Roasted Spiced Nut and Seed Snack and Salad Topping
A delicious mix of nuts and seeds, coated with spices and roasted until crunchy and flavorful. Yemenite Ja’ala makes a deliciously healthy snack and adds flavor and crunch to any kind of salad.
The first time I ever heard of Yemenite Ja’ala was leafing through Shuk, a cookbook about Israeli Home Cooking. The author wrote that her grandmother always served a big bowl of the roasted, spiced nuts and seeds at the end of every meal.
Even though the snack is largely unknown to any of us who didn’t grow up in Jewish Yemenite families, it’s one of those things that once you make it, you’ll want to ensure that there’s a bag of it in your pantry at all times.
Making Ja’ala couldn’t be easier.
Simply dump a variety of nuts and seeds in a bowl, add some spices, olive oil and boiling water, spread it onto a pan, and pop it in the oven to roast. Ja’ala makes a delicious, healthy grab-and-go snack, is a delightful addition to a charcuterie plate or cheese board, and is my new favorite way to top a salad – especially a classic Israeli Chopped Salad.
Use whatever varieties of nuts and seeds you like.
According to the authors of Shuk, Ja’ala originated as a snack that represented wealth and prosperity and was reserved for those occasions on which you might want to impress important guests. Traditional Yemenite Jews were poor, and nuts and seeds were an expensive luxury that wasn’t apart of their daily diet. Visiting someone’s home and being served Ja’ala either meant that you were super important to your hosts or that they wanted you to impress you with the appearance of prosperity.
Happily, today most of us can purchase whatever kinds of nuts and seeds we like. Not only are they less expensive than they were in days past, the variety available to us is incredible.
In this recipe, you’ll see a total amount of nuts and seeds represented with a list of suggested varieties. Adapt the mix to your personal tastes, adding the nuts and seed you like in whatever proportions you prefer them. What’s more important than the kinds of nuts and seeds you choose is that there are a variety of flavors, sizes, shapes, and textures.
Salads that are delicious topped with a handful of Ja’ala:
- Israeli Chopped Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Potato Salad with Creamy Green Sauce and Tuna
- Tomato Cucumber Salad with Basil Ricotta
- Tomato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette
- Watermelon Salad with Chili and Lime
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.Print
A delicious mix of nuts, seeds, & spices, roasted until crunchy and flavorful. Ja’ala makes a healthy snack and adds flavor and crunch to any kind of salad, especially the classic Israeli Chopped Salad.
- 2 1/2 cups raw nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, and pecans) *see note
- 1 cup raw seeds (such as pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds)
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp granulated onion (onion powder)
- a dash or two of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- Heat the oven to 300 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Add all the nuts, seeds, and spices to a large bowl and stir to mix. Add the olive oil and boiling water and stir until all the nuts and seeds are evenly coated.
- Spread the mixture out onto the parchment covered baking sheet in an even layer – spread them out, but make sure they are touching so they clump together.
- Roast the nuts for 30-45 minutes. *Roasting time will vary based on the combination of nuts and seeds you choose. The nuts should feel dry to the touch and taste toasty. Check them at 30 minutes, then continue to roast until they are dry and toasted.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store Ja’ala in an airtight container at room temperature. (*See note)
- Adapt the mix to your personal tastes, adding the nuts and seed you like in whatever proportions you prefer them. What’s more important than the kinds of nuts and seeds you choose is that there are a variety of flavors, sizes, shapes, and textures.
- Ja’ala should keep for months, but if you live in a humid climate, the Ja’ala might get a bit stale and soggy. No worries – just re-toast them on a baking sheet in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes to crisp them right back up again.