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:
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…
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:
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!
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.
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.
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
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:
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!