18 votes

Cheap, easy, and not-too-unhealthy homemade snacks?

By now we all know that ultraprocessed foods are really, really bad for you, and that should rule out the majority of snack foods you find on the shelf at the grocery store. We've never been big consumers of ultraprocessed snack foods in my house, but we do like to snack. And we really need to diversify beyond popcorn for our snacking purposes. Fruits and nuts are of course an obvious option. What other cheap, easy to prepare, and not-too-unhealthy snack foods do you like to make?

45 comments

  1. [9]
    vektor
    Link
    Off topic, but I really wonder what it is about processed foods that makes them so bad. Is it that they're consumed by otherwise unhealthier people? Surely not, surely we have controlled for that....

    Off topic, but I really wonder what it is about processed foods that makes them so bad.

    Is it that they're consumed by otherwise unhealthier people? Surely not, surely we have controlled for that. That'd be too simple.

    Is it certain additives? Surely then we'd see a difference between the same eating habits in the US (additives legal until proven harmful) vs the EU (additives illegal until proven safe).

    Is it that processing itself produces harmful things? Surely these can't be microbial risks; processing is all about nuking microbes with great prejudice. So oxidation of otherwise safe substances then? Well, if so, why is homecooking safe? Or rather, is it even safe? Does mashing foods into a pulp and heating it cause it to react into something harmful?

    Is it that processed foods just have an atrocious macro nutrient profile? In that case, I'd expect the much bigger effect to be not what you eat (processed food) but what you don't eat (fruits and vegetables). A diet of minimally-processed food could be just as harmful if it is similarly lopsided.

    I'm not saying any of my hypotheses here are correct or incorrect. I just don't know. And I'm someone who's really not great at reading scientific literature in this particular domain (nor do I have the time to read enough to answer my questions, as I think they're quite complicated). I'm not even sure the questions have been studied properly yet. So, ya know, asking the questions here in case someone actually has a clue what's up.

    16 votes
    1. [2]
      FluffyKittens
      Link Parent
      Former healthcare researcher; these are informed hot takes meant to give you jumping off points. Higher levels of fat/salt/sugars added for flavor. Digestion/energy release time: This is by far...
      • Exemplary

      Former healthcare researcher; these are informed hot takes meant to give you jumping off points.

      • Higher levels of fat/salt/sugars added for flavor.
      • Digestion/energy release time: This is by far the big one people don't think about enough. As you say, a lot of food processing involves reducing things down to a pulp. Compare how fast you'd expect applesauce to get dissolved into a vat of acid vs. large chunks of a whole apple. Processed foods have a much worse nutrient partitioning profile, because they overload the amount of food your body can feed into its buffers (glycogen) vs. storing long-term as fat.
      • Saccharide length: This is really just a continuation of the above - carbohydrates generally come as long chains. The length of the chain controls how fast your body can process the carbohydrate. Sugars, which are a subset of carbohydrates, are basically 1- or 2-length pieces of these chains. Both cooking and mechanical processing (grinding/blending) impact how much these chains get chemically broken down. Processed food prefers base ingredients that tend to come with shorter chains, and use processing methods that break the chains down more than regular home cooking.
      • Hydrogenation of oils: I haven't kept up with the health research on this in the past decade, so I won't go too in depth. Think of it as a messier version of saccharide issue, but with lipids.
      • Removal of coarser components: Much of raw plant matter, like dietary fiber, isn't very easily processed by us humans, but is extremely beneficial to the gut bacteria that help us process our food and make micronutrients bioavailable to us. These coarser/less digestible elements also play an important mechanical role in "scraping out" the bowels, so to speak (etiology of diverticulitis and the like).
      • Ingredient selection: Processed food manufacturers generally treat ingredients as commodities, leading to growing practices that encourage bigger produce yields at the expense of micronutrient profile and flavor. Use of HFCS as a primary sweetener in the West is also a particular problem due to its role in NAFLD.

      Vast majority of food additives/preservatives/colorings are perfectly safe - though there are absolutely exceptions (e.g. celery powder used for "uncured" bacon). Oxidation is... a really high-context thing to talk about - but you're right on the money about the comparison with home-cooking; I wouldn't expect processed food to be relatively worse in that domain.

      16 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        In North America. Not in the West. Europe had restrictions on HFCS and it's extremely unpopular here because of that. And EU tastebuds kind of dislike HFCS anyway. I can absolutely taste the...

        Use of HFCS as a primary sweetener in the West is also a particular problem due to its role in NAFLD.

        In North America. Not in the West. Europe had restrictions on HFCS and it's extremely unpopular here because of that.

        And EU tastebuds kind of dislike HFCS anyway. I can absolutely taste the difference when I'm in the US and it's gross.

        5 votes
    2. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      It's just this. It's not like processing food inherently changes its chemical properties. Especially now, there's a whole lot of explicitly healthy processed food - magic spoon is an example of a...

      Is it that processed foods just have an atrocious macro nutrient profile? In that case

      It's just this. It's not like processing food inherently changes its chemical properties. Especially now, there's a whole lot of explicitly healthy processed food - magic spoon is an example of a brand.

      The easiest way to make something last long and taste good is to replace water content with oil (spoils less, and tastes better) and add in lots of sugar. In "unprocessed" foods, there are always tradeoffs (a good thing!) because nature is harsh and resources are naturally scarce - fruits are high in sugar but contain dietary fiber to better satiate as well as many vitamins, minerals, and whatnot so you get more bang out of your caloric buck.

      There's no reason humans can't make processed foods that are the same, if not better in terms of health, and these days there are lots of examples. But it will cost more, and taste worse.

      "Don't eat processed foods" is, in the end, just a heuristic. We tend to process things to make them taste better and last longer on the shelf, which are attributes that tend to come with high amounts of sugar, and to a lesser extent fat, without else much. But we don't have to.

      13 votes
    3. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Frankly, I absolutely abhor it whenever anyone talks about how bad 'ultraprocessed' foods are because it turns conversations into a tower of babbel situation. Everyone's talking about things...

      Frankly, I absolutely abhor it whenever anyone talks about how bad 'ultraprocessed' foods are because it turns conversations into a tower of babbel situation. Everyone's talking about things thinking they've given away a clear definition, but everyone comes away with a different meaning.

      One of the problems with talking about ultraprocessed foods is that people confuse them with commercial foodstuffs, but that's rarely, if ever, what these articles are about. For instance, there's rarely much if any difference between ice cream you buy at the store and ice cream you make at home. The same is true for fries; they're just potatos that have been cut, boiled, seasoned, fried, and then frozen. Once again, it's the same things you would do if you were to make them at home.

      Now you may be wondering about some of the extra ingredients they add, and in some cases you are right. Things like using palm oil instead of butter and HFCS instead of sugar are things that do have real health effects. But for the vast majority of ingredients that people are afraid of - the things with unpronouncable things you look at in the ingredient lists, are things that have generally been studied for long periods of time and have been generally proven to be safe for human consumption. A lot of them are actually minerals that are added to enrich the products by adding vitamins!

      The biggest problem with the messaging about ultraprocessed foods is that it distracts from the real problem; you're eating too many damned sausages and french fries and ice cream! You're eating foods that inject you with high amounts of sugars, simple carbohydrates, phosphates, and other bad things, and you're probably also simultaniously avoiding the good things that whole foods give you such as fiber and complex carbohydrates.

      6 votes
      1. vord
        Link Parent
        Doesn't help that palm oil is really bad for the environment. We can mitigate a fair bit of emissions by increasing amount of untouched wilderness rather than clear-cutting it.

        palm oil

        Doesn't help that palm oil is really bad for the environment.

        We can mitigate a fair bit of emissions by increasing amount of untouched wilderness rather than clear-cutting it.

        5 votes
    4. psi
      Link Parent
      The Washington Post had an article [1] on this subject a couple days ago (well, ultra-processed foods, but I assume that's what you mean anyway). I'll extract a few of the highlights. [1] "What...

      The Washington Post had an article [1] on this subject a couple days ago (well, ultra-processed foods, but I assume that's what you mean anyway). I'll extract a few of the highlights.

      Then there are ultra-processed foods. At their core, they are industrial concoctions containing a multitude of additives: salt, sugar and oils combined with artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, stabilizers and preservatives. Typically they’re subjected to multiple processing methods that transform their taste, texture and appearance into something not found in nature. Think Frosted Flakes, Hot Pockets, doughnuts, hot dogs, cheese crackers and boxed macaroni & cheese.

      [...]

      On the diet of ultra-processed foods, the participants [of a study carried out by the National Institutes of Health] quickly gained weight and body fat. But on the unprocessed, homemade diet, the reverse happened: They lost weight, and they had reductions in cholesterol and an increase in their levels of an appetite-suppressing hormone called PYY. They experienced a drop in their levels of ghrelin, what is known as the hunger hormone. It’s not clear why the unprocessed and ultra-processed foods had such differing effects.

      Some experts argue that ultra-processed foods hook our brains and overwhelm our biology because they contain unnatural combinations of fat and carbs along with sodium and other flavor enhancers.

      Some nutrition scientists point to the texture of ultra-processed foods: They often contain little or no fiber and are easy to chew and digest rapidly despite being high in calories. Think of how easy it is to scarf down fast-food chicken nuggets or a moist blueberry muffin packed with sugar, flour and vegetable oils. These foods are quickly absorbed when they leave the stomach and enter the small intestine, which causes a spike in blood sugar, insulin and other hormones.


      [1] "What are ultra-processed foods? What should I eat instead?" Washington Post, September 27, 2022.

      4 votes
    5. kyotja
      Link Parent
      These are all great questions OP and all people questioning their diet should consider, and I am by no means an expert nor am I even all that confident in my answer- but I won't let that stop me!...

      These are all great questions OP and all people questioning their diet should consider, and I am by no means an expert nor am I even all that confident in my answer- but I won't let that stop me!

      In my experience with US snack foods, "processed" generally means added salts, oils, fats, and sugars to make the snack foods more appealing (and sometimes even addictive). Unprocessed usually means it doesn't have that and has a lot of fiber, which helps with satiety, nutrient absorption, and makes it harder to over eat.

      This is of course an over generalization, but yeah it's the macros.

      3 votes
    6. cmccabe
      Link Parent
      These are really good questions. I have no expertise to do more than speculating about them, but I suspect you and @stu2b50 are largely correct about differences in the nutrient profile. But I...

      These are really good questions. I have no expertise to do more than speculating about them, but I suspect you and @stu2b50 are largely correct about differences in the nutrient profile. But I also think you're probably very right that eating junk food correlates with other unhealthy habits like a sedentary lifestyle.

      Edit: And @kyotja too.

      3 votes
  2. [4]
    piedpiper
    Link
    I've been making roasted chickpeas following this recipe. Takes a bit of planning as you need to soak the chickpeas for 24 hours, but it's super cheap and you can spice them however you want. The...

    I've been making roasted chickpeas following this recipe. Takes a bit of planning as you need to soak the chickpeas for 24 hours, but it's super cheap and you can spice them however you want.

    The trick is timing them so they are fully roasted but don't start burning.

    7 votes
    1. kwyjibo
      Link Parent
      This is a pretty famous snack in Turkey, and I agree it's delicious. It is pretty dry though so it's often eaten with some dried fruits like berries etc.

      This is a pretty famous snack in Turkey, and I agree it's delicious. It is pretty dry though so it's often eaten with some dried fruits like berries etc.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Seconding roasted chickpeas. I had them for the first time a few weeks ago coated in garam masala spices, and now I'm hooked on them. Soooo good!

      Seconding roasted chickpeas. I had them for the first time a few weeks ago coated in garam masala spices, and now I'm hooked on them. Soooo good!

      1 vote
      1. Merry
        Link Parent
        Try them with chili powder and a little cayenne pepper, and then toss them in lime juice. If you like the the chili-lime flavored cheetos, these are a great substitute!

        Try them with chili powder and a little cayenne pepper, and then toss them in lime juice. If you like the the chili-lime flavored cheetos, these are a great substitute!

        3 votes
  3. knocklessmonster
    Link
    Hummus and veggies? If you've got a food processor and access to even canned chickpeas and tahini (or even peanut butter), parsley (dry even works) and lemons you've got a way to enhance nearly...

    Hummus and veggies? If you've got a food processor and access to even canned chickpeas and tahini (or even peanut butter), parsley (dry even works) and lemons you've got a way to enhance nearly anything. You can sub out the canned chickpeas with home made, and churn out a lot at once. The only problem is calorie density in the hummus, as any dippable veggie, like carrots, broccoli, or celery, is pretty light calorie-wise.

    7 votes
  4. [2]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    An apple and a few walnuts are a classic. The other one my wife and I go with is a small bit of cheese. A single cheese stick or babybel, something quick and easy.

    An apple and a few walnuts are a classic. The other one my wife and I go with is a small bit of cheese. A single cheese stick or babybel, something quick and easy.

    5 votes
    1. vektor
      Link Parent
      Bonus points for all of these being either not messy or easily eaten with a skewer or fork. Really really don't like snacks that make a mess. Chips will mess up your fingers, and your fingers will...

      Bonus points for all of these being either not messy or easily eaten with a skewer or fork. Really really don't like snacks that make a mess. Chips will mess up your fingers, and your fingers will mess up anything you touch. Nuts will not mess up your fingers. Cheese or fruit can be (once cut into proper portions) skewered. Chips can not even be skewered.

      Personally walnuts aren't my kinda nut, but all nuts make for decent snacks I'd say.

      3 votes
  5. [7]
    lou
    Link
    I like sweet potatoes quite a bit. I use oil so not that healthy, but if you have an air fryer I'm pretty sure it will get nice and crispy. I slice the potatoes in different sizes, some pieces...

    I like sweet potatoes quite a bit. I use oil so not that healthy, but if you have an air fryer I'm pretty sure it will get nice and crispy. I slice the potatoes in different sizes, some pieces very thin, others a bit thicker. I like the irregularity, each bite is a little different.

    5 votes
    1. [6]
      NoblePath
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      There's nothing inherently wrong with oil. It depends on the type of oil, and whether it is consumed with fiber (which sweet tators have a lot). Edit: clarity

      There's nothing inherently wrong with oil. It depends on the type of oil, and whether it is consumed with fiber (which sweet tators have a lot).

      Edit: clarity

      4 votes
      1. [5]
        lou
        Link Parent
        Is that so? We use Soybean Oil. Is that good? In any case, I do believe that too much oil can upset the stomach, and other inconvenient gross side effects :P

        Is that so? We use Soybean Oil. Is that good? In any case, I do believe that too much oil can upset the stomach, and other inconvenient gross side effects :P

        1 vote
        1. [4]
          NoblePath
          Link Parent
          My gut (heh heh) says soybean oil is not the best. Olive oil is tops, various nut oils, avocado and coconut are pretty highly regarded. Vegetable (corn/canola/soybean/peanut) maybe less so, but...

          My gut (heh heh) says soybean oil is not the best. Olive oil is tops, various nut oils, avocado and coconut are pretty highly regarded. Vegetable (corn/canola/soybean/peanut) maybe less so, but still better than lard or butter (which have cholestorol and saturated and trans- fats).

          That said, I still put butter on my sweet potatoes and make my (whole grain) pancakes with bacon grease.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            Toric
            Link Parent
            Unfortunately, olive oil has far too low a smoke point to be used in deep frying. Peanut oil is king in that domain.

            Unfortunately, olive oil has far too low a smoke point to be used in deep frying. Peanut oil is king in that domain.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              vektor
              Link Parent
              You sure about that? I mean, all the super good stuff in extra virgin olive oil will basically be destroyed when heating it that high, but I think refined olive oil is fine for frying. Not that I...

              You sure about that? I mean, all the super good stuff in extra virgin olive oil will basically be destroyed when heating it that high, but I think refined olive oil is fine for frying.

              Not that I do an awful lot of deep frying. But for shallow frying, I use the extra virgin olive oil and it shouldn't ever really smoke anyway, and it doesn't.

              I think Adam Ragusea did a video on this once. Can't remember the details, but IIRC, the TLDW was that olive oil is fine for frying. Not sure if he tested deep frying, and I'm not sure if you even reach higher temps with deep frying.

              2 votes
              1. Toric
                Link Parent
                you do reach higher temps when frying, though not by too much. In my experience, an even bigger issue is that most olive oils (never tried refined olive oil, only virgin stuff) have some...

                you do reach higher temps when frying, though not by too much. In my experience, an even bigger issue is that most olive oils (never tried refined olive oil, only virgin stuff) have some components that form polymerized crud that ends up being really hard to clean out. It might be possible to deep fry with olive oil with the right kind of olive oil, but it will most likely end up being too messy and or fidlly for practical use.

                3 votes
  6. [2]
    Nivlak
    Link
    Peanut butter and rice crackers. Super easy, delicious, and filling. It’s also gluten-free and vegan.

    Peanut butter and rice crackers. Super easy, delicious, and filling. It’s also gluten-free and vegan.

    5 votes
    1. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      My favorite is peanut butter and banana/apple. I also like to throw a little honey on there and kosher salt.

      My favorite is peanut butter and banana/apple. I also like to throw a little honey on there and kosher salt.

      4 votes
  7. elcuello
    Link
    Frozen grapes or pomegranate seeds is great for the munchies although it requires some foresight. Humus with every vegetable imaginable is also a winner in my book. Old ripe banana pancakes are...

    Frozen grapes or pomegranate seeds is great for the munchies although it requires some foresight. Humus with every vegetable imaginable is also a winner in my book. Old ripe banana pancakes are great for breakfast and to keep in the fridge afterwards for snacking with a bit of butter.

    4 votes
  8. [3]
    cmccabe
    Link
    I just remembered another one that we haven’t made in a long time: boiled peanuts. It’s not the fastest snack because you have to boil them for a few hours. But with the right seasoning, they are...

    I just remembered another one that we haven’t made in a long time: boiled peanuts. It’s not the fastest snack because you have to boil them for a few hours. But with the right seasoning, they are really good.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      lou
      Link Parent
      Do you boil them in the shell? Cause that's how we do it, it is quite a treat. Hard to properly salt though, every once in a while it's either too little or too much. Peanuts are not all the same.

      Do you boil them in the shell? Cause that's how we do it, it is quite a treat. Hard to properly salt though, every once in a while it's either too little or too much. Peanuts are not all the same.

      3 votes
      1. cmccabe
        Link Parent
        Yes, we’ve always done it in the shell. We’ve most often made them with a sichuan recipe, using those numbing peppercorns, star anise and a few other ingredients. We boil them in shells in the...

        Yes, we’ve always done it in the shell. We’ve most often made them with a sichuan recipe, using those numbing peppercorns, star anise and a few other ingredients. We boil them in shells in the broth for 2-3 hours and the flavor soaks in really well.

        4 votes
  9. HotPants
    Link
    Salad e.g. Cucumber + Grape Tomatoes + Onion + Dressing. Antipasto e.g. Feta + Olives + Grape Tomatoes + Banana Peppers.

    Salad e.g. Cucumber + Grape Tomatoes + Onion + Dressing.

    Antipasto e.g. Feta + Olives + Grape Tomatoes + Banana Peppers.

    4 votes
  10. Akir
    Link
    I've been thinking about this for a hot minute and I have decided that my answer to this question is celery. I'm weird enough that I actually like it by itself, but if you don't like it that way...

    I've been thinking about this for a hot minute and I have decided that my answer to this question is celery. I'm weird enough that I actually like it by itself, but if you don't like it that way it's pretty fantastic with peanut butter. If you need a bit more sweetness, you can add raisins, too.

    I know some people like it with ranch sauce, but I personally don't recommend it; the sauce overwhelms the flavor of the celery, and I've seen far too many people use celery as an excuse to drink ranch sauce.

    A close second is bread prepared as you like. Buttered toast is pretty darn fantastic. Add some cinnamon sugar and you've got a no effort desert experience.

    Or do sprinkles if that's your jam.

    Jam is also an option.

    4 votes
  11. patience_limited
    Link
    Crispy roasted kale is delicious and has all the addictive crunchy, salty, greasy qualities you expect from junk food, but it's much healthier. It's not exactly cheap (unless, like me, you have an...

    Crispy roasted kale is delicious and has all the addictive crunchy, salty, greasy qualities you expect from junk food, but it's much healthier. It's not exactly cheap (unless, like me, you have an overabundance of kale from the garden), though.

    Chia pudding (example) is a great-tasting, easy sweet treat with the advantage that it has plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber to promote good intestinal biota, slow gastric emptying and reduce glycemic index.

    4 votes
  12. [4]
    vegai
    Link
    Popcorn.

    Popcorn.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      cmccabe
      Link Parent
      That’s definitely my default snack. Do you have any particular preference for brand of kernels?

      That’s definitely my default snack. Do you have any particular preference for brand of kernels?

      4 votes
      1. vegai
        Link Parent
        I didn't even realize there's a difference. I only see local Finnish brands in our shops, so Taffel mostly.

        I didn't even realize there's a difference. I only see local Finnish brands in our shops, so Taffel mostly.

    2. Protected
      Link Parent
      I love popcorn! Did you know a bowl of popcorn has about 1/3 of the calories of half a litre of high quality "gelato" ice cream, for a certain specific ice cream I checked a few months ago? And I...

      I love popcorn! Did you know a bowl of popcorn has about 1/3 of the calories of half a litre of high quality "gelato" ice cream, for a certain specific ice cream I checked a few months ago? And I love ice cream too!

      3 votes
  13. Protected
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm portuguese so I just eat fruit (we eat lots of fruit) or yoghurt if I want to snack healthily. Nuts also have no prep time. If I do want to prepare something, it's considerably less healthy,...

    I'm portuguese so I just eat fruit (we eat lots of fruit) or yoghurt if I want to snack healthily. Nuts also have no prep time.

    If I do want to prepare something, it's considerably less healthy, and it can take some time/work, but I definitely have the cheap and easy down pat (warning, these are all very addictive):

    Mini Meringues: Ridiculously tasty for some reason and are made with just egg whites (stiff peaks) and sugar (2.5tbsp per large egg, slowly and extremely well mixed). You can scoop out the meringues onto a baking paper lined tray with a simple teaspoon if you don't have a fancy bag. They must be slowly oven baked at 100 degrees Celsius (with air circulation) for about 1h10m then let rest for another 1h10m with the oven off, door closed. The only tricky bit is to get them out exactly at the point where they're dry (not sticky/caramelized) but not burned (slight yellowing is fine). 2 eggs is enough for a whole tray.

    Brigadeiros: Only uses a can of condensed milk (use precooked! it makes it even easier!), powdered cocoa (50g), and butter (20g), with chocolate chips for the outside. Mix everything except the chips and cook on the stove at ~120 degrees Celsius (a little above boiling temperature) while moving constantly, at least 10 minutes. Scrape onto a cold bowl (you can rub the bowl with butter to make it stick less) and pop in the fridge until cold, an hour or so. Then rub butter in your washed hands too and make the little balls, rolling them in chocolate chips.

    Breadsticks are made of a pizza like dough. All you need for a couple trayloads is dry yeast - preactivate 7g at 37 degrees Celsius with 125g water and a sprinkle of sugar - add regular white flour without additives (250g), half a tsp of fine salt and 3tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, no skimping on the olive oil! Mix everything into a dough and knead it well, this dough does not stick to the hands once mixed. Let rise in a bowl covered with a humid cloth in a warm (but not hot) place for at least an hour, then knead (squeeze) the air out of it, shape into a loaf, cut slices of the loaf with a knife and roll them into breadsticks with your hands. The only part that requires anything resembling work is rolling the breadsticks. You can make any shape you like; thinner ones will be dry and crunchy and keep for longer (keep in an airtight container by the way) and thicker ones will be soft on the inside. Pop on a tray in the oven 200 degrees Celsius until brown, and as with the meringues be very careful not to let them burn, this shit can go from raw looking to burned in a couple of minutes; if not done after 15 minutes definitely keep watch. For extra variety mix herbs with the dough before it rises, for example rosemary or oregano.

    4 votes
  14. [3]
    rosco
    Link
    origiri is a pretty easy snack. To be honest, I make mine in rectangles instead of triangles because it's easier to shape. Then you can add whatever your heart desires. I'm a big fan of adding...

    origiri is a pretty easy snack. To be honest, I make mine in rectangles instead of triangles because it's easier to shape. Then you can add whatever your heart desires. I'm a big fan of adding cucumber, scallions, or even just a dollup of plum sauce.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Onigiri is a bit too big for a snack IMHO. Even if you're better at making them small and pretty, they're so carb heavy that you'll just want to eat more of them. You did just remind me about...

      Onigiri is a bit too big for a snack IMHO. Even if you're better at making them small and pretty, they're so carb heavy that you'll just want to eat more of them.

      You did just remind me about fluffy Chinese Steamed rice cakes, which is a snack that I will also just completely overeat any time I get it. Also it probably counts as ultra-processed.

      (full disclosure; I don't know if that link is actually the recipe for what I'm thinking about. I get mine made for me at dim sum places)

      2 votes
      1. rosco
        Link Parent
        Oooh, I've never had that, they look delicious!

        Oooh, I've never had that, they look delicious!

        2 votes
  15. [4]
    wcerfgba
    Link
    Sriracha Marmite Cashews (via https://jpreston.xyz/sriracha-marmite-cashews.html) My colleague Carnun shared this great snack recipe with me, which combines three of my favourite things! I’ve...

    Sriracha Marmite Cashews

    (via https://jpreston.xyz/sriracha-marmite-cashews.html)

    My colleague Carnun shared this great snack recipe with me, which combines three of my favourite things! I’ve gradually refined the recipe to get these just how I like them. Be careful, they are extremely moreish!

    I get a 500g bag of unroasted, unsalted cashews from the supermarket, and this recipe required roasing the cashews yourself, as I will explain shortly.

    For a 500g bag of cashews, I find 2-4 heaped teaspoons of sriracha and 1 big heaping teaspoon of Marmite (or other yeast extract) works well for a light coating with gentle spiciness. I have also used an Encona hot sauce – this is spicier, so I used less of it, and thinner, which has a slight impact on the ‘finish’ of the nuts, making them more sticky – but sriracha is my favourite for this recipe because I think the higher garlic content and less vinegary flavour works better.

    Combine all your sauce ingredients in a large pan (as you will be stirring the nuts in to the pan later on). You may want to use a low heat to get your yeast extract to loosen up and mix together with your hot sauce but you do not need to make the sauce mix hot otherwise, and you should turn off the heat once the sauces are incorporated.

    I like my cashews heavily roasted, so I roast them on a baking tray in an fanless oven at 140°C for 40 minutes, stirring half way. By the end they are quite dark brown. This step requires a lot of experimentation and calibration for your particular oven and roasting preferences. If you check the nuts at the 20 minute mark you should be able to use your judgement and knowledge of your oven to decide how much longer to roast them for. I would not push the temperature much beyond 140°C to avoid burning.

    Once the cashews are roasted, they will have a lot of residual heat. Dump all the cashews immediately (well, within 2-3 minutes) into the pan with your sauce in and start stirring the cashews and the sauce together. The heat from the cashews will cause some water to evaporate from the sauce and you will get some steam, and it’s this process of the cashews directly heating the sauce which causes the sauce to turn into a coating on the nuts, which is dry and not too sticky, allowing you to eat these with your hands.

    Keep stirring and folding for several minutes to try and get as even a coating as possible. After a few minutes the cashews will be much cooler and steam will stop leaving the pan, and the nuts will be clumped together with a slightly sticky coating of the sauce. Leave the nuts to cool and the sauce will start to dry and stick the nuts together more like a nut brittle.

    Once cool, break apart the nuts and transfer to a container for storage.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      HotPants
      Link Parent
      Note, this is New Zealand marmite. This is not UK marmite. UK marmite is an entirely different thing. NZ marmite is extremely hard to come by in the rest of the world, and was even hard to find in...

      Note, this is New Zealand marmite.

      This is not UK marmite.

      UK marmite is an entirely different thing.

      NZ marmite is extremely hard to come by in the rest of the world, and was even hard to find in New Zealand during the great marmite shortage of 2017.

      The closest thing to NZ Marmite, is Aussie Vegemite. Men at Work have popularized the vegemite sandwich with their hit song "I come from a land down under" to the point where aussie vegemite is widely available globally. If you are in the USA, you can find it at Cost Plus.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        wcerfgba
        Link Parent
        I am in the UK and use UK marmite. I was not aware that NZ marmite is different! What is it like? UK marmite is quite salty and meaty.

        I am in the UK and use UK marmite. I was not aware that NZ marmite is different! What is it like? UK marmite is quite salty and meaty.

        3 votes
        1. HotPants
          Link Parent
          If you haven't had either NZ marmite or Aussie Vegemite, then the best I can say is NZ marmite is less oily, with a darker consistency. Very yeasty, very salty.

          If you haven't had either NZ marmite or Aussie Vegemite, then the best I can say is NZ marmite is less oily, with a darker consistency. Very yeasty, very salty.

          1 vote