Toasting nuts is easy! Spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350F for 10 or 11 minutes. Don’t be late on the timer–nuts will burn very quickly if not pulled out in time.
Why toast your own nuts? Sometimes raw, unroasted almonds are a little cheaper than their roasted counterparts. But the number one reason to toast at home is that nothing beats a freshly toasted almond or walnut. Some of the oils in raw almonds are volatile, which means they will vaporize quickly. When you buy pre-roasted nuts at the store, some of those delicious oils and fragrance are lost.
Among whole foods plant-based eaters there is some debate about nuts. Are they healthy? Too fatty? Is their calorie density too high? Avocado is often highlighted in this debate, since it is technically a nut, and it is very fatty. Some experts like Dr. Esselstyn, Jr. of the “Forks Over Knives” documentary limit or exclude nuts. Media often cites studies that claim nuts are part of a “healthy” diet, but without taking a critical eye to the studies themselves we can’t be so sure the results are not affected by corporate influences or “greenwashing.”
So is it ok to eat nuts as part of a whole foods plant based diet?
From my research I have decided that nuts are OK to eat. They are a plant. They are whole. They have fiber that helps “excessive” fat pass through your system. Most of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated. The body needs some fat. Realizing that nuts are a significant source of calories, I try not to go overboard.
The debate over nuts continues, but common sense can tell us that if the least healthy food that you eat in a day is a few whole, freshly-toasted nuts, then you’re doing pretty well.