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Sweet and Spicy Heart-Healthy Walnuts

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Dec 10, 2022

Get the best of both worlds for a delicious, heart-healthy treat


Imagine walking into your home wafting with the aroma of holiday spices. But you don’t have to imagine! Instead, you can make this holiday heart-healthy “candied” walnut recipe and smell the warm richness. And if your taste buds love sweet and spicy blended together, this recipe is definitely for you! Also, this recipe will be a hit as a holiday party treat or as a holiday gift for family, friends, and co-workers.

Unlike overly sugary candied nut recipes, this one tones down the sweetness with just a touch of golden brown sugar and more of an emphasis on savory spices. This means a lower carbohydrate count and more of the heart-healthy goodness of walnuts that may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Why are walnuts good for your heart?

Heart disease is a the leading cause of death in the United States. Two major risk factors and causes of the development of atherosclerosis (sticky plaque that builds up inside your arteries, causing major blood flow blockages that can lead to a heart attack or stroke) are high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. Walnuts help play a role in maintaining healthy cholesterol numbers and reducing blood pressure to a healthier level. This nut is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.  Each ounce of walnuts provides 2.5 grams of ALA.

Inflammation is another source of increasing your risk of heart disease. To calm down inflammation, eating a handful of omega-3-rich walnuts, or about ¼ cup each day, may reduce the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) in people with high blood cholesterol.

So, I encourage you to choose walnuts and enjoy this recipe packed with good nutrition from heart-healthy walnuts.

Sweet and Spicy Heart-Healthy Walnuts

Get the best of both worlds for a delicious, heart-healthy treat
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Calories 212 kcal


  • 1 egg white large
  • 3 cups walnut halves
  • ¼ cup golden brown sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice freshly squeezed


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Place the 3 cups of walnut halves in a medium-sized bowl
  • Using a hand mixer, whip the egg white until foamy in a small bowl and add to the walnuts, mixing together well.
  • Mix together thoroughly the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the spice mixture over the egg-white coated walnuts and mix well.
  • Add the orange juice to the walnut-spice mixture and mix together well.
  • Spread the walnuts on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. At the halfway point of 10 minutes, using a spatula, flip the walnuts to help toast and crisp up each side for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Walnuts will be slightly soft when removed from the oven. As they cool on a cooling rack, they will become more crisp.


Note: Nuts can burn easily so watch them carefully the last minute or two while in the oven. Also, you can substitute pecans or almonds for walnuts
Nutrition per serving: Calories – 212; Total Fat – 19 grams; Saturated Fat – 2 grams; Cholesterol – 0 milligrams; Carbohydrates – 9 grams; Fiber – 2 grams; Protein – 5 grams; Sodium – 103 milligrams
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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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