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Savory Crunchy Paleo Nut Clusters

A deliciously savory, super-crunchy paleo/Whole30 snack to satisfy all your munchies!

Crunchy Paleo Nut Clusters

For the printable recipe, click here.

Looking for a crunchy paleo snack?

These deliciously addictive crunchy paleo nut clusters were such a hit around here that when my husband went looking for them the day after they were made, I had to break it to his disappointed belly that they were all devoured on day 1. No crumbs left behind. 

Addictive though they may be, they are perfectly paleo and packed with protein, fiber, and all sorts of delightful nutrients. 

Can these crunchy paleo nut clusters be considered Whole30?

Here's where we get into a wee bit of Pancake Rule territory. 

Based on ingredients alone, these crunchy paleo snacks are well within Whole30 guidelines. Even when you look at what the Pancake Rule spells out officially--no store-bought potato chips or similarly addictive crunchy snacks--we're still all good. 

The only potential concern is the sheer addictiveness of these savory nut clusters. Since the spirit of the Whole30 is really about breaking addictive food behaviors . . . use your judgment. 

But for those of us ready for some crunch, let's do this!

Simple ingredients, simple tools

One of the best parts about these crunchy nut clusters is that there's no fancy, hard-to-clean equipment required. No food processor to mess with, just a large mixing bowl, whisk, spatula, baking sheet, and parchment paper. You'll also need an oven. 

As for the ingredients in this easy recipe, we're using pantry-staple spices and paleo-pantry staples like cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, and coconut flakes--but Brazil nuts or really any type of nut would work. Customize this mixture of nuts to include your favorite nut or seed. Walnuts and pumpkin seeds would work seamlessly in place of or in conjunction with the pecans and sunflower seeds. Sesame seeds would be a fun addition as well--just be sure to taste them first! Sesame seeds go rancid pretty intensely and can wreck a whole recipe if added when they're past their prime. 

Just make sure to use tree nuts, not peanuts, if you're adhering to a strict paleo or traditional Whole30 diet. For more on nuts on a Whole30, check out Can You Eat Nuts on a Whole30? Everything You Need to Know.

Crunchy Paleo Nut Clusters

​Don't leave out the coconut!

Ok, so I used to have very strong (negative) opinions on coconut (mostly that consuming it was akin to munching on toenail clippings), but I have (mostly) come around. 

If you're not sure about the coconut, I'll tell you why it makes this recipe great:

The thin, broad flakes get golden and toasted in the oven, bringing out their caramelly notes and completely changing the texture from tough and chewy to crisp and crunchy. ALSO (!) The large flakes make a nice bed of sorts for little flecks of nut and seed to adhere to, enhancing the clustery-ness of the mix. 

It's important to use unsweetened FLAKES, not coconut shreds or grated coconut. The Let's Do Organic brand coconut flakes work perfectly (they do make shreds as well, so read the label carefully). 

If you're worried about the coconut flavor, it really just lends a slight hint of sweetness and those roasty-toasty notes to the blend. 

This is all to say . . . if you're allergic to coconut and need to leave it out, you could probably still have great results with this recipe just using sliced almonds instead. But otherwise, give the coconut a shot!

What holds all this nutty goodness together?

Ah! Remember a minute ago when I said the nut nubbins would adhere to the coconut flakes? Well, they're gonna need some sort of adhering agent for that, and we have just the thing for the job: egg whites!

If you've made our Buffalo-Spiced Cashews before, this is a very similar situation. We use beaten (but not meringue-like) egg whites to thinly coat and lightly bind the ingredients together. The air beaten into the egg whites helps them to turn into a barely-there, crunchy coating, rather than, you know, an omelet. 

​Are these crunchy nut clusters a healthy snack?

I would say yes. According to Good Housekeeping, a serving of pecans packs plenty of monounsaturated fats (think olive oil), zinc, fiber, flavonoids, beta-carotene, and Vitamin E. Cashews bring iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese to the mix. The list goes on. 

Of course, while healthful whole foods, nuts are very calorie-dense and should not be the bulk of one's diet. Overindulging on nuts may lead to digestive distress, particularly in sensitive individuals. So basically, indulge in this health food responsibly. 

Crunchy Paleo Nut Clusters

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 egg whites

  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

  • 10 cranks black pepper

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 2 tsp rosemary

  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (large, flat flakes, not shreds)

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper so that the parchment paper extends an inch or two over the sides.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a whisk for about two minutes or until they are very frothy--we're not going for a voluminous, opaque meringue here, just a ton of frothy, white bubbles. Set aside. 

  3. With a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, crush together the salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes till almost powdery. Combine with garlic powder. 

  4. Add the spice mixture, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, and coconut flakes to the frothy egg whites, and use a rubber spatula to combine and coat everything evenly. 

  5. Transfer the nut mixture to the prepared baking sheet and spread out into an even layer so that the nuts are touching but not all on top of each other.

  6. Bake at 300 degrees in the preheated oven for 15 min. Use a spatula to break up and flip sections of the mixture, and return to the 300-gegree oven for 10 minutes. 

  7. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet; then use the sides of the parchment paper to carefully lift the parchment off the baking sheet and onto the countertop. Spread out clusters of the mixture on the parchment and allow to cool completely. Clusters will crisp up more as they cool. Once cooled completely, the nut mixture can be stored in an airtight container like a zip-top bag or lidded mason jar at room temperature for a week or so--IF they last that long!

For the printable recipe, click here.

Savory Crunchy Paleo Nut Clusters

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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