Looking to incorporate more nuts into your diet? Look no further.
Nuts are pretty much the simplest snack there is. But if you think nuts are restricted to being served in a small bowl at a bar or party, think again. Nuts can be the base for many a recipe, and particularly for those cooking vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free they make for endless options. Here are 8 types of nuts and a few ideas of what to do with them.
Hazelnuts are a common nut in biscotti, and while we’re on the Italian theme, let’s not forget that you can make your own (healthy) Nutella with them. Chop them up an add them to vegetarian quinoa cakes. They’re also great to grind up and use as flour, which makes for good crusts for sweet tarts and pies. You can also track down hazelnut oil if you’re looking to add some different flavor to your salads and cooking.
A fairly common nut, almonds make their way into many things from your more basic trail mix to fancier things like marzipan. You can use them to make your own almond milk at home, and even your own almond butter. Ground into a flour, almonds are good for recipes like these gluten-free Chewy Spice Cookies, Coconut Almond Bars or decadent brownies.
Cashews are the best friend of anyone incorporating a more plant-based regimen into their lifestyle. Soaked and ground, they get a creamy texture, perfect for vegan alfredo sauce, a cream frosting for raw cheescake and even in a soup. Cashews can also be made into cashew butter, a good replacement for peanut butter if you’re looking to change things up.
You can candy walnuts with brown sugar and rosemary, use them to make gluten-free crackers, or even make a raw walnut butter that essentially tastes like cookie dough. Walnuts are also a good base for gluten-free and raw pie crusts.
The bright green color of pistachios makes them a fun addition to any dish. How about chopped up and on vegan dark chocolate truffles? Or in a batch of granola bars with cranberries and white chocolate? They completely change a cinnamon roll recipe, and paired with Meyer lemon they make for the most decadent cheesecake ever.
6. Pine Nuts
The base of many a pesto recipe, pine nuts are also great toasted and tossed on a salad, or on top of sauteed greens. With roasted beets and tahini they make for a compelling side dish and paired with rosemary, they give you a creative twist on classic shortbread.
For crusts, pecans are an excellent choice, even better if you’re making a pecan pie. Pecan milk? Yup, you can do that. And can you make pecan butter? Of course you can. Even tastier if you add a little cinnamon to it.
Beyond eating a roasted version at the holidays, chestnuts aren’t so common in our usual list of culinary staples. They’re easy to roast and peel at home, and after that you can use them in cookies, or together with fennel in a creamy soup. Churn into a chestnut butter with a bit of honey, or make it into a puree, which can be used in a variety of desserts.
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Image: Steffan Zahn