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Roasted Rosemary Almonds are the perfect party finger food or holiday gift

Food columnist Sarah Nasello writes, "Healthy, delicious and easy to make, these Roasted Rosemary Almonds are the perfect party finger food or grab-n-go snack, and they would also make a great gift for the upcoming holiday season."

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Sarah's Roasted Rosemary Almonds are the perfect finger food for upcoming holiday parties and gifts, and they also make the perfect grab-n-go snack.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum
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FARGO — I adore finger foods, also known as small plates, tapas, or, in Italian, cicchetti. On a recent trip to the Twin Cities, I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Broders’ Pasta Bar in south Minneapolis. Our meal began with a variety of cicchetti (pronounced chee-KEH-tee), which included the rosemary toasted almonds that inspired this recipe.

These Roasted Rosemary Almonds are a quick and easy, grab-n-go snack featuring raw, whole almonds tossed with rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, chili powder and cayenne pepper. I whisk together all the ingredients before adding the almonds so that they are fully combined, and then I add the almonds and toss them until they are coated in the oily mixture.

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Extra virgin olive oil is combined with finely chopped dried rosemary, chili powder, fine sea salt and cayenne pepper to create the flavor coating for the almonds.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

My fresh rosemary has withered from the cold temperatures in recent weeks, so I used dried rosemary when developing this recipe. You could also use fresh rosemary, if desired, and I have included that measurement with the recipe. Dried or fresh, I recommend finely chopping the leaves so that can they lightly coat the almonds without leaving any woody pieces.

Rosemary has a terrifically bright, pine-laced fragrance that is the perfect complement to the mildness of the almonds. I prefer to use fine sea salt over coarser varieties for this recipe, and I start with a half-teaspoon and then taste and adjust as desired. You could also use a mixture of fine and flaky sea salt, using the fine salt in the olive oil mixture, and adding the flaky salt immediately after removing the toasted almonds from the oven.

For added flavor and just a touch of heat, I add a small amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper – my men at home are lightweights when it comes to spice, so feel free to increase these amounts if you prefer extra heat.

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Raw, whole almonds are tossed with the rosemary-olive oil mixture until fully coated.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Good nuts can be expensive, so I buy them in bulk whenever possible. I find the best values at warehouse clubs like Sam’s and Costco, where I can buy raw, whole almonds in three-pound bags for about $11. This recipe calls for one pound of almonds, and the rest can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two years before using.

Healthy, delicious and easy to make, these Roasted Rosemary Almonds are the perfect party finger food or grab-n-go snack, and they would also make a great gift for the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy and best wishes for a happy and safe Halloween!

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Roasted Rosemary Almonds

Makes: 3 cups

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
½ to ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups raw whole almonds (about 1 pound)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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In a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the olive oil, rosemary, ½ teaspoon sea salt, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Taste the mixture and add more salt, as desired.

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A whisk is used to combine the ingredients until fully blended.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Add the almonds and use a spatula to toss them in the mixture until fully combined. Spread the almonds on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Roast for 10 minutes, then stir the almonds and roast for another 10 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the almonds cool completely.

Store the almonds in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks at room temperature, or at least 3 months in the freezer.

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The rosemary-seasoned almonds are roasted in the oven until toasted and fragrant.
Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Recipe Time Capsule:

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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.

“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.
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