These tasty little bites are a sweet-and-savory spin on my classic recipe for Tamari Almonds. People often use tamari as a gluten-free option to soy sauce, but after reading the label of the bottle of tamari I had in my cupboard–and seeing wheat as an ingredient–I did a little more investigating.
By way of The Kitchn, I found an informative write-up on everything you ever wanted to know about soy sauce, tamari, and even an Indonesian cousin of this popular condiment called Kecap Manis. To paraphrase the bottom line on tamari: It is specifically a Japanese form of soy sauce that is traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste. It is very similar to regular soy sauce but contains little to no wheat. It has a dark color and rich flavor because it contains a lot of soybean amino acids.
Low-sodium tamari options are available–I use one in this recipe–but always check the label if gluten is an issue. Where regular soy sauce is concerned, I have bought La Choy brand soy sauce and it is gluten-free; it is not, however, widely available in low-sodium options. Most Kikkoman varieties contain wheat, although I recently saw a gluten-free bottle at a restaurant.
If you haven’t tried tamari, this recipe is a great place to start. Then, see if you can tell a difference if you use tamari in your favorite recipes calling for soy sauce. If nothing else, it’s a fun experiment and something light to debate at the dinner table!
Ultimately, different sauces offer their own unique flavor thanks to differences in production. Compared to the common Chinese soy sauce, tamari’s rich, balanced, and less salty flavor makes it great for dipping…and perfect when combined with a little maple syrup and a hint of cayenne in these addictive nuts.
- 3 cups mix of raw almonds and cashews (may use just almonds*)
- 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the raw nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until lightly toasted, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on.
- While the nuts are toasting, combine the tamari, maple syrup and cayenne in a bowl that is large enough to hold the nuts, too. Stir until combined. When they are finished toasting, add the warm almonds and cashews to the bowl, and toss until completely coated with the sauce.
- Spread the coated almonds and cashews in an even layer on the same parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring the nuts 2-3 times, or until the nuts are deep brown (but not burned--they should still be a little wet and sticky at this point). Remove from the oven and transfer to a clean piece of parchment paper (placed on another baking sheet or cooling rack for ease) to cool. If you prefer the nuts to be separate rather than in little clusters once they have cooled, spread them out so they don't touch each other too much.
- Store the nuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Refrigerate for longer storage, bringing to room temperature prior to serving.
- *If using just one variety of nut, I recommend almonds. Cashews are a lovely addition, but as a softer nut, offer slightly less crunch than the almonds.
You might also enjoy…
Spiced Pecans are an old family favorite…delicious in salads or by the handful
Caramel Popcorn with Salted Peanuts…I can’t stop eating this one!
For those looking for a good online source, Nuts.com offers every type of nut imaginable for a competitive price.