How To Add Nuts To Your Diet

Walnut butter is a healthy addition to breakfast.
Walnut butter is a healthy addition to breakfast. | Source

Including nuts in your diet is a smart idea. Besides their warm, satisfying flavors, nuts contain vitamins and minerals that we may not get from other sources.

Grabbing a handful to munch on always works. But I wondered if I could figure out some new ways to incorporated nuts in my day. And I ended up with three easy and yummy ideas that you might enjoy, too.

Homemade walnut butter is less expensive than store-bought and quick to make.
Homemade walnut butter is less expensive than store-bought and quick to make. | Source

Nut Butter

Nut Butters have become popular - peanut, of course, but now almond, hazelnut and others are widely available in stores. I decided to try making my own, and used walnuts that were already in my refrigerator. You can use whichever kind you like.

First, I roasted the walnuts to bring out their flavor. Here's how: place 1 cup in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put them into a 350 degree oven for about 8-10 minutes. Pull them out and check for burning. Stir them a little and let them cook a couple of minutes longer. Take them out and let them cool.

Then I made the butter this way: put nuts into a food processor. Run it for 2 minutes or until a paste forms, scraping the sides of the bowl down with a spatula if needed. If the paste is thicker than you would like, try mixing in olive or flaxseed oil by teaspoonfuls until it is the right consistency.

After tasting it, I added just a tiny pinch of salt. The flavor was just a little bitter, as walnuts are - you can add a little sugar to even it out. But it looked as creamy as the organic jarred brands and spread easily. My daughter enjoyed it right away on a bagel.

Note: Store the butter in a sealed container in your refrigerator to prevent spoilage.

Walnut dip with apples and peaches
Walnut dip with apples and peaches | Source

Nut Cream

Then I had another idea - turning the butter into a sauce or dip. I could imagine it with fruit or maybe on a coffee or pound cake.

It turned out to be easy: just whisk together the nut butter and low fat milk in equal parts. You can use water instead - or cream, if you want to make it more luscious. Then use it in fruit platters, or drizzle it over a dessert.

Spinach quiche with pine nut crust
Spinach quiche with pine nut crust | Source

Recipe: Spinach Quiche With Pine Nut Crust

One of the first ways I thought of using nuts in a recipe was as part of a crust. Since, I love making (and eating) quiche, I decided to try modifying a familiar recipe to include pine nuts. They gave a new depth to the flavor, and the crust handled beautifully - a winner all around!

Spinach Quiche With Pine Nut Crust

Cast your vote for Quiche

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour 50 min
Yields: 4-6 servings
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pine nuts add a distinctive flavor to crust.Basil plants grow quickly and yield a lot of leaves.Milk and parmesan cheese add richness to quiche.Pine nuts and wheat flour combine for a moist, tastey crust.Sauteed spinach and garlic make the bottom layer of the quiche.
Pine nuts add a distinctive flavor to crust.
Pine nuts add a distinctive flavor to crust. | Source
Basil plants grow quickly and yield a lot of leaves.
Basil plants grow quickly and yield a lot of leaves. | Source
Milk and parmesan cheese add richness to quiche.
Milk and parmesan cheese add richness to quiche. | Source
Pine nuts and wheat flour combine for a moist, tastey crust.
Pine nuts and wheat flour combine for a moist, tastey crust. | Source
Sauteed spinach and garlic make the bottom layer of the quiche.
Sauteed spinach and garlic make the bottom layer of the quiche. | Source

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white or wheat flour, (I like combining them)
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, ground in a food processor or grinder to make paste (about 5 tbsp paste)
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 small or 1 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups spinach, large leaves chopped lightly
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 3/4 cup basil, rolled up and cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Measure the flour into a bowl. Add the pine nut paste, mixing it in gently with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Moisten dough with the water, then knead it a few times until it is smooth. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 415 degrees. When dough has chilled, take it back out. Roll it out, on a floured surface or between two sheets of plastic wrap, thin enough to cover the bottom and sides of a pie tin.
  3. When crust is in the tin, cover it with wax or parchment paper and put a layer of rice or beans on top (this will keep the pastry from puffing up). Bake for 10 minutes. Take away the paper and rice/beans and bake for another few minutes until it just starts to brown. Remove the crust and turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil to medium low in a pan. Saute the garlic for 1 minute, being careful not to burn it. Put in the spinach and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat to let it cool. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add in the basil and cheese.
  5. Spread the garlic and spinach over the bottom of the crust. Pour the egg mixture over the top of that. Then bake the quiche for about 50 minutes until it is well set and the top is starting to brown.
  6. Sprinkle some extra cheese and chopped basil on top if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Comments 6 comments

kissayer profile image

kissayer 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great hub! I have no trouble finding ways to add nuts to my diet because I love them - nut butter, whole nuts, nut flours/meals yum!


Heather63 4 years ago

Good for you! I hope with your intolerances, etc that nuts are both delicious and easy for you to take - they are so great nutritionally.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland

What a wonderful hub this is and a great way to incorporate nuts into the diet. The spinach quiche with the pine nut crust looks delicious and will definately give this one a try.

Many thanks for sharing these delicious ideas. Voted up + shared


Heather63 profile image

Heather63 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA Author

Thanks, Helen! I do really enjoy "experimenting" in the kitchen. And I'm grateful my family is usually up for it!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

Heather - those are great ideas! I love nuts and have at least 4 or 5 varieties on hand all the time. I spin mine in the coffee grinder or the food processor and use the ground up particles to replace part of the flour in loads of things - like cheesecake crusts or quiches--and to coat things in lightly--then I spray them with vegetable spray and bake them....nuts are just so good for you. My husband has improved his diabetes to the point it's gone (type 2) and one of his things was adding nuts to his diet. You don't need many mind you at a time because of the calories and fat but man are they good for you! Great idea on the walnut butter....yum. Will have to try that.


Heather63 4 years ago

Hi akirchner! The coffee grinder is a smart idea - I'd like to have an extra one on hand for things other than coffee. And I'm impressed and glad to hear about your husband's health, diabetes can be such an overwhelming condition. I have a friend with adult onset, and she's had to reevaluate everything she does in light of it. I hope you enjoy the butter!!

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