Dukkah recipe with almonds, sesame seeds, coriander, fennel, anise, and salt. It’s my own take on Trader Joe’s dukkah. This recipe comes together in minutes. And it makes enough to last you for a long while.
There’s only one problem with being a big Trader Joe’s fan. Just as soon as you’ve fallen in love with a product, it’s often ripped away.
That happens when it’s something seasonal, if there’s a quality control issue, or if it just wasn’t selling well enough to stick around. As a TJ’s enthusiast, you have to go in with a certain amount of detachment, knowing that today’s favorite may be tomorrow’s fond memory.
One recent example? Dukkah nut & spice blend.
Trader Joe’s sold small jars of it near the spices for a few dollars. It made its way onto my favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products list. (You can check out that post to see a picture of the packaging, in case you want to keep your eyes peeled for it.)
For some reason, it’s a seasonal item. And it recently made its yearly exit. I’m not sure when it will be back again, but it might not be until the spring.
How will I keep up my dukkah habit? It was time to make my own again.
What is dukkah?
Dukkah is also spelled dukka and duqqa. Dukkah is an Egyptian condiment that’s usually made with hazelnuts and seeds.
The word is derived from the Arabic “to pound.” That’s a reference to the way a mortar and pestle is typically used to grind down the nuts and seeds into a blend.
I’ve made dukkah in the past. It’s not hard to make at all. But the recipe I made most often from Vegan Eats World did take a little bit of time because it called for roasting hazelnuts and pistachios yourself, and then removing the hazelnut skins with a towel.
The nuts & seeds used in that recipe are a little different than what Trader Joe’s lists on their ingredient label. So I decided it was time to fuse & simplify the two for a dukkah recipe that doesn’t take long to make, and tastes equally delicious.
For my dukkah recipe based on the Trader Joe’s mix, I use almonds, sesame seeds, anise seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and salt.
How to use it
I was first introduced to dukkah about 20 years ago, when I had a pen pal in Iran. In addition to frequent letters, we also sent each other care packages of foods & small gifts.
In one package, she sent me a plastic bag of dukkah. I really didn’t know what to make of it. I nibbled on a fennel seed, and felt perplexed about how exactly I’d use this.
What I didn’t realize as I was eating it plain out of the baggie is that dukkah is mostly used as a dip.
Think of it as the savory Middle Eastern version of Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip. Except instead of dipping a candy stick into sugar dust, you’re dipping bread into oil to wet it, and then finally into a shallow bowl of dukkah.
The nut & seed mixture sticks to the bread. When you bite into it, you’re greeted with notes of nuttiness, salt, sausage flavors from the fennel, a faint citrus flavor from the coriander, and licorice from the anise.
(If you’re not into the flavors of fennel, coriander, or anise, I give other spice options below.)
What to serve with it
One of our favorite dinners is a big kale salad with bread, oil, and dukkah on the side. It makes a healthy dinner salad a whole lot more fun.
It’s also a tasty addition to a vegan charcuterie board or mezze platter along with warmed Castelvetrano olives, grilled artichoke hearts, dolmas, crudités, and fruit.
The other night I sprinkled some on top of hot, buttered corn-on-the-cob. (Using non-dairy butter, obviously.) It was excellent.
The limits are endless! I have a couple of other dinner ideas using this dukkah recipe. So look for those in the weeks to come.
Finally, dukkah would make a great DIY vegan food gift. Put it in a jar, and tie on a ribbon. Then give it with a baguette & nice bottle of olive oil.
Make it your own
Make this dukkah recipe your own by switching up, swapping, or adding different nuts and seeds.
Instead of almonds, try hazelnuts, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, and/or pumpkin seeds.
Instead of or in addition to the seeds listed here, try one to two teaspoons of cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or black peppercorns.
Can I use ground spices instead?
I wouldn’t advise it. Even though you will be grinding the spices, the texture you’re aiming for is just slightly crushed. Not a smooth powder like you’d find in commercially ground spices. It should adhere to the bread like pebbles, not dust.
I recommend visiting your grocery store bulk bins to buy a scoop of each of the whole spices. That way you don’t have to commit to an entire jar. A spoonful of whole spices usually costs just change.
How to make it
Start by toasting coriander seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds, and sesame seeds for a couple minutes in a dry skillet on a medium heat. Stir frequently, so that they don’t burn. Once they are fragrant, turn off the skillet.
(You may notice the sesame seeds are not shown in the skillet picture above. I didn’t think about toasting those too until after I’d already taken the pictures. I just dumped the sesame seeds into the food processor further in the recipe. It still tasted great. So if you forget to toast the sesame seeds too, it’s not a deal breaker.)
Once the seeds are fragrant, move them to a clean, dry coffee grinder or spice grinder.
Give it a pulse a few times. Be careful not to over blend.
You don’t want it to be a powder. You want it to be coarsely chopped. (If you’d rather use a mortar & pestle for this, go for it.)
Then put the roasted & unsalted almonds into a food processor. Add the seed mixture, and smoked salt or kosher salt.
(You may be wondering why I recommend breaking up the spices in a coffee/spice grinder first, before moving them to a food processor. It’s because spices have a way of falling to the bottom underneath the blade in a food processor. You’re more likely to really break them up if you blitz them on their own first in a smaller container like a coffee grinder.)
Trader Joe’s dukkah uses kosher salt. But smoked salt adds some savory, smoky undertones. Use whichever you prefer.
Pulse the food processor several times, or turn it on low.
You may need to stop and stir a few times, so that everything breaks down evenly. You want the dukkah to have an even, pebbly consistency. Don’t turn it into almond flour or almond butter.
Now it is ready to use & serve!
Put a few spoonfuls into a small, shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, drizzle extra virgin olive oil.
Dip hot bread into the oil, and then directly into the dukkah to pick it up.
This dukkah recipe makes a generous amount. It will last you a while, even if you are a dukkah fiend like me.
How to store it
Keep the dukkah in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator, so that the oils in the nuts stay good.
Sesame seed & almond dukkah
- Bring a dry skillet to a medium heat. Add fennel seeds, coriander seeds, anise seeds, and sesame seeds. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until fragrant. Make sure to stir occasionally, so that none of it burns.
- Put the seed mixture into a clean, dry coffee grinder or spice grinder. Pulse a few times. Be careful not to blend too much. You don't want it to turn into a powder. It should have a gritty texture.
- Put the almonds, spice mixture, and smoked salt or kosher salt into a food processor. Put the food processor on low, or pulse until the dukkah has a mostly even, pebbly consistency. You may need to stop occasionally to stir, so that everything gets evenly mixed.
- To serve, put a few spoonfuls of dukkah into a small dish. Pour extra virgin olive oil into a separate small dish. Dip the warmed bread into oil & then into the dukkah, so that the nuts & seeds adhere to the bread.