I’m always looking for yummy ways to get you more excited about salads, and today’s recipe is no exception. My own salads years ago used to be rather limp affairs – iceberg, sliced toms, diced cucumber – topped with fat-free French dressing (yes, ’twas the fat free 90’s). But I’ve since delved into the arena of home made salad toppers and dressings, and let me tell you, it’s another level of sensational salad superbness.
If you find yourself arriving home in the evenings wondering what to make for dinner, these super tasty Tamari and Sesame Almonds with Karengo are going to be your life saver. The tamari (a gluten free version of soy sauce) and karengo (a seaweed, which I talked about in this tasty kale salad here), give the almonds a saltiness which is guaranteed to make even the plainest salad pop. Meanwhile the almonds and sesames have a crunchy creaminess to them that will take your salad from so so side to magical main attraction.
These Tamari and Sesame Almonds are…
- Super easy
- Made with 4 ingredients
- Packed with vitamin E, calcium, B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc, protein, copper and manganese
- Oven and dehydrator friendly
- The perfect topper to make your salads sing
I normally dehydrate this recipe, as it maximises the nutrient availability of the almonds and sesame seeds whilst retaining all the healthy oils and vitamins intact. Dehydrating, like roasting, also creates a bar snack worthy crunch, which has the added bonus of meaning you can store them in jars afterwards for when your next salad beckons. If you don’t have a dehydrator don’t worry, there’s an easy oven option too. Make these this weekend and get your pantry stocked ready for summer!
Get anti-oxidising with Vitamin E
The star ingredient in this recipe is the mighty almond. I’ve spoken about almonds before here, but they are also one of my favourite sources of vitamin E. Just one quarter cup provides you with almost 50% of your daily recommended intake. So what’s so great about vitamin E? You might have heard about the big E in relation to keeping your skin looking youthful, as it’s a key component of our cell membranes. But vitamin E’s primary role is actually as one of our body’s most potent chain-breaking antioxidants.
In the presence of vitamin E, highly reactive free radicals (from processed food, animal products, external toxins, the environment, plastics, pollution, stress, smoking, alcohol and over-exercise) get gifted a hydrogen molecule from Mr E. This hydrogen converts the free radical to a much more neutral compound, which is a lot less damaging to the body. Vitamin C (kiwifruit, capsicum, broccoli, camu camu, gubinge) and selenium (brazil nuts) then help vitamin E to regenerate back to it’s original form, so it’s all ready to get donating again. So we actually only need a small amount of vitamin E, as long as we’ve got sufficient C and selenium to keep it regenerating. Brilliant right?
In the absence of vitamin E though, our original free radical doesn’t have a hydrogen to buddy up with, so instead goes and reacts with polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in nuts, seeds, avocados and other vege) to create additional free radicals in the body. Nature however is smart enough to pop vitamin E into almonds alongside their polyunsaturated fats, to keep those fats healthy and undamaged!
Vitamin E can be destroyed by air, light and heat, which is why dehydrating your almonds or roasting them at low temperatures, is ideal for keeping everything intact. Outside of almonds, some of my other favourite sources of vit E are cold pressed plant oils (sunflower is the highest), nuts and seeds, peanuts, avocado, spinach, kale, kumara/sweet potato and organic non-GMO soy beans.
In terms of how we can absorb it best, vitamin E is fat soluble which means it’s best consumed with a fat containing food. Which is why almonds are such a savvy little bundle – vitamin E keeps their polyunsaturated fats stable and safe, while those fats themselves help the absorption of the vitamin E in the first place. As well as keeping us satiated, energy fuelled, and hormonally balanced. Now that’s a partnership.
Sprinkle these tasty Tamari, Sesame and Karengo Almonds on your next salad, and let me know what you think. They go particularly well with asian inspired flavours, so this Kale and Karengo Salad is a great underbelly. Or use them as the nut and seed component in these Ultimate Salad Bowls. Otherwise just eat them as is for a tasty sugar free snack. Either way, I know you’re going to love them.
Another weekend ahead – enjoy that fledgling summer sun (if you’re in the Southern hemisphere like me), and til next week, stay happy and well.
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Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 3 c almonds soaked overnight
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds soaked overnight
- 1 c karengo fronds
- 4 tbsp tamari
- Soak almonds and sesame seeds in a bowl of filtered water overnight. In the morning, rinse and drain well.
- Pour in a bowl with the karengo and tamari, stirring to combine well.
- Pour onto a dehydrator sheet in a single layer and dry for 12-24 hours at 41°C (106°F) or until super crunchy and completely dry. Or put on an oven tray, and bake at 50°C (122°F) fan bake (if available) with the door slightly ajar for the same amount of time. Or at 100°C (212°F) for 1 hour. See notes below on these three different methods as well as power saving efficiencies here!
- The time needed in your dehydrator or oven will depend on your individual oven, as well as the temperature and humidity levels where you are. If it’s mid winter in Copenhagen, you’ll likely have to dehydrate the full 24 hours. Summer in NZ 12-18 is often enough. Best test - is the taste test! Your almonds should be super crunchy like a roast nut. And delicious.
- The oven option at 50°C works similar to the dehydrator - drying out the nuts and low temperatures in order to retain all their nutrients, especially our heat sensitive vitamin E. You need the door slightly ajar to let moisture escape, and the fan bake option (if you have it) helps the air to circulate around the nuts and seeds evenly. I always recommend fan bake if your oven has it.
- The oven option at 100°C is just a quicker option, if you don’t want to have your oven running that long (which isn’t safe if you’re not at home, or with little kids in the house). It’s also much more efficient from a power perspective. Again - taste test is key - once crunchy, you’re done.
- With all options, I highly recommend making a day (or few hours) of it when you dehydrate/do nuts/seeds. Once a month, take out a bunch of big bowls, soak all the nuts and seeds you’ve got lying around, then either dehydrate/low roast them plain, or add seasonings as above and dehydrate. That way you can have every tray in your oven/dehydrator full, thus maximising the efficiency of your power usage. I’ll do this one a month regularly, with my 9 tray dehydrator- every tray is full, and after the dehydrating marathon, we’ve got jars and jars of nuts, seeds, and flavoured combos like this one, ready for any recipe that calls for nuts or seeds. Definitely worth getting in the habit of - I highly highly recommend it! Especially in winter when your oven/dehydrator can double as a cosy room heater too..
- This recipe also works brilliant with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds (you can order these from our online store here). So feel free to mix up the recipe with what you have on hand or what are your favourites.
- You can also omit the karengo if you like, although I highly recommend getting some seaweed into your diet, and this is one of the yummiest ways to do so!