It’s been a month (or three) since I last posted to happy food. Yet here it is, the end of September, and Bryce and I are finishing up another round of Whole30. If you read my posts about our first Whole30 experience and thought we were crazy, you’ll be even more convinced of that knowing we willingly chose to make another go of it. And we’ve decided to do it again right after the holidays. In fact, we’ve committed to making it a quarterly event, so for the foreseeable future, we will be livin’ la vida Whole30 every January, May, and September. The program made that big of an impact on our lives back in May and again this September.
But I’m not here to ramble on in praise of Whole30. You can read more on that by checking out my three posts summarizing and reacting to our first Whole30 experience. I’m here to talk about a delicious, nutty snack that just happens to be Whole30 compliant–Party Pecans! Truth be told, though, if it weren’t for Whole30, I may not even be talking about them…at least not yet.
In the past Party Pecans always made me think of Christmas, mostly because every year my mom or dad threw together a big batch of them to serve in holiday-themed candy dishes placed strategically throughout the house. You know, on the end table next to the couch, alongside the bowl of Christmas candy on the dining room buffet, or directly on a plate of Christmas cookies served after dinner. It was always about easy access and providing the perfectly salty foil to the sweet of those Butterfinger Bells and sugar cookies.
My perception of Party Pecans solely as a Christmas treat changed while Bryce and I embarked on our first Whole30 adventure. While reading through the program rules and regulations, it makes clear that nuts like almonds, cashews, and pecans are an important component to Whole30. But it also makes clear that nuts like almonds, cashews, and pecans roasted or otherwise cooked in certain oils are off limits…eliminating many of the varieties available at the local grocery store, including the ones sold in bulk bins. What to do?
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with raw or dry roasted nuts, but as someone wise once said, variety is the spice of life. Figuring out how to add new and compliant flavors to the bags of raw pecans in our cupboard made my family’s Party Pecans came to mind. And I am sure glad they did. The combination of garlic, celery, and table salt used to season the pecans gives them a craveable, almost umami quality, working great as a quick, satisfying snack when hunger would strike in the middle of the afternoon. We found that they didn’t just serve as a compliant snack (even if snacking is technically verboten), also tossing them into salads to add a much needed dose of crunch. Barely a week went by in May without Bryce or I cooking up a batch of Party Pecans, a habit we’ve kept up in the months following our first Whole30 excursion and especially this past month on our return trip down the Whole30 highway. But regardless of whether or not you’re doing Whole30, if looking for a fun and tasty twist on regular old pecans, try this Party Pecan recipe–you might find yourself going nuts for them!
1/4 c cooking oil (Whole30 followers, we suggest avocado or coconut oil)
1 lb raw pecans
1 tsp. table salt (popcorn salt works well, too)
2 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
Preheat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over low heat, just until hot. While the oil is preheating, combine the salts. Then, add the pecans to the skillet and increase heat to medium, cooking the nuts for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Be careful during this step–the pecans have a tendency to go from, “Umm, are these ready?” to “Oh, crap! They were ready but now they’re burnt!” quite quickly.
Once browned and the yummy aroma of toasting pecans has permeated the kitchen, pour the cooked nuts onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle the seasoning over the still warm pecans, toss to evenly coat, and enjoy. We used to leave them out in a bowl on the counter, but when they mysteriously disappeared in a day or two, we decided to keep them in an air-tight plastic bag instead.
Note: You may find using the entire batch of seasoning too salty. Over time, we’ve reduced the amount we use by sprinkling the pecans with a little bit of the seasoning, tasting them, and adding more as needed.