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Most people considering a vegetarian menu are concerned about protein. Nuts are a fabulous source of protein and they are mega versatile.

Longevity e-magazine writes, “One of the biggest blunders of dietetics was telling people not to eat nuts and seeds because they are ‘high in fat’. They are positively good for you. . . A recent study of 25 high-quality trials in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that those who eat 67g a day, a small handful, have lower cholesterol with more HDL and less LDL, lower triglycerides (blood fats) and consequently a reduction in risk for cardiovascular disease.”

I love nuts, but I’m not going to go on and on about how they are an excellent source of anti-oxidants, omega 3 fats, minerals, and zinc, I’m just going to get to it:

Twelve Ways to Use Nuts

  1. In baked goods (of course): cookies, brownies, banana bread, carrot cake, and so on forever.
  1. In a whole grain pie crust. Instead of using white (bad for you) flour, try this one: ¾ C. whole wheat pastry flour. ¾ C. oat flour (grind oat groats or oatmeal if necessary), ½ C. pecans or walnuts, ¼ C. minus 1 tsp. oil, 2 T. water (approx.) Grind flours and pecans in food processor until finely ground. Slowly add oil, blending briefly. Place in bolw and mix in enough water to form a dough that holds together. Roll out between wax paper. Peel off top paper and carefully invert into a pan. Peel off remaining paper and shape edges. Prick and bake 350º for 20 or less minutes or fill and bake.
  1. In a savory nut loaf.
  1. In salads. A simple one is greens, fruit (grapes, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, or chopped apple), cheese cubes (flavor depending on fruit or what is on hand), and nuts (pecans, walnuts, filberts, or almonds slivers). Chopped (fak’n) bacon is optional. Add roasted chicken pieces for a non-vegetarian entrée. Serve with a fruit dressing vinaigrette. Don’t make salad complicated, just delicious—you’ll eat them more often.
  1. As a creamy sauce for fruit. I have two favorites:
    1. Pignoli Cream: 1 C. pignoli nuts (pine nuts), 1 T. psyllium powder (or less—it gets very thick), 2 T. maple syrup, ¼ C. water, 1 tsp. vanilla. Blend.
    2. Cashew Cream: 1 C. cashew pieces, soaked, ½ C. nut milk, 1 or 2 apple(s) chopped, 1 banana. Blend. The extra apple makes this more of a pudding that is yummy with fresh strawberries for breakfast.
  1. Banana Candles. This is a fun treat that children get a kick out of. On individual plates, place a ring of fresh, cored pineapple. Cut a peeled banana in half and invert half, standing the flat end into the pineapple ring so that the pointed end is up. Cut a brazil nut in half, lengthwise and sharpen one end with a knife. Insert the blunt end into the tip of the banana. Spread chopped nuts and grape halves around pineapple. When ready to serve, light the brazil nut. It will burn because of it’s high oil content!
  1. In nut butters. Almond butter on a waffle with maple syrup is to die for!
  1. In a stuffed baked apple. Wash and scoop out the cores of 4 large baking apples, leaving the bottoms. Toast ½ C. hazelnuts. Blend in food processor with ½ C. soaked raisins, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. allspice, 3 T. agave or honey. Stuff into apples and bake 350º for 20 min. Serve with a nut cream (see above). My children loved this dessert! Because the apple is so filling, serve with a light meal like butternut squash soup and salad.
  1. You can buy nut crackers. Try with a slice of cheese and a slice of apple.
  1. In Tofu Nut Balls (see this post for preparing tofu).
  1. In healthy treats such as Cashew-Cocoa Truffles. Blend: 2 C. cashew pieces (or almonds, pecans, etc.) until finely ground. Mix in ½ C. cocoa powder, and ½ tsp. Himalayan salt. Add ½ C. agave or raw honey and 2 T. melted coconut oil (or oil from top of almond butter) until well blended. Form into small balls and roll in unsweetened coconut. I keep them in an air-tight container in the fridge, ready for snacking.
  1. In a trail mix. My favorite trail mix is the simplest: raw almonds and apple slices I dried in the fall.

Seriously, this is just the tip of the ice-berg. I purchase my nuts at Costco or the bulk of a health food store and keep them in the freezer. Unsweetened coconut, raisins, and dates can also be found in the bulk department of a local health food store.

Soaking nuts is highly recommended. Read this article for information.

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