Party Nuts with Fresh Rosemary
aka "Those Good Nuts"

Anyone going to or giving a party in the next while? These nuts got more than their share of attention at a Christmas party in December and I’ll roast another trayful for a family party later this month.

Story goes, the recipe has lofty provenance! My introduction came from Kim O’Donnel but it may have originated with my favorite famous food person of all time, the late Laurie Colwin who called them “The Nuts” or “The Rosemary Walnuts;” such a signature dish, they were served at her funeral. Later Nigella Lawson published the recipe; the famed Union Square Café in New York City serves them as Bar Nuts.

Now I’ve adopted these not-too-sweet and not-too-spicy nuts as my own. In time, my friends will learn to expect them and walking in the door will think, “Oh good, Alanna made Those Good Nuts.”

And now? They’re yours too.

Party Nuts with Fresh Rosemary

Over Christmas, I cooked like crazy for an entire day for my annual cookie swap, this year a champagne and hors d'oeuvres affair for a few women friends. (Aside: Does anyone else get stuck on "Horse Devours" and have to look up the spelling each time?)

All that effort and what got all the attention?

The nuts. I kid you not. The simplest easiest roasted ten-minute nuts.

“What is IN these nuts?” was the question of the night, one fingerful following another. The rosemary was familiar and yet unexpected, warmed with just a touch of sweetness and a tiny smidge of heat.

Next time, nuts to them. I’d best make a double batch.

ALANNA’s TIPS I’m a big fan of the nut section at Trader Joe’s – for price, selection and turnover therefore freshness. Last year a bag of Trader Joe’s Salted & Roasted Mixed Nuts worked especially well for Party Nuts with Fresh Rosemary. Even though these TJ nuts are already roasted, I roast them again. Why? First, straight from the bag, they aren’t roasted enough, they’re still kind of raw. Second, I have the idea that warm nuts better absorb the other flavors. Besides, roasting nuts smells so crazy good! Nuts are perishable, especially after roasting: extend their shelf-life by storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. By accident, I once omitted the oil or butter, not a good idea, it's what makes the sugar-spice mixture adhere to the nuts.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite easy party recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


aka “Those Good Nuts”
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 20 – 30 minutes
Makes 1 pound nuts
  • 1 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) mixed nuts – pecans, walnuts, cashews, almonds, filberts, hazelnuts, etc. (see TIPS)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves (no skimping)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon or to taste cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (omit if nuts are pre-salted)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (for vegan and longer storage) or melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until aromatic and dark, longer for unroasted nuts, shorter for pre-roasted nuts.

Meanwhile, in a small food processor, chop the fresh rosemary until it’s chopped fine, it will take several pulses (add the sugar if it helps to “grab” the rosemary). Once the rosemary is ground, combine with the remaining ingredients.

Toss with the warm nuts, give them a few good stirs to really distribute the rosemary, letting the oil or butter adhere it all to the nuts.

Fills a home with a welcoming aroma! Best served warm or “recently” warm.

MAKE-AHEAD PARTY NUTS Combine and chop everything except the nuts. Just before guests arrive, roast the nuts, then toss with the rosemary mixture.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tablespoon: Nuts Only/Party Nuts 130/140 Calories; 11/12g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 1/146mg Sodium; 5/6g Carb; 2g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3/3.5, PointsPlus 4 Yes, nuts are a calorie-dense food, but I provide the comparison to see how 90% of the calories are coming from the nuts themselves.
Adapted from Going Nuts This Season from the Washington Post and Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts from the Food Network.

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© Copyright 2012 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I don't think I've commented on your site before, although I read it regularly and thoroughly enjoy it.
    Today you said the magic words that prompted a response... Laurie Colwin. I have her books, refer to them regularly, and piles of magazine articles that I clipped over the years. I'm surprised more food writers don't invoke her name!
    Recipes? Well, my new favorite dish is the Mediterranean Vegetables you posted a couple of weeks ago ... only I'm calling it Instant Ratatouille!
    Love your blog. Thank you for doing it.

  2. Anonymous2/01/2012

    I love reading your blogs and use this site to search for recipes all the time. I have many mixed nuts recipes and I plan on giving this one a try for sure. What caught my attention on this post is your annual cookie swap. I have a small question: do you have specific instructions for your guests as to what they are to bring to the swap? I ask because at mine, some brought cookies, others brought squares and one even brought bags of nut mix. After the party, I heard that one guest felt it had been an unfair distribution, she felt her squares were a lot more expensive to make than a dozen of cookies. I had not anticipate that reaction and was quite shocked by her displeasure. Have you ever experienced that? Thank you


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna