We all know nuts are good for us, especially when it comes to healthy fats and proteins, but nuts and seeds are also easy to add to a wide range of meals and snacks that add texture and nutrients.
For a lot of people, croutons are an essential ingredient in salads. That crisp, salty topping adds something special to what could otherwise be a boring plate of greens. But croutons add no nutritional value to our salads, whereas pecans, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, or sunflower seeds are a great way to add that crunchy texture of a crouton while also adding nutrients.
Consider a simple spice mix of paprika, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper combined with apple cider vinegar and brown sugar to create spiced nuts to top an arugula salad with apples, red onion, and cheddar cheese. The flavour combination is to die for, and you might end up never using traditional croutons again.
When it comes to baking, many people can become fearful of modifying recipes, but when you look at the ingredients there are often great ways to add nuts for nutrients, flavour, and texture. Banana bread is a great place to include walnuts, and cookies can often be taken to a new level by adding almonds or pecans. You can also add a variety of nut spreads to baking to add smooth texture and complex flavour.
There’s nothing better than a beautiful smooth soup, and nut spreads can contribute to a soup’s flavour and texture. A great soup that lends itself to the use of a nut spread is a spicy yam soup. If you puree your soup based and then mix in your peanut butter, you get a creamy soup without the cream, and it helps tame some of the spicy soup’s heat. Almond butter is also a great addition to a cauliflower soup.
Nuts are a great addition to a bag lunch or a cocktail party. But instead of just sticking with salted nuts straight from the bag, consider making your own party nuts. Cashews are my favourite nut,especially for snacking, because I love that they’re a little softer than your typical nut and can take a lot of flavour. They also make a great companion for ice-cold craft beers. When you’re making party nuts, always use raw or unroasted, unsalted nuts. Spiced or seasoned nuts can also be hostess gifts or a great salad topper.