Summer is probably the most hectic time of the year for me, I’m always running around trying to keep up with the booming garden, house chores, and work, and also trying to take advantage of the nice weather with weekend camping trips, hikes, and trips into the city. Portland really explodes in the summer months—it’s such a beautiful town, and when the weather is nice, there’s nothing like strolling around, stopping for a beer or two, and taking in the greenery and brick buildings as fellow residents walk by. I know that everyone else is trying to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts, too, so I wanted to make a healthy and tasty on-the-go snack to keep myself and you all nice and fueled up for the bustling sunny season! And what better snack than rich and crisp pecans?
I know pecans are traditionally relegated to the dessert category, but their buttery flavor lends itself to *so* much more than just pies (you can check out this pecan-encrusted rack of lamb and roasted acorn squash and pecan soup from the recipe archives for some savory pecan recipe inspo!) Their crunchy-yet-smooth texture pairs so well with a wide variety of ingredients, I love using them in salads and wraps for a tasty protein, fiber, and healthy fat source, or pulsing them in the blender with some olive oil and salt for a tasty spread. Out of the seven nut trees grown worldwide, the pecan is the only one native to North America, and virtually all the pecans sold in North America are grown here, so you know you’re supporting US farmers and small businesses when you purchase and cook with them. They’re a huge part of southern cooking and food culture, but I’m hoping their versatility spreads to the northern states, too!
So, along with the chopped and raw pecans, these bars have chopped dates, coconut flakes, flax seeds, fresh rosemary, honey, a hefty dose of sea salt, and a kick of hot sauce. I am kiiiiiind of obsessed with salty sweet foods, and these bars toe that line perfectly. With every buttery pecan bite, you get an herbal kick of rosemary, a little sweetness from the dates and honey, a dash of heat, and a nice salty finish. I know the spicy element might sound strange, but trust me, it goes craaaaaazy well with the salty sweet combo.
Just an FYI, you can store any extra pecans in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 9 months, and can store them in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag for up to 2 years. They can also be thawed, frozen, and thawed again several times without having any effect on their texture or taste, woohoo! Just make sure that the container they’re in is *totally* airtight, as they will absorb the flavor of any odor in the fridge or freezer if they’re not sealed up. Wishing you all a very fun-filled summer!! 😀
This post was made in partnership with the American Pecan, but all opinions expressed here are my own, per usual!