Marks Daily Apple
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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. One of my favorites is almond yogurt. I got it out of the book ‘Healing with Whole Foods’; but you can also find videos of this on YouTube. Here’s the way I usually make it:

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight and drained)
    1-2 teaspoon(s) miso (unpasteurized)
    1/2 cup water

    -Mix water and miso together to make a solution.
    -Pour almonds and miso solution into a blender and blend until creamy.
    -Store in a covered jar — do not seal airtight — and let it ferment for 6-10 hours.

    Again, if you look on YouTube, you’ll find some videos about this. I’ve never seen one using miso. I have however seen some that use no culture at all, and simply ferment the ground almonds and water. I’ve seen some using a commercial probiotic starter culture, I also imagine you could use freshly strained kefir as a starter — or maybe miso and honey would work.

    You can also experiment with the proportions of nuts/seeds to water to alter the thickness.

    P.S. I have seen a video on YouTube where they pour boiling water over the almonds before they blend them. This doesn’t cook the almonds, but kills any potential bad bacteria on the skins. I’ve personally never done this, but it might be a good idea.

    Anyway!!! Just wanted to mention almond yogurt. The recipe is only as complicated and specific as you want to make it — either way, nut/seed yogurt is pretty fantastic, and I can only imagine that the soaking/blending/fermenting makes the nutrients much more readily assimilable than in the dry, whole form of the nut/seed. Although the whole nut/seed can have a very good and satisfying crunch to it, and that has its own benefits too, I’m sure. Nut yogurt is good but sometimes I just want a good handful of almonds, you know? :p

    Take care

    Jib wrote on July 15th, 2010
    • Have you been able to make a bigger batch to store in the fridge? If so, how much and how long does it keep?

      JC- FitMarker wrote on August 19th, 2010
  2. Hey there Mark,

    I have been on the Primal Diet for a couple of months now and I feel great, but am struggling to lose a few extra pounds… The problem my dad thinks is the almond butter I eat. I might eat 1-4 tablespoons of it a day with an apple/banana. Is this the culprit? I feel because of eliminating all carbs and most other fats that this is okay… maybe not? Your advice would be greatly appreicated…
    ~Taylor

    Taylor wrote on September 19th, 2010
    • I’m not mad on calorie counting but 4 tbs of almond butter clocks in at 400 cals according to fitday.com. I’m not sure what the rest of your consumption is like but that seems pretty high! You may want to stick with a few tps instead.

      Also bananas and apples have a relatively high carb content. Again depending on consumption you may want to replace those with berries etc

      PrimalSteve wrote on November 11th, 2010
  3. Dear Taylor,

    sorry to interfere, but I have a thought on this. Not every lifestyle change affects everyone the same way. When I started down the path to good health, I initiated my search with a book called “Sugar Busters”, then I discovered the paleo lifestyle. I have still come to the same conclusion. Although I ABOSLUTELY agree with this lifestyle, I still do believe that we are so unique on a bio-chemical level, that it’s hard to say that EVERYONE will respond, weight wise, similarly. I can’t imagine that having 1-4 tablespoons of AB would affect that, now I would not suggest eating it with fruit and here is why: Fruit increases insulin in your system and thus affects the digestion of your fat, and nuts are pretty high in fat content. You may consider eating it separately. If you eat the fruit 30 mins before or 2 hours after the almonds you see your metabolic rate increase and you’ll be able to process those sugars in your system as opposed to hanging on to them. Just remember that good fat is ESSENTIAL in this type of lifestyle. So, fat is not the culprit, it’s the SUGAR. It almost always is.
    ~here’s to good health
    Magui “maggie”

    Magui Jorgensen wrote on September 21st, 2010
  4. To all nut butter lovers,

    If one is to restrict or eliminate whole wheat bread, how do you eat your nut butter? I’m so used to eating sandwiches that I have a hard time doing without bread…

    Lloyd wrote on April 15th, 2011
    • Hey Lloyd,
      You can use almond meal to make some awesome crackers and breads. Yes, you have to eat it sparingly, especially if you’re going to add nut butter on top.

      My fave recipe is for crackers is:

      600g almond meal
      400g hard goats cheese (finely grated)
      4 sprigs of rosemary, stalks removed
      Teaspoon of baking soda
      3 tablespoons of water
      Teaspoon of cayenne pepper

      Mix all ingredients into a dough ball
      Place in bowl, cover and refrigerate for one hour
      Place a quarter piece between two sheets of baking paper and roll out thin and flat using s rolling pin
      Sprinkle lightly with salt on one side.
      Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter
      Place onto baking tray and pop in oven for 15mins st 150c and then turnover and leave in oven for 15 mins at 100c

      You should avoid the crackers going deep brown colour – they will tasted burnt if this happens.

      Store in airtight container or fridge.

      Search the web for some amazing almond meal
      bread recipes.

      AdamOfBondi wrote on April 15th, 2011
  5. I made the cracker recipe and it was very salty. Perhaps there is a misprint in the amount of salt? Next time, I think I will omit the salt. they would have been good otherwise!

    TNKB wrote on May 16th, 2011
    • I agree!! I just made them and am hoping they will taste less salty after sitting a while.

      Donna wrote on September 17th, 2011
  6. I just stumbled upon your site while searching for almond meal recipes. I love your creations… I just wish there were nutritional facts for them. :)

    Dee wrote on July 6th, 2011
  7. The Primal Nut Crackers came out way too salty!

    Donna wrote on September 17th, 2011
  8. Spicy nuts are great! Can’t wait for them to cool, should have made a triple batch.

    Shelley wrote on September 28th, 2011
  9. Should have read the comments before making the crackers! Way too SALTY! I would suggest preparing them just dusting the top of crackers before baking. With salt modification these would be good.

    Shelley wrote on September 29th, 2011
  10. I am not positive where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I must spend a while finding out more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I used to be in search of this information for my mission.

    Almond Butter recipes Almond Butter wrote on October 30th, 2011
  11. Right now, I’m mad at Far Cry 2 for doing the same thing and wished I pirated it. I’ve been installing Far Cry 2 for about 6 times now because I’ve been benchmarking and reinstalling Windows. Now I can’t even play it because it says I’ve activated it too many times.

    Mica Luu wrote on November 15th, 2011
  12. I found a website for the same pastry recipe. The Almond meal should be 2 1/2 cups. Everything else is the same. I tried it how it was written & it was goo! I know I probably should have used colder coconut oil, but it wouldn’t have had enough almond meal.

    Rebecca wrote on August 9th, 2012
  13. I have read about going primal and really love the idea! However, many recipes include almonds in a variety of ways ( almond meal, almond milk, …). I am severely allergenic to almonds, brazil nuts, and several others. Are there any alternatives to almond milk, almond meal, and various nut butters? I am also currently wheat and peanut free due to allergies as well which limits other things as well. Anyone have advice, suggestions or companies with other tree nuts that are not processed with the offending items? Thanks in advance.

    Ashleigh wrote on August 10th, 2012
    • You can make your own nut butters in the food processor. Also nut milks or you can buy or make coconut milk. Search around the internet for info on how to do this.

      Sharon wrote on August 13th, 2012
  14. Mark, I am new to this Primal thing and I am enjoying all the info A LOT!Thanks for putting this together. I have a question, Why you don’t mention peanuts? Thanks

    Maria K wrote on August 13th, 2012
    • Peanuts are legumes. High in omega 6 and possibly aflatoxins. If you use the search space at the top of the page you can usually find the info you are looking for.

      Welcome to the tribe!

      Sharon wrote on August 13th, 2012
  15. Thank you so much Mark! So glad to find this place.

    Just wondering about the fat in nuts, won’t they get rancid If we roast them?

    When I make almond butter I always roast them first, 340 degree for 12-15 minutes. It release amazing smell, and the process is much faster compared to non roasted.

    By the way, you don’t need to add ANY oil to make nut butter. Roasted almond will turn silky smooth in 15-17 minutes with food processor. Macadamia and cashew are faster.

    Herbert wrote on October 19th, 2012

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