This cafe I used to go to for lunch would make a salad with dried fruit and candied walnuts. They were sweet and spicy, they used curry powder for the spice and sugar.

I wanted to try the sweet and spicy mix but without using curry powder. I had Chinese five spice in my pantry which is a mix of fennel seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and peppercorns. I use the PC Black Label brand which also includes sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic, ginger, brown sugar, coriander seeds, anise seed, and cardamon seeds. Orange goes well with all these flavours, and with a sprinkle of monk fruit sugar for a slight sweetness, the result was crunchy aromatic toasted walnuts that has elements of sweet, warm, cool and spicy.

spiced walnuts


Course Snack
Servings 3 cups


  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp monk fruit sugar
  • 3 cups walnuts
  • 2 tsp chinese 5 spice
  • tsp sea salt


  • On medium heat, add the oil to the pan.
  • Once the oil is hot. add the walnuts to the pan. Stir until all the nuts are coated with oil. Fry for 4 minutes string often so the nuts don’t burn.
  • Add the Chinese five spice, monk fruit sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt and toss for another minute. The nuts should be a golden colour, if not continue frying for a few more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and sprinkle with the remaining salt. You can serve them warm, they will be slightly soft but crisp as they cool.
  • Store in an airtight container.


I’ve been experimenting with sugars, and if I make something that the sugar replacement works just as well as real sugar then I stick with it.
Monk fruit sugar is a natural sweetener that you can find at most grocery stores or  health food stores. It makes these nuts keto friendly, but if that doesn’t matter to you, sugar can be used instead.
I really like the PC Black Label spice mixes. I find them to be reasonably priced and good quality. And when it comes to spice mixes, I can’t be bothered buying 10 different spices and mixing them together. Especially when this one works so well.