1. Roast nuts to bring out their flavour: Preheat oven to 300°F. Place shelled nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for seven to 10 minutes. Sprinkle chopped or whole on salads, frozen low-fat yogurt or sorbet.
2. Need a quick special dinner? Mix finely chopped pecans with an equal amount of bread crumbs. Roll pieces of fish fillet or boneless chicken breast in lightly beaten egg white, then in nut mixture. Bake in a 375°F oven until nicely browned and cooked through.
3. Earthy flavour combo: Cook and drain whole-wheat fusilli or rotini. While hot, toss with a few cubes of blue cheese, chopped cooked green beans and a handful of roasted pine nuts, hazelnuts or walnuts.
4. For a stir-fry with nutritional benefits, toss almonds or cashews into a wok or saucepan with red pepper, carrot rounds, broccoli florets, and chicken cubes or whole shrimp.
5. Jazz up a side dish: Add roasted pecans or hazelnuts to squash or sweet-potato casseroles.
6. Vegan delight: For a meat- and dairy-free paté, sauté 1 cup (250 mL) chopped mushrooms with a diced small onion in a little olive oil until soft. Let cool slightly and then season with coarsely ground black pepper. Purée with a large handful of walnuts (thin with a little sherry or wine if needed). Place in a serving dish and chill. Serve with crackers or toasted multi-grain baguette slices.
7. Bake more nutritious desserts: Use finely ground nuts to replace some of the white flour in pie crusts, loaves and muffins.
8. Tropical trail mix: Make your own exotic snack with coarsely chopped Brazil nuts, unsweetened coconut, and diced dried mango slices or apricot halves.
9. Snack with a kick: Toss a large handful of whole cashews, almonds or walnuts with a teaspoon (5 mL) each of olive oil and ground cumin, a pinch of salt and some cayenne pepper. Place in shallow pan, and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
10. Tasty salad duos: Try adding pine nuts and orange slices; pecans and cooked beets; hazelnuts and pears; cashews and apples; or Brazil nuts and chicken strips.
This article was originally titled "Small But Mighty," in the March/April 2010 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.