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Creative substitute for candied nuts in a salad

I love a salad with some fruit, cheese, and candied nuts (like a pear gorgonzola or frequently at our house, apples and maytag). My little boy loves the fruit, cheese, and greens salad, but he is allergic to nuts. I'd love to come up with some kind of substitute - something with a satisfying crunch that I can apply my own sugar and spice coating to. Anyone?

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  1. Dried peas or soy nuts (assuming he is only allergic to tree nuts and not legumes).

    1 Reply
    1. re: jsaimd

      Could you make croutons with your coating?

    2. Maybe something like one of the Chex cereals? Ramen?

      1. He can eat soy, edamame, etc. Sweet and spicy croutons/chex? Hmm, I have to think about that one.

        1. My dad was always adding dry cereal into salad. Maybe something like raisin bran or raisins and cheerios would add crunch and sweet.

          1. I had a salad recently that had a large shard of "pumpkin seed brittle" on it. Forget the nuts and just do the coating, make sure to spread it VERY THIN so you don't have enormous chunks of it. Just nice crunchy flakes.

            The pumpkin seeds were nice, though, if he's not allergic.

            1. Candied pumpkin seeds. Suzanne Goin has a recipe for these in her Sunday Suppers book - may be available online too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cheryl_h

                A definate possibility. I think she is great, and he can have these.

              2. i have no idea about if this would work but i'll throw it out there anyway. chowmein noodles?

                1. Cheerios work great - even better, Heritage O's (by Nature's Path) or Quaker Corn Bran.

                  I sometimes crumble rice crackers or rice cakes in there, or used Goldfish crackers (though that wouldn't work with the spice mix).

                  One thing you might want to try: savoury granola. I did it once by accident when I confused cumin and cinnamon, but it tasted awesome!

                  1. i've made a "seed" brittle with pumpkin, sesame and fennel seeds, finished with powdered ginger, salt and sugar. for a kid you may want to skip the fennel, but i found it addictive.

                    1. Fried wonton strips sprinkled with spice mixture while still hot.

                      1. Deep-fried chickpeas. They are addictive.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: TorontoJo

                          We have nut allergies too, and are always looking for a replacement for the "nut" in salads.
                          Chickpeas (garbanzos) are great--fried, dried or even from a can.
                          Wonton wrappers cut into strips baked with salt
                          Croutons made from pita bread brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and pepper (or sugar and cinnamom if you want sweet) and baked
                          We sometimes use chowmein noodles (less healthy but yummy and crunchy)
                          Once we added fried onions
                          Good luck!

                        2. I must add, with the juxtaposition of the topic above this right now, I bet bacon brittle would be fabulous on a salad.

                          1. Since peanuts are legumes and not tree nuts, I'm assuming those are safe. Candy those or just use premade "beer nuts," which are just candied spiced peanuts.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

                              Sorry I was not specific enough. Peanuts are enemy #1.

                            2. Unhealthy: canned onion strings, crumbled Pirate's booty white cheese corn puffs.

                              Healthy: Water chestnuts, celery.

                              1. Tortilla strips crisped up in a little olive oil, then sprinkled with sugar - cinnamon too, if you want that flavor. Or salted for savory.

                                1. How about pomegranate seeds?

                                  1. Maybe sunflower seeds or those sesame sticks that come in the sort of "Asian rice cracker mixes" at TJs or Costco? For that matter, could you get a fairly generic/non-flavored rice cracker and use that as the base?

                                      1. At Whole Foods (and I'm sure other places as well), they have those "Just ________" tubs of veggies and fruits that are crunchy. The company name is Just Tomatoes http://www.justtomatoes.com/html/1veg... and that's the link to the veggies page... so many to choose from!

                                          1. Bet you could candy pretzel sticks -- a low fat option.

                                            1. I like sesame sticks in my salads..Mmmm How 'bout those??

                                              1. Whole wheat pretzel bits
                                                Crisp flatbread and cut into triangles
                                                A few potato chips
                                                Banana chips

                                                1. the dry stove top stuffing, right from the cannister is great - just like tiny, seasoned croutons.