If you're looking for a healthy snack, peanuts are a delicious, nutrition-filled option. A one-ounce serving (about 34 nuts) has 7.3 grams of protein, and is rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as niacin, copper and manganese, according to the USDA.
"Since nuts have so many health benefits, they can certainly fit into a healthy diet," says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN, a nutrition consultant and creator of Bucket List Tummy. In fact, eating peanuts is associated with a lowered risk of heart disease, according to a January 2016 paper in the Journal of Food Science and Technology.
However, oil-roasted peanuts can be high in saturated fat and sprinkled with way too much sodium. That's why prepping the snack at home is an easy and delicious way to get your nutty fix. All you have to do is dry-roast them without oil and go light on the salt for a low-fat, low-sodium snack.
Read more: Are Peanuts Healthy for Your Heart?
"Salt can be problematic for those with high blood pressure or at risk of high blood pressure," Schlichter says. But keep your overall eating habits in mind, she adds. "If most of your food options include fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins, a serving or two of salted nuts won't be a huge risk to your blood pressure," Schlichter says.
If you do want to reduce the sodium, try salting the peanuts after you roast them in the oven, suggests Rachel Fine, RD and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition. "Choose a larger-grain salt (such as kosher salt) as a little goes a long way when it comes to taste," Fine says.
You can also opt for other flavors beyond salt, says Schlichter, who adds that garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper or chili powder are delicious alternatives.
Be sure to avoid mindless snacking, since peanuts are a high-calorie food, Schlichter says, recommending you stick to a one-ounce serving.
Read more: 5 Side Effects of Eating Too Many Peanuts
How to Roast Peanuts at Home
Things You'll Need
Kosher salt and/or other seasonings
Paper towels or dish towel
Rimmed cookie sheet or baking pan
Step 1: Rinse and Dry the Peanuts
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash the peanuts thoroughly under cool, running water.
- Place the peanuts on a clean dish towel or paper towels and pat them dry.
Step 2: Season the Peanuts
- Lightly spray the peanuts with oil spray, recommends Karl Guggenmos, a senior culinary advisor and global master chef at Healthy Meals Supreme. This will help the seasoning stick to the peanuts.
- Then, add your desired seasonings — you can use salt, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, garlic powder or another spice in your pantry.
If you prefer, season the nuts when they come out of the oven. That way, you can avoid using oil.
- Arrange the peanuts in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet or a large baking pan. "Always make sure you have a large enough pan so all the nuts can lay flat and not stack up," Guggenmos says. Use two pans, if needed.
Step 3: Bake the Peanuts
- Place the cookie sheet into an oven.
- Use a spatula to stir and flip the nuts frequently so they roast evenly.
- Allow the peanuts to roast for approximately 15 minutes.
Step 4: Remove Peanuts From the Oven
- Remove the peanuts before they are fully cooked since they will continue to brown for a while the heat is turned off.
- If you haven't already seasoned the peanuts, sprinkle them with kosher salt.
- Allow the peanuts to cool until they are easy to handle.
If you want to use unshelled peanuts, follow the same procedure but increase the roasting time to approximately 30 minutes. If you're roasting the peanuts for homemade peanut butter, use Spanish peanuts, as they have a higher oil content than other types of peanuts.
Read more: 9 Simple and Satisfying Peanut Butter Snacks