Thinking of new ideas to make your celebration meals a bit more special – think of nuts! Not only will they add a nutritional boost, but also a delightful crunch, flavor and creative spin.
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices going:
Turkey Stuffing – add a few spoonfuls of diced roasted nuts, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios and/or macadamias to your stuffing mix just before baking, and don’t forget to sprinkle some over the top as well.
Beans and Squash – when you’ve blanched green beans, toss with oil or melted butter, a spoon of honey and some toasted sliced almonds or diced pecans. For a change, par cook squash, dice and toss with chopped raw nuts and maple syrup then bake until golden and crunchy.
Pumpkin Pie – take a delicious healthy twist for your pie shell by substituting half the butter for ground nuts or nut butter, or if it’s a graham crust, just toss in some raw chopped nuts.
Just nuts – for pre-dinner drinks or with your cheese plate course, toss your favorite nuts with oil and any spice or herb you fancy and bake until golden and aromatic – try rosemary and almonds, cumin and cashews, cinnamon and hazelnuts, chili and pecans, basil and walnuts, ginger and macadamias or cilantro and pistachios.
And for a wonderful side dish or light meal, try these muffins with squash and pine nuts…or walnuts, hazelnuts…
A new and fun way to serve barley risotto with earthy roasted squash – perfect for a special occasion or just for a snack. You can just boil the barley if preferred, but this method brings out a lovely flavor and texture. You may think tea unusual for the glaze but it adds a rich depth to the mix. Walnuts and pecans (or any nut for that matter) are marvelous with these too. Add them to the mix too if you like for some extra crunch.
Maple Syrup Glazed Barley, Tree Nut and Squash “Cupcakes”
Makes 10-12 cupcakes
¾ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons black tea
12 ounces chopped squash or pumpkin (kaboocha is perfect)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups barley
1 teaspoon mustard seeds, optional
1 cup white wine
3 cups simmering stock or water
1 cup baby spinach
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, or preferred nuts
Baby arugula, to serve
Recipe and Styling – Sally James
Photography – Gerald Parrot
Bon-appétit from the Nutty Chef!