Nuts are good for so much more than throwing together a batch of trail mix. This pantry staple is a great ingredient for creative appetizers, entrees that are savory or sweet, and even zesty toppings. They're also a wonderful way to make vegan and plant-based recipes that even meat eaters will devour. Check out our easy nut recipes and the details about this surprisingly-flexible kitchen essential.
Best Nuts to Buy
There are a lot of great nuts to choose from at your local grocery store and farmers market, and they can all be added to a variety of recipes. These are the best nuts to buy for cooking and preparing food with (they're also delicious on their own!):
|Walnuts||Kola nuts||Pine nuts|
How do you make nuts more interesting?
Nuts are a tasty treat when eaten raw and straight from the shell. They're also a versatile pantry staple that can be prepared in several different ways. Try these tips to make nuts more interesting:
|Roast them in the oven||Use them to coat meat||Mix them with dried fruit|
|Add them to salads||Blend them into nut butter||Add them to roasted vegetables|
|Toast them in a pan||Soak them to make nut milk||Use them as a dessert topping|
|Mix them with popcorn||Add them to yogurt||Season them|
What can I put on nuts?
Nuts are delicious on their own, but it's easy to dress them up. Try putting these toppings and coatings on your favorite nuts:
|Salt||Melted chocolate||Crushed red pepper|
|Citrus fruit juice||Cayenne pepper||Cinnamon sugar|
|Paprika||Curry powder||Popcorn seasoning|
|Chili powder||Nutritional yeast||Caramel|
What is the best way to roast nuts?
The best way to roast nuts is to use your oven. Here is an easy recipe for roasting any amount of nuts:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Optional: toss nuts in a light coat of neutral-tasting oil (like grapeseed). This will give the nuts more flavor and crispiness, but it will also add to their calorie and fat content.
- Spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet, and put them in the heated oven.
- Remove the baking sheet after 5 minutes to redistribute the nuts evenly across the sheet (they tend to spread to the edges during the baking process, and keeping them spread out helps them roast evenly). Place them back in the oven.
- Check to see if they're done after another 3 minutes. They're done when they're a slightly darker shade than they were when they were raw and before they were coated in oil.
- If they aren't done, keep checking them every 2 or 3 minutes. They should cook no longer than about 12 minutes.
How do you keep candied nuts crisp?
The best way to keep candied nuts crisp is to store them in an airtight container in the freezer. This will keep them fresh and crunchy for up to two months.
What is the shelf life of nuts?
Although they can last for a long time, nuts will eventually go bad and turn rancid. The best way to store raw nuts without their shells is to keep them in an airtight container in the freezer, because this keeps them fresh even beyond their expiration date. These are the approximate shelf lives of the most popular nuts:
|After sell-by date||After sell-by date||After sell-by date|
|Almond||9-12 months||1 year||2 years|
|Brazil Nut||9 months||1 year||1 year|
|Cashew||6-9 months||1 year||2 years|
|Hazelnut||4-6 months||1 year||1 year|
|Macadamia||6-9 months||1 year||2 years|
|Peanut||6-9 months||1 year||2 years|
|Pecan||6 months||1 year||2 years|
|Pine Nut||1-2 months||3-4 months||5-6 months|
|Pistachio||3 months||Not a recommended storage method||Not a recommended storage method|
|Walnut||6 months||1 year||2 years|
Whether you use them whole, chopped, or ground, these easy nut recipes are delicious ways to shake up your breakfast, lunch, supper, and snack game. As a bonus, many of these are vegan nut recipes that will satisfy plant-based eaters and carnivores alike.
|Pork and Peanut Balls: For a new twist on this zesty favorite, give this Asian-inspired recipe a try.||Baked Almond Feta: You won't miss the dairy in this nut-based cheese, which is delicious as a dip or a spread.|
|Seed and Nut Crackers with Avocado Dip: These crackers are easy to make but taste like they came from a gourmet grocery store, and the spicy dip is a tasty take on traditional guacamole.||Nut Crusted Portobello Mushroom Strips: Meat eaters can swap in chicken or beef strips for the mushrooms, but we suggest sticking to the recipe as is. The portabellas are just as juicy, hearty, and flavorful.|
|Green Bean & Almond Quinoa Salad: This salad is so full of flavor and texture, you'll have a hard time going back to plain leafy green mixes.||Cold Curry-Peanut Noodles: This recipe calls for peanut butter rather than whole nuts -- but if you're feeling ambitious, why not grind your own?|
|Nuts, Seeds, and Stuff Burger: These burgers are some of the most flavorful meat-free patties we've ever tried, and they're packed with nutrients.||Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Fries: These next-level baked (read: healthier) fries will delight your taste buds with a wowing blend of texture and spices.|
|Basil Walnut Pesto Recipe: This recipe is so simple and delicious, you'll want to always have it on hand to enjoy with noodles, on toast, or as a dip.||10-Minute Raw Vegan Taco "Meat": Taco night just got a whole lot healthier with this easy-to-make plant-based blend. Be warned: it's spicy!|