Holiday Nut Mix (Warning: Highly Addictive)

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When I was a little girl, we’d go down to Texas to stay with my grandparents for Christmas. I only have a few precious memories of those trips: going for walks around the pond at the park (I was convinced it had alligators in it), sitting at the kitchen table eating my grandmother’s soup, laughing hysterically as my very proper Dad put on his best, thickest southern accent to ask about Christmas trees (all the funnier since no one he spoke to thought anything of it).

On the coffee table in the living room, there was always a big bowl of homemade “chess” — a seasoned mix of nuts, cereal and pretzels. You know what I’m talking about, right? There are store-bought versions of this stuff, but nothing beats it homemade. I could barely control myself I loved it so much.

Now that I’ve eliminated gluten and refined sugar from my life, my grandmother’s version of chess isn’t an option for me. But that doesn’t mean I’m not jonesing for my nut fix this time of year.

Lucky for me, Chef James came to the rescue and created a gluten-free version just as delicious (if not more so!) without the refined sugar or other suspicious ingredients. It’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet, and I think I have even less self-control around it than I did my grandmother’s back in the day.

You have been warned: it is highly addictive.


Holiday Nut Mix : crazy addictive!!! Gluten free and refined sugar free



1 cup whole raw cashews (ideally soaked)

1 cup raw pecan halfs (ideally soaked)

1 cup sliced raw almonds (ideally soaked)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (ideally soaked)

3 Tbsp salted grass fed butter

1.5 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp granulated garlic

2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp powdered sage

2 tsp oregano

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is heating, combine all nuts and seeds in a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and coconut sugar together, stirring frequently to make sure nothing burns. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the chili powder, garlic, paprika, sage, oregano and yeast. Stir to mix well.

Pour butter, sugar and spice mix over the nuts, using a spatula to make sure you get every last drop of sweet and savory goodness out of that pan. Mix the spice mix with the nuts so that they’re evenly coated.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the nut mixture out over the tray in a single layer.

Roast nuts for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Stay close in those last minutes and check often as nuts can burn quickly.

Remove nuts from oven and let cool. Store in a glass jar for up to one week unrefrigerated or several weeks refrigerated. If it lasts that long…

1 Comment

  1. karen D.


    OMG! I used to sit around and eat bags full of my Mom’s homemade version of “chess”. I can not wait to try this recipe! Thanks!

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