These vegan candied nuts are my newest holiday recipe, and becoming a fast favorite in our home!
Before this year, I hadn’t made candied nuts. I guess I’ve made seasoned nuts, but not the traditional sort of candied nuts that we associate with this time of year.
You know, the classic candied nuts recipe that uses egg whites.
I decided to take my spatula to this seasonal favorite, creating my own version of candied nuts that is not only vegan, but also oil-free and uses far less sugar than many recipes.
Now, when I say oil-free free I mean no added oil. Nuts do have natural fats, and those oils are part of the nut as a whole food. But this recipe does not have any added extracted oils. (I am asked this question frequently, so decided to clarify it here.)
In creating this candied nuts recipe, I played around with a few versions, using different seasonings and combinations of nuts and seeds.
And, I think I landed on the sweet spot with the recipe below. But not too sweet!
I have found that candied nuts in general are overly sweetened.
Wait. But they are candied nuts, you say!
True. I think, though, for many of us eating plant-based, we enjoy treats that are slightly dialed down in sweetness.
So, I have done the same with these vegan candied nuts. They are just sweet enough! Of course, you can opt for a little more sweetener if you like.
The addition of cinnamon and vanilla bean powder also contributes some natural sweetness. You can tweak the seasonings with a touch of cardamom and/or nutmeg and/or allspice as well. I like the simplicity of cinnamon, but there is flexibility with the spices.
As well as with the nuts. In general, I prefer softer nuts like cashews, pecans, and walnuts. I also enjoy the addition of pumpkin seeds. But you can add pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, or brazil nuts.
Vegan Candied Nuts: Magic of Aquafaba
What isn’t optional is the aquafaba. The aquafaba is the replacement for egg whites, and creates the meringue for all the seasonings to cling to through baking. As that meringue foam dries with the low-temperature baking, it creates this cluster-y crinkle-y sugared seasoned coating.
When whipping the aquafaba, it’s easiest to use a stand mixer or hand mixer. It takes a lot of elbow grease to whip up aquafaba into a firm peak.
You can watch more in my video below. (AND link through to enter to win copy of Dreena’s Kind Kitchen!)
The other thing I experimented with, and really loved? The addition of dragonfruit powder. I used it for the last round of candied nuts that I tested, and it worked beautifully. Instead of mixing it in with the other seasonings, however, instead, I sprinkled the dragonfruit powder over the top of the nuts before baking. It added a light pink hue and a delicate sweetness.
Enjoy these candied nuts for healthy snacking through the holidays, or portion them into cute gift boxes or glass jars for an appreciated food gift. See more in my video.
I hope you enjoy these vegan candied nuts. Please share how you make them special! x Dreena
Vegan Candied Nuts
- 1/3 cup aquafaba brine from a can of white beans or chickpeas
- 5-6 cups nuts can add seeds, see note
- 1/2 cup coconut or date sugar
- 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, or using an electric mixer, beat aquafaba on high speed until stiff peaks form, for about 3-4 minutes. Once you reach a consistency where the aquafaba will hold a good peak, gently fold in the nuts, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean powder, and salt. Transfer mixture to lined baking sheet and spread out on pan. Bake for 50 minutes, not disturbing to stir until the nut have bake about 30-35 minutes. At this time, move the nuts around on the pan, then let bake for remaining time, until the aquafaba is dried and nuts look candied. Turn off oven, and let nuts sit in oven with heat off for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let nuts cool on the pan (they will continue to dry out once removed from oven). Once cool, transfer to jars or an airtight container.