Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Walnuts roasted with sage, maple syrup and a hint of cayenne make a great appetizer, snack or DIY Christmas gift.


Late weekend afternoons are perfect for a book, a glass of craft beer or wine, and a snack. I like to plan ahead and have the ingredients for a healthy snack recipe on hand, like Eggplant Caponata or White Bean Dip with Homemade Pita Chips. Otherwise, if I go to the supermarket with low willpower and a growling stomach, there’s a good chance I’ll grab a container of pimento cheese or bacon-horseradish dip. Not that there’s anything wrong with that every once in a while, but not every weekend.

I found this recipe for maple sage walnuts on the Food 52 blog. Plain nuts are a great snack, but when you roast them with herbs and spices, they’re fabulous.

Walnuts are good for you too. According to Eating Well magazine, walnuts have a high level of “an omega-3 fatty acid that can help improve arterial functioning. Their high mono- and polyunsaturated-fat content also helps reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels while maintaining healthy HDL cholesterol levels.”

So eat up! If you live in walnut country, I envy you. I still remember the walnuts I bought at farm stands outside Sacramento. I was amazed how much better they were than regular supermarket walnuts.

During the week I sometimes snack on plain walnuts between lunch and dinner, but this recipe is for the weekends. I adapted it a bit by adding a little heat (cayenne) and salt, and reducing the amount of maple syrup and brown sugar.

The walnuts will stick to the parchment as they cool, so give them a few tosses to keep them loose. We ate half of them before they made it to a container.

Looking for other good walnut recipes?

Maple Sage Walnuts | Grabbing the Gusto

Maple Sage Walnuts | Grabbing the Gusto

Maple Sage Walnuts

You’ll need a sheet pan (or cookie sheet), parchment paper, small bowl and cup.

  • 2-1/2 cups raw walnuts halves or pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons egg white (about one egg white)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Toss walnuts and sage in a small bowl. Mix egg white and maple syrup in a small cup. Add to walnuts and stir well. Sprinkle the brown sugar, cayenne pepper and salt over the nuts and toss to coat the nuts completely. Spread the nuts out in one layer on the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring a few times, until nuts are nicely toasted. Slide parchment off the hot cookie sheet onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Store any you don’t eat in an airtight container.

Adapted from: Maple Sage Ice Cream with Maple Sage Sugared Walnuts, Food 52

3 thoughts on “Maple Sage Walnuts

  1. Hmm… intriguing. Contrasting flavors sure to make the tastebuds beg for more, no doubt!

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