AD | I absolutely love walnuts – not only because they taste delicious and are super nutritious, but because they are extremely versatile too. This is why I’m proud to be supporting California Walnuts’ Got it Cracked campaign and have 4 brand new delicious recipes to share with you.
Nuts about nuts!
Fun fact: Did you know that more than 99% of the walnuts produced in U.S. are grown in California? In fact, the large majority of walnuts you find in the supermarket will be a produce of California, whether that’s your local supermarkets own label or a well-known brand! So when you’re shopping for walnuts make sure to check the pack to see if it says Produce of USA or Produce of California.
Walnuts are high in unsaturated, heart healthy fats, and are a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (known as Alpha-Linolenic Acid or ALA); these are essential fatty acids as our body cannot make them, meaning we must get them from our diet. They are also a source of fibre with a 30g serving (a handful) providing 1.4g.
Packed full of vitamins and minerals including folate, magnesium, manganese and copper, California Walnuts are a great plant-based addition to smoothies, salads and snacks too. Eating more ‘plant based’ means bringing plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and seeds from the sides of our plates to the centre and making them not only present, but the star of the show at meal times.
Plant based diets are good for both the planet and our health too as plant-based diets have been associated with lower risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity and various cancers. Walnuts in particular (30g a day) have been found to improve the elasticity of blood vessels, in addition to promoting optimal blood cholesterol levels.
As well as being a great source of Omega-3’s, there are many other benefits to including a handful some walnuts as part of your weekly shop, such as…
- They contain 4g of plant-based protein, which can help us feel fuller for longer – ideal for an afternoon snack!
- Are a great source of B Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) & Vitamin B6 which support normal functioning of the nervous system and can help the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food.
- Are rich in copper and zinc which contribute to immune function & maintenance of normal skin and hair
California Walnuts are harvested in September and October, fresh from the sun-soaked groves, and have a mild, sweet and natural creamy taste, which is why I love them! A portion of walnuts is 30g (or a handful).
Top tip: Did you know you should store your California Walnuts in the fridge to get the most of them and enjoy them at their freshest!
Incorporating a handful of California Walnuts into main meals throughout the day or eating them as a snack at any time, is a simple, tasty and convenient way to add important nutrients to your diet! Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner – I’ve got you covered with my four tasty recipes!
CARROT CAKE SMOOTHIE – Perfect for breakfast!
If you’ve read my blog before or tried some of my recipes, you might know that I absolutely LOVE carrot cake and can’t get enough of my carrot cake porridge or energy bites, so naturally I couldn’t resist trying out a carrot cake and California Walnut smoothie too! This is perfect for breakfast as it contains a variety of nutrients such as carbohydrates for energy, healthy fats and protein!
INGREDIENTS (Serves 1)
- 250ml coconut milk (not tinned)
- 30g/handful of California Walnuts
- 1 carrot – peeled and chopped
- 1/2 frozen banana (peel & chop before freezing)
- 1 heaped tbsp of oats
- 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 2-3 pitted (or 1-2 medjool) dates or a tsp of honey to taste
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Simply blend everything together and serve!
CALIFORNIA WALNUT & POMEGRANATE SUMMER SALAD – Perfect for lunch!
One of my favourite things to do with a salad is to include lots of different textures! Not only for taste, but to provide a real diversity of ingredients too (important for good gut health!). I absolutely love the crunch of the walnuts mixed with the creaminess of the cheese and the sweet punch of the pomegranates!
INGREDIENTS (Serves 2)
- 4 large handfuls of Watercress
- 2 handfuls of California Walnuts
- 2 cooked beetroots (chopped)
- 100g Goat’s cheese (torn into pieces)
- 100g Pomegranate seeds
- 1 orange (peeled & chopped)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Simply divide the salad ingredients between 2 plates, mix together the salad dressing and drizzle of the top!
SWEET CINNAMON & ORANGE CALIFORNIA WALNUTS SNACK
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, these cinnamon and orange flavoured California Walnuts are the perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack and will help to keep you going until your next meal – whether that’s at home, on your break at work, or you can even store in a small Tupperware and enjoy on the go!
INGREDIENTS (Makes 6-7 portions)
- 200g of California Walnuts
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- Juice + zest of an orange
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper, place the walnuts on the tray, and roast in the oven for 3 minutes.
2. Mix together the maple syrup, orange juice & zest and cinnamon in a small bowl and drizzle over the walnuts, tossing to coat.
3. Place back in the oven and roast for 5-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
4. Allow to cool (so they go crunchy!) & store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
CALIFORNIA WALNUT & PEPPER PESTO PASTA – Perfect for dinner!
This delicious and creamy walnut & pepper pesto pasta sauce is packed with heart healthy unsaturated fats from the California Walnuts and the extra virgin olive oil. It’s SO simple to make and contains no added sugar or salt, like some ready made sauces!
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
For the Pesto:
- 350g (1 jar) roasted red peppers, finely chopped
- 100g California Walnuts
- 1 garlic clove (or 1 tsp lazy garlic), crushed
- large pack basil (keep a few leaves to serve)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Your favourite pasta (use around 75g dried per person) or crusty bread
- Your favourite cheese e.g mascarpone, ricotta or mozzarella
1. Simply add all of the pesto ingredients to your blender and blend until you have a smooth paste.
2. Serve with your favourite cooked pasta or crusty bread and cheese.
3. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
I hope you love these recipes as much as I do!
If you make them, please do tag me on Instagram (I’m @nicsnutrition!)
If you want to find out more about California Walnuts, or try some other tasty walnut recipes, do check our their website and social media:
This blog post was written in collaboration with California Walnuts. All words and recipes are my own. Please read my disclaimer page about brand collaborations.