Ways to Use Walnuts


The California Walnut Board web site contains a treasure trove of recipes designed to help you make the nutritious nut a much more prevalent part of your diet. There are recipes that feature walnuts in everything from soup to desserts. Here are five walnut dips and sauces, reprinted courtesy of the Walnut Board, which can be used as a spread or dip for just about anything.

Parsley Walnut Butter [top]

½ cup butter, unsalted, at room temperature
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoons parsley, flat leaf, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine butter, walnuts, parsley and lemon juice. Process by pulsing for about 2 minutes or until mixture is well blended. Season with salt and white pepper.

2. Scrape into container, cover airtight and refrigerate, or freeze for up to three months.

Walnut Gremolata [top]

½ cup walnuts
½ cup parsley sprigs, lightly packed
1 medium lemon, zested
1/8 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Finely chop walnuts to the size of rice grains, to make about 1/3 cup. Place on a dry baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted, stirring once or twice. Cool.

2. Rinse parsley and pat dry between sheets of paper towel. Finely chop to measure ¼ cup. Place in a small bowl.

3. Remove yellow part of lemon zest with a zester or fine grater. Add to parsley.
Stir in cooled walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper.

Note: Gremolata is a traditional accompaniment for braised veal shanks but also goes well with fish or vegetables, such as steamed asparagus spears.

Eggplant-Walnut Pate [top]

1 large eggplant
1 cup walnut pieces
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled, grated and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Pierce the eggplant with a fork in several places and bake until very soft, about 45 minutes.

2. While the eggplant is baking, grind the walnuts in a food processor until very fine, and set aside.

3. Remove the eggplant from oven, slash to let steam escape, drain off any liquid, and scrape the pulp into a food processor with the ginger root, garlic and olive oil. Process until smooth.

4. Add the ground walnuts and allspice, and process until smooth.

5. Season to taste with the salt, and hot pepper sauce. Spoon into a small loaf dish and chill several hours or until firm.

Garlic Walnut Dip [top]

3 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
¼ cup walnuts
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the toast in a food processor and process into fine crumbs. With the motor running, add the walnuts and garlic and process until they are ground fine.

2. Add the remaining ingredients with the motor running and process until smooth, adding more water if the mixture seems too thick.

3. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: The dip can be used as a sauce for fish or spooned over slices of fresh mozarella and tomatoes. Or it can be served in a small bowl surrounded by red pepper and zucchini strips.

Creamy Walnut Sauce [top]

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups vegetable stock or water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup lowfat milk
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
3 ounces crumbled cotija cheese (about ¾ cup) or freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a food processor, process the chopped walnuts, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl two or three times, until they become a smooth, thick paste. Set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the walnut paste and vinegar; whisk until smooth.

3. Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock and continue whisking until no lumps remain. Stir in the cinnamon, cloves, sugar, milk, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, 15 minutes.4. Stir in the cotija cheese and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.