Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
7 Oct

Top 10 Ways to “Go Nuts”

Loaded with heart-healthy good fats and a good source of protein, nuts are a satisfying – not to mention – tasty addition to any diet. But, if you relegate your nut consumption only to the odd handful of raw nuts you’re missing out on a ton of opportunities to go nuts!

Read on to learn our top 10 ways to use nuts.

1. Make Your Own Nut Butter

Sure, peanut butter has a certain air of nostalgia, but there are so many other (healthier) alternatives. Almond butter is perhaps the most common alternative (and the one that is easiest to find in your local supermarket), but that doesn’t mean you should discount hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans and pistachios, which can all easily be transformed into a tasty butter. And the best part? Making nut butter really isn’t that difficult at all.

To make a good nut butter, follow this simple recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup roasted nuts or seeds
1 tbsp and 1 tsp of coconut oil

Throw all ingredients into a food processor or blender, process at medium to high speed, stopping periodically to scrape down sides. Blend until smooth or, if you’d prefer, leave the butter a little chunky. Store mixture in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator and warm to room temperature when ready to use.

2. DIY Primal Nut Crackers

The Primal eating plan allows you to indulge in a plethora of great dips, and, while you can always slice up a few vegetables and use them for dipping, sometimes all you really want is a cracker. And now you can…

Ingredients:
2 cups fine almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp water

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir to form a moist, sticky dough. Add more water or oil if needed. Using wet hands, place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using your fingers, flatten the dough out into a uniform thin layer free of cracks. Bake in a preheated 350 degree over for 15 minutes or until dough becomes dry and golden in appearance. Remove and cool on a wire baking rack. Once the dough is cooled (and this is important, because it becomes very brittle right out of the oven) use a pizza cutter to create “crackers.” If not consuming immediately, be sure to store in an air-tight container.

3. Spicy Almond Recipe

One of the greatest things about nuts is that they are easy to transport, but sometimes, well, they’re just a little boring. Spice up your next snack mix with this spicy recipe:

1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of whole almonds, shelled
1 tbsp sea salt

In a non-stick skillet heat the olive oil and spices over low heat for 3 or so minutes. Place the nuts in a bowl and pour oil mixture over the top, toss and stir. Then, spread nuts into a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and pop in a oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, shaking the tray about every 5 minutes to cook evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt. Let cool two hours. Store in an airtight container.

4. Stop Hunger Pangs in Their Tracks

You eat a hearty breakfast at 7 a.m, one that you’re convinced will keep you satiated till the lunch hour rolls around, but when the clock strikes 11, your belly begins to rumble. Stop hunger in its tracks by noshing on a few nuts. Just 10 almonds (about 100 calories) will keep pangs at bay and may even help you from overeating come lunch hour.

5. Flourless Pie Crust

Eating clean doesn’t have to mean giving up an all-American apple pie – our only request is that you make the crust yourself – from scratch!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups almond meal
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt
5 tbsp (approximately) of icy water

Combine almond flour and salt in a mixing bowl, stir in coconut oil and mix until mixture resembles course crumbs. Mix in water, 1 tbsp at a time, until a dough is formed. Refrigerate until ready to use. When ready, roll out and place in a pie dish. Fill your favorite fruit (we recommend apples, but blueberries are also delicious) and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes or until crust turns a rich golden brown.

6. Add Some Crunch to Salads and Stir-Frys

We all know salads and stir-frys are a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, but sometimes, well, the texture just isn’t there. Add some crunch by adding some nuts to your next vegetable-based dish. Not sure you’re up to the stir-fry challenge? Here’s a great overview of all the potential ingredients as well as super-simple steps that’ll have you sizzling in no time! Or, if you’re in the market for a salad, check this out for our ultimate guide to making a delicious salad.

7. Pesto Party

Usually, when you think of pesto, you think of just tossing in a few pine nuts. But why limit yourself? Pistachios, Macadamia, Walnuts and even Brazil nuts make an awesome (and at times, less costly) addition to any pesto recipe. The following is one of our favorites – feel free to sub in other nuts as desired.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup dry roasted pistachio nuts, shelled
2-3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest

To make, place the nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the basil and pulse a few more times. Add the garlic and lemon zest and…you guessed it… pulse a few more times. With the food processor on low, begin slowly drizzling in the oil. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed. Blend until smooth. Should make about 1 cup.

8. Bread-Free Fruit and Nut Stuffing

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and already you’re plotting how you can stock up on delicious – not to mention, healthy – roast turkey without falling into a stuffing trap. Resist no more – the following is a Primal recipe (courtesy of recipesource.com) that will satisfy the whole family without throwing your diet off track.

Ingredients
18 whole pitted prunes
1/2 cup dried currants
1 cup raisins
24 dried apricot halves
1/4 cup Bourbon
3 cooking apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped.
3 large onions, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4 tsp butter, melted
2/3 cup whole macadamia nuts
2/3 cup whole cashews
1 cup unsalted walnut pieces
2 cups whole, raw cranberries
1 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp oil
2 eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

The night before, place prunes, currants, raisins, and apricot halves in a bowl and pour bourbon over the top. Cover. If you are using salted macadamia nuts and salted cashews, remove salt by rinsing them under cold water. In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil and add nuts. Stir constantly until nuts turn golden brown. In a second skillet, add the butter, apples, onions and celery and cook over moderate heat until celery and onions become tender. Transfer mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the fruit and all remaining ingredients. Gently mix the stuffing until evenly blended. When ready to use, stuff turkey 3/4 full and roast according to size, or put in an oven-proof dish and prepare as a side dish.

9. Got Milk?

You might rely on cows as your primary source of milk, but did you know that nuts themselves can make delicious milk. The website, www.Paleofood.com, has the following easy recipe for almond milk:

Ingredients
1 cup of almonds
4 cups of water

To activate almonds, soak overnight and then pour off water. The next day, dip the almonds in boiling water, remove from water and peel away skins. Place in a blender with roughly 4 cups of water (less will make the “milk” thicker) and blend until smooth. To sweeten the milk, consider adding half of a banana or a handful of prunes or other dried fruit.

10. Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars

Last week we profiled 10 easy steps to creating a Primal energy bar that relied, quite heavily, on nuts as its base. It’s a quick and easy recipe and makes a great snack or meal replacement for the person on the go – in fact, we’d venture to guess that you’ll go nuts for this recipe!

mrjorgen Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

10 Ways to Forage in the Modern World

How to Eat More Fat

Smart Fuel: Almonds

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Here’s a good one: grid up some brazil nuts with some unsulphured dried apricots so that you make a paste – you may need to add a little water. A homogeniser or powerful blender does this best. Then add cocoa powder to the paste until it becomes the correct consistency to make truffles. These are deliciously sweet from the apricots and rich from the nuts and also have a chocolate flavour, of course…

    Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later wrote on October 7th, 2008
  2. So many great recipes lately! Keep them coming! My whole household is going NUTS!!! It’s a great way to be :)

    new_me wrote on October 7th, 2008
  3. Our local grocery store has an actual Almond butter press where you can go in and make your own almond butter. This is usually what we end up doing. I am very much looking forward to trying some of these other recipes though… Nut Crackers for sure! Also, I will definitely doing a pie crust but am still running into a minor problem with a healthy pie feeling… any chance that you will be tackling that one in the future Mark?

    Son of Grok wrote on October 7th, 2008
  4. Seriously? That’s all you have to do to make nut butters? I never knew…
    Now, can you use olive oil, or does it have to be coconut oil?

    FatFighterTV wrote on October 7th, 2008
  5. Son of Grok –

    Great question. I’ll see if I can touch on it in the future.

    Thanks for the great comments!

    Cheers!

    Mark Sisson wrote on October 7th, 2008
  6. My fav “nut” butter:
    1 c raw pecans
    1 c raw almonds
    1/3 c ground (fresh is best) flax seeds

    Run together in food processor. I havent done it in a while cuz I would eat the whole thing.

    Hey, any idea on those crackers without the cheese??

    sarena wrote on October 7th, 2008
  7. Wow THANK YOU for the recipe on nut butter. I think I will make that today!!!!

    Dr Dan wrote on October 7th, 2008
  8. Oh Baby! Thanks for those great recipes. I’m gonna go buy me a bunch of different nuts. I’ve found my local Walgreens to have the best prices. In fact, terrific prices.

    Kloep wrote on October 7th, 2008
  9. Kloep, I would watch with the Walgreen’s nut. they are generally oil coated and not of good quality!

    sarena wrote on October 7th, 2008
  10. Fatfighter-
    You can use olive oil as well. I make nut butters all the time.

    Crystal wrote on October 7th, 2008
  11. sarena-

    Here is a nut cracker recipe that doesn’t call for cheese.

    http://www.atkinsdietbulletinboard.com/forums/recipe-requests/875-almond-meal-recipes.html

    Enjoy!

    Mark Sisson wrote on October 7th, 2008
  12. I love this post! Thanks for the great ideas. I’ll be trying a number of them out in the next few weeks!

    Jen wrote on October 7th, 2008
  13. Thanks for the link but splenda–you gotta be kidding!! I can see adding some flax and hemp seeds for more fiber and fat!

    sarena wrote on October 7th, 2008
  14. It looks like the recipe would be fine w/o any sweetner. You could use a pinch of stevia if you wanted.

    Crystal wrote on October 7th, 2008
  15. “Ingredients:
    1 cup roasted nuts or seeds
    1 tbsp and 1 tsp of coconut oil”

    1 tbsp WHAT and 1 tbsp of coconut oil?

    Nice post.I never thought this would be so easy.

    3ller wrote on October 7th, 2008
    • same problem here.

      Want to fix me some nutbutter. 1 tbsp of what do i need to add?

      Samson wrote on November 8th, 2010
    • There is no “What”. It means use 1 Tbsp of coconut oil AND 1 tsp of coconut oil.

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 8th, 2010
      • It might have been easier to say 4 teaspoons instead of 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon (there are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon). Just sayin’…

        Great website by the way, my husband has been able to bring his systemic inflammation down by going primal (he’s been fighting a lifelong fight with asthma). He feels less respiratory trouble by eliminating, or at least limiting, the carbs in his diet. So, thank you! I’ve been trying to go primal, but less successfully, unfortunately.

        Lea wrote on November 16th, 2011
  16. Crystal, my thoughts exactly–no sweetener needed. Thats why I was shocked at the addition of splenda!!

    sarena wrote on October 8th, 2008
  17. I always have almond oil handy, i pour it on my salads and use it to saute’ food. Just a suggestion, make almond butter using almonds and almond oil, no sweetener, i do add just a tiny dash of sea salt.

    Donna wrote on October 8th, 2008
    • If I choose to use any sweetener in my almond butter it is usually a touch of coconut sugar or raw organic honey. Just a bit (to taste). It’s a nice little treat on celery stalks or with raisins.

      Jeff wrote on October 4th, 2012
  18. Just wanted to say Hello Donna–miss ya.
    Almond oil is a good idea.

    Crystal wrote on October 8th, 2008
  19. Hey Crystal!
    Thanks-I miss you, too!! Hope you’re doing great. Almond oil really does make great tasting almond butter, so good, i love it!

    Donna wrote on October 8th, 2008
  20. sarena –

    Yes, of course. If you don’t want the Splenda, don’t add it.

    Here is another simple almond cracker recipe for you:

    http://insearchofahealthylife.blogspot.com/2008/07/almond-crackers.html

    Thanks for the comments!

    Mark Sisson wrote on October 8th, 2008
  21. Mark

    When will you publish a cookbook? The chicken a la King was outstanding, and I am standing in line to order such a book.
    Also, I’m reading a book others might like titled “Lights Out!” It covers Grok, his hormonal fluctuations, his disease resistance, all under the topic of the cycles of night and day. Pretty fascinating.
    Yours, Kapo

    heykapo wrote on October 8th, 2008
  22. Thanks for the recipes. Yet another reason to get creative in the kitchen.

    Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips wrote on October 21st, 2008
  23. Hello
    My cousin in Canada gave me the link to this site, which i have found very interesting (I’m in the UK) – almond meal /almond flour? Is that just very fine ground almonds, as I’ve not heard of it before and I think from reading the site, your way of eating will be very suitable for my ailments.
    Thanks
    Shelley

    shelley duncan wrote on November 28th, 2008
  24. I know this post comes a year late, but I’m hoping for some feedback anyway. I tried making the nut crust last night, and it was a bit of a disaster!

    With 2/3rds cup of coconut oil, the mixture was so wet, it was impossible to form dough. We had to add twice as much almond flour just to make it somewhat solid, and even then, the crust is just dripping with oil. (Almost too heavy to eat!) Besides that, coconut oil dripped all over the oven and burned. Quite a toxic evening!

    In any case, I wanted to check if the proportions were right, or if others might have had this problem. Because the pie came out quite nicely, otherwise!

    +j

    Jeremy wrote on October 12th, 2009
    • Hi Jeremy,
      I haven’t made this pie crust, but I know from making grain crusts (in my other life) that you need to keep the fat cold. So in this case the recipe is probably using coconut oil that is cold enough to be solid white chunks, rather than a drippy oil. This is just a guess, since I haven’t actually made it myself.
      -sarah

      Sarah Hemingway wrote on January 26th, 2010
    • No, I think you are correct, the pie crust recipe is a disaster. It is now 2013, but I still found this page when searching for a flourless pie crust. I also had to more than double the almond meal, and of course that made way too much “crust”. By the time I was done “fixing” the proportions, working the dough made for a mess. Maybe if the coconut oil was “cold” and semi-solid to begin with, it would help, but I can’t imagine you’d ever use 2/3 cup of oil to 1 1/4 cups of meal. I wondered if “2/3 c” should have been “2-3 T” haha.

      The flavor of what eventually resulted was pretty good! But next time I think I’ll start with 1/4 cup oil, adding more if needed.

      Les wrote on July 5th, 2013
  25. I have a question!
    I’m a 76 year old diabetic with heart and cloresterol problems. A couple of weeks ago my doctor advised that meds were keeping the LDL down but were also driving my HDL below normal. She gave me a list of items that would get my HDL back up where it belonged. The list included nut butters. I turned to Google to find some “recipes” for nut butters. Peanut, cashew, and pecan butter sounded good but how about 1/4 cup of peanut butter, a half cup of cashew butter, a couple of walnuts, a tsp of vanilla extract and a dash of Louisianna hot sauce???
    Millions of hits in Google but I still have nothing but plain peanut butter, plain cashew butter, etc.
    My question is “WHY”?
    Is it taboo to mix different kinds of nuts and/or seeds to make nut butter? I was shocked when nothing turned up that included more than one kind of nut.
    At 76, am I the first guy to think about combining various kinds of nuts to get more diverse flavors?
    Maybe I missed something?
    I’d appreciate someone clarifying my foggy mind or at least having a go at it.

    TIA

    Roger wrote on February 24th, 2010
    • Hi Roger,

      I posted a mixed nut butter video a couple of years ago – maybe I was the first!! :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzA6ljXSkts&feature=youtube_gdata

      My suggestion is to avoid roasting / heating the nuts (anyone care to expand on the benefits of raw nuts vs heated? I always thought that roasting/baking nuts turned good oils into bad ones and u that’s the case, why Di a number of the recipes above include heating nuts and seeds? Was Grok baking his nuts or eating them raw I wonder?) and just experiment with sauces and any variety of nuts you like. On. Final thing though is that I have read in many places that peanuts are toxic and generally should be avoided. Again, if anyone with knowledge beyond Googling can clarify on this I would be grateful.

      Cheers,

      Adam

      Adam Lindsay wrote on March 15th, 2010
      • My understanding is that to get the most from nuts they must either be heated or soaked in water. I can’t remember what exactly that does but it’s easy to find info online (I would do it but I don’t have the time right now). cheerio, Sue

        Sue wrote on April 19th, 2010

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!