There’s no need to fear nuts. Sure, they are high in fat and calories, but most of the fat comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved heart health. Vitamin E, plant sterols, and L-arginine found in nuts improve heart health by reducing plaque build up. Nuts can be a major source of fiber, protein, and iron for someone following a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
Because they are so densely packed with nutrients, a little goes a long way. You only need about two tablespoons of nut butter, 1 oz of nuts, or 1 tablespoon of nut oil per meal or snack.
- Breakfast: use nut butters in smoothies, toast, or overnight oats, or top your morning oatmeal or cereal with a few tablespoons of whole nuts.
- Salads: Top salad greens with a small handful of chopped almonds or walnuts, or use pine nuts to add some crunch to a couscous salad.
- Snack bars: make no-bake, healthy granola bars using nut butter to hold all your ingredients together, and add whole nuts for a crunchy texture.
- Dressings and sauces: use nut oils or nut butters to create a flavorful salad dressing, use peanut butter for an Asian-inspired sauce for stir-fries, or blend basil and pine nuts or walnuts to make pesto for a pasta dish.
- Roasted: roast nuts on low heat in the oven or on the stove top until fragrant to bring out the nuts natural flavor. Try one of the recipes below for a sweet or spicy variation on roasted nuts, then add in some dried fruit to make your own trail mix!
- One cup of whole unsalted almonds
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions: Coat almonds in oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Give the tray a toss halfway through to prevent burning. Alternatively, roast nuts in a pan on the stove top on low heat until fragrant. Toss nuts in a bowl with remaining ingredients to coat.
- 1 cup of whole unsalted cashews
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries or other dried fruit
Directions: Coat cashews in oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. Give the tray a toss halfway through to prevent burning. Alternatively, roast nuts in a pan on the stove top on low heat until fragrant. In a bowl, mix Sriracha, soy sauce, and chili powder. Toss roasted nuts in bowl to coat, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Mix with dried fruit, spicy roasted chickpeas, and/or any other trail mix ingredients desired.