chai flavorings are nothing new in the recipe world. They show up in cupcakes, quick breads, cocktails…I even mixed them into a slow cooker apple cider last fall. Given the natural sweet and savory flavors that make up a chai spice mix, I’m wondering what took me so long to figure out that it would be a fantastic seasoning for nuts.
The most prevalent spice in chai, at least to my taste buds, is cardamom. Mixed with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and sometimes allspice or pepper, together they produce a rich citrusy, herbal, spiced flavor that makes the mixture suitable for both savory and sweet dishes. Don’t get me wrong – these chai spiced nuts definitely fall into the savory category, but drizzled with a little honey, they’d be fantastic as a dessert topping.
Rather than roasting the nuts, I prefer to cook them in a skillet with a little olive oil. In this recipe, I used a cast iron skillet, but any large skillet will do.
- 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- Combine all of the spices in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet set over medium heat.
- Add the almonds, cashews and pepitas, then stir in the chai spice mix and salt.
- Toast the nuts until starting to brown slightly, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
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