Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘pine nuts’


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on August 20, 2009

What a fabulous fresh tomato season this is!

I bought a lug of gorgeous slightly softened tomatoes from the farm stand and dehydrated about half of them. That prompted me to create a delicious variation of the previous post. Into the processor went the grains! Into a bowl went the tomatoes! A little mixing, a little stirring, a little tasting, a little baking, and voila! A great looking, great tasting, savory tomato-infused pine nut bread using the same whole grains as in the Pistachio Caper Bread. The key to this recipe is planning ahead to allow time for the grains to soak.



Yield: 2 small loaves (4 to 6 servings per loaf)

1 cup wheat berries
1 cup oat groats

2 1/2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
Hot or boiling water

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon psyllium seed husks

1 cup pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Place the wheat berries and oat groats into a large bowl and add water to cover by 3 inches. Set aside to soak for 8 to 12 hours.
2. When the grains have soaked, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Place the sun-dried tomatoes into a medium bowl and pour hot or boiling over to cover. Set aside to soften for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Drain and rinse the soaked grains and place them into the food processor. Measure the tomato soak water and add enough tap or filtered water to make 1 1/4 cups. Add this water to the processor along with the salt, cayenne, and half of the well-drained sun-dried tomatoes.
4. Pulse and process the grains for about 2 minutes, or until they are ground to a coarse meal and all the liquid is well incorporated. Stop the machine occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. If your processor has a small capacity, process the grains in 2 batches.
5. Combine the 1/4 cup water and psyllium seed husks in a small bowl, stir well, and set aside for 30 seconds to thicken. Add the psyllium mixture to the processor and process until it is well incorporated into the batter.
6. Transfer the bread batter to a large bowl and add the pine nuts, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Drain and chop the remaining sun-dried tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Mix well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
7. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared jellyroll pan in two even piles and use the spoon to shape the loaves into thick rectangles about 5 x 7 inches.
8. Lightly cover the loaves with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 1 hour and 50 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool the bread completely. Slice and serve.

Oat groats and wheat berries are available in natural food markets. Psyllium seed husks are also available in natural food markets. The psyllium husks serve to absorb water and act as a binder.

If not serving right away, wrap the breads separately in heavy-duty plastic bags and refrigerate for up to one week. Bring to room temperature before serving or wrap in aluminum foil, shiny side inside, and warm in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.

I like to prepare these breads in advance and freeze them to give as gifts or to enjoy when guests come for dinner. To freeze, wrap the cooled breads separately in heavy-duty zipper-lock plastic bags. Frozen, they will keep well for up to 4 months.

Posted in Nut Recipes, pine nuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chocolate Chip Cookie Look-Alikes

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on May 31, 2009

I love teaching plant-based cooking classes. What gives me so much pleasure is seeing the surprised looks and hearing the delightful expressions that come from students who are amazed that plant-based foods that spotlight nuts actually taste pretty darned good and are crammed full nutritious natural ingredients. The menu for a recent cooking class featured these very nutty bean patties made from black beans, pine nuts, and walnuts. The students loved them so much, they made both platters of patties disappear.
While walnuts and pine nuts are quite different in nature, they do have some beneficial health attributes in common. Both contain significant levels of arginine to encourage good blood flow, phytosterols to regulate the absorption of cholesterol, and antioxidants that protect our cells from oxidation. They excel in healthful mono and polyunsaturated fats. Both nuts contain plenty of protein, fiber, B vitamins, especially folate, and vitamin E.
Focusing on their uniqueness, walnuts score very high in the all-important omega-3 fatty acids with 9.08g for 3.5 ounces that help to reduce inflammation in the arteries. Pine nuts contain no omega-3 fatty acids, but they do have a whopping 1324 mg of copper for 3.5 ounces to help protect the bones. Walnuts contain 2.94 mg of Vitamin E, but pine nuts stand out with their 9.33 mg of Vitamin E for 3.5 ounces. Walnuts deliver 104 mg of calcium, while pine nuts contain only 16 mg. Clearly, each nut, has individual strengths in particular nutrients, driving the point that no single nut stands out as superior. Variety works best.


While these nutty bean patties deliver a rich savory flavor, they look surprisingly like chocolate cookies dotted with chocolate chips. Enjoy these with fresh salsa on top or tuck them into a whole-wheat pita with lots of trimmings like chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and shredded lettuce. You can also enhance them with your favorite barbecue sauce.

This is one of the delicious recipes from my cookbook, The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion.

beanpatties copy

Yield: 9 to 10 patties (3-inch diameter)

1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4 cup raw coarsely chopped walnuts

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained*

1/2 cup oat bran or wheat germ
2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.
2. Combine the pine nuts and walnuts in the food processor and process until they are finely ground. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
3. Put the onion into the food processor and chop until it is minced. Transfer to the bowl with the nut meal.
4. Measure 1/2 cup of the black beans and add them to the bowl with the nut meal. Put the remainder of the beans into the processor. Add the oat bran, water, salt, cumin, coriander, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper and process until well blended. Spoon the mixture into the nut meal and mix well.
5. Drop the mixture from a large spoon onto the prepared baking sheet to form nine or ten 3-inch patties. Flatten the patties slightly so they will bake evenly. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Turn the patties over with a metal spatula and bake 10 to 12 minutes longer.

Note: If you prefer to use canned beans rather than cooking beans from scratch, 1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans will give you the 2 cups of beans needed for this recipe. Rinse and drain the beans before using.

Posted in Antioxidants in Nuts, Bean Recipes, Minerals in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health, pine nuts, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 7, 2009

I thought it might be helpful to have an overview of the nutritional highlights of tree nuts. While this listing is certainly a good quick reference, it only scratches the surface of the plethora of health benefits nuts have to offer.

It may seem that I’m promoting nuts as some sort of miracle food. Not so. I’m just recognizing nuts are one of Mother Nature’s many gems that are packed with goodness, especially when paired with other foods that are nutrient-dense and low in saturated fats.

In the information below there may be some terms that are unfamiliar. Here is a brief explanation:

Arginine –an amino acid that changes into nitric oxide that relaxes blood vessels and permits better blood flow. May help alleviate coronary artery disease like chest pain and clogged arteries (called atherosclerosis).

Phytosterols – natural plant fats found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that benefits the body by interfering with the absorption of excess cholesterol

Antioxidants – combination of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes found in plant foods that prevents our tissues from oxidation that leads to degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease

Tryptophan – an essential amino acid the body can’t manufacture and must get from food. Necessary for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. Used by the body to help make niacin and serotonin. Serotonin thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood

Folate – also known as folic acid or folacin, a form of the water-soluble Vitamin B9. Occurs naturally in food and can also be taken as a supplement. Helps prevent neural tube birth defects.


    almond• Lower cholesterol, especially LDL (bad cholesterol)
    • Decrease risk for coronary heart disease
    • Lower risk for diabetes
    • Promote weight control
    • Good source of phytosterols
    • Excellent source of arginine
    • High in protein,
    • High in monounsaturated fats
    • High in minerals: calcium, iron, zinc, potassium,
    • High in vitamin E.
    • High in arginine
    • Packed with antioxidants


    brazilnut• Provide powerful antioxidants
    • Highest level of selenium of all nuts
    • High in beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats
    • High in protein
    • High in minerals: calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and zinc
    • Source of arginine


    cashew• Source of arginine
    • High in beneficial monounsaturated fat
    • High in protein
    • High in minerals: copper, potassium
    • High in folate
    • Help to lower cholesterol and decrease risk for coronary heart disease
    • Contain the highest levels of zinc of any nut
    • Excellent source of phytosterols


    chestnut21• Super low in fats, especially saturated fat
    • High in B vitamins, good level of folate
    • The only nut to contain healthy level of vitamin C
    • Promote weight loss
    • Protect the heart
    • Lower cholesterol


    hazelnut2• Contain the highest levels of copper of any nut
    • Protect the bones and blood vessels
    • High in minerals: calcium, potassium, zinc
    • High in folate
    • Lower cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol
    • High in heart-protective vitamin E
    • High in fiber
    • Good source of phytosterols
    • Loaded with antioxidants


    macadamia• Highest in beneficial monounsaturated fats
    • Highest in B vitamins of all nuts
    • High in phytosterols
    • High in fiber
    • Source of arginine


    peanut2• High in resveratrol a heart-protective antioxidant
    • Promote weight loss
    • Combat prostate cancer
    • Highest in phytosterols
    • Lower cholesterol
    • Highest in arginine of all nuts
    • High in mono- and polyunsaturated fats
    • Good source of protein
    • High in minerals: calcium, iron, potassium, zinc
    • High in B vitamins, especially folate
    • High in fiber


    pecan2• Highest in antioxidants of any nut
    • Good levels of phytosterols
    • High in beneficial monounsaturated fat
    • High in minerals: manganese, selenium, and zinc
    • High in B vitamins and heart-healthy vitamin E
    • High in fiber


    pinenut3• Excellent source of arginine
    • High in phytosterols
    • Good levels of mono- and polyunsaturated fats to keep cholesterol in check
    • Excellent source of protein
    • High in vitamin E and B vitamins, especially folate
    • High in fiber


    pistachio2• Impressive levels of phytosterols
    • Packed with antioxidants
    • High in beneficial monounsaturated fat.
    • Good source of protein, calcium, iron, copper, and zinc.
    • High in vitamin E and B vitamins, especially folate
    • High in fiber
    • Excellent source of arginine


    walnut2• Only nut (except butternut) with essential Omega 3 fatty acids
    • Lower cholesterol
    • Combat cancer
    • Boost memory
    • Lift mood
    • Protect against heart disease
    • Help to develop more than 3 dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function
    • High in tryptophan
    • Loaded with antioxidants
    • Good source of arginine
    • Good source of protein
    • Good source of minerals: calcium, copper, iron, zinc
    • High in vitamin E and B vitamins, especially folate
    • High in fiber

Posted in almonds, Antioxidants in Nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, Macadamias, Minerals in Nuts, Nut Nutrition, Nuts and Health, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Welcome to Inaugural Ball #44

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 21, 2009

Yesterday was a celebratory day from sun-up through well into the evening! It was January 20th, the inauguration day of our 44th president—President Barack Obama. And it was a day packed with great fun, fabulous food, and the camaraderie of good friends!
No, I didn’t travel to DC and brave the chilling temps to watch our new Pres become sworn in, recite the flubbed oath of office, make one of his inspiring speeches, and stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue—though that might have been pretty darned exciting.

Truth is, I didn’t even venture out of my San Fernando Valley house except for the few moments it took to line the walkway to my house with a dozen plastic American flags I had collected over the years from realtors’ 4th of July promotions. Seems my husband caught the Obama fever, too. He posted a sign on the door he calligraphed in red, white, and blue that read “Welcome to Inaugural Ball #44.”
Yes, we were having an unofficial inaugural event of our own by sharing the day with a dozen active and politically savvy friends. We invited them for a potluck lunch and an afternoon glued to the TV to take in the Washington excitement and festivities surrounding the inauguration. The table was set with napkins in the appropriate colors, too, along with a giant stars and stripes candle in the shape of “Uncle Sam’s patriotic hat.”

We honored our new president with a proper toast and dined on comfort foods. We passed the day laughing, shouting, commenting, listening, and were totally transfixed by this historic day that stirred so much hope throughout the nation. The friends who had the endurance to stay for dinner enjoyed a bowl of vegan chili that was cooking in the crockpot all afternoon. The entire event was heartwarming and memorable down to the evening’s ball hopping parties.
It was such a joy watching Barack and Michelle steal a few hugs during their dances at the balls and watch them exchange loving smiles and an occasional peck on the cheek. We even loved her stunning white ball gown and daytime yellow outfit.

I along with my husband and friends are feeling a long-awaited sense of relief that our country will, at last, be in responsible hands. Things are definitely looking up.

Our best to you Barack and Michelle Obama!

Below is my delicious PINE NUT infused potluck contribution to our Inaugural Ball. You don’t have to wait for an inaugural event to enjoy this sumptuous dish. It’s delicious any time. If the quantity is too large, simply cut the recipe in half and bake it in an 8-inch square-baking dish.



An elegant ragout that brings sweet potatoes into the limelight, this dish scents the entire kitchen with seductive aromas while roasting. Although our typical grocery stores make the distinction between yams, which are orange, and sweet potatoes, which are yellow, technically, they are all sweet potatoes. For this dish, I prefer the orange sweet potatoes for their appealing vivid color, though I have sometimes used some of each. Enjoy the bold flavors this entrée brings to the festive season along with its inviting colors and irresistible seasonings and textures. This is an easy, make-ahead dish that tastes even better the next day.

To store in the refrigerator, remove the aluminum foil and cover with plastic wrap. To reheat, replace the aluminum foil and place the baking dish in a cold oven at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, remove the ragout from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Then warm in a preheated 350-degree oven. Serve along with a salad and a vegetable side dish like steamed or sautéed Brussels sprouts or broccoli.

Yield: about 6 to 8 servings

    3 to 3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    4 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

    1 large onion, sliced, slices quartered
    2 ribs celery, chopped
    1/4 cup water
    1 tablespoon canola oil

    1 large carrot, coarsely shredded

    4 strips Fakin’ Bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1/3 cup raisins
    1/3 cup raw pine nuts
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 pound Lightlife GimmeLean, sausage flavor

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and have ready a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
    2. In a large bowl combine the sweet potato chunks, maple syrup, lemon juice, soy sauce, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger and set aside.
    3. In a large, deep skillet combine the onion, celery, water, and canola oil. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add more water if needed to prevent burning the onions. Add the carrots and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
    4. Transfer the cooked onions and carrots to the bowl with the sweet potatoes, along with the Fakin’ Bacon, raisins, pine nuts, brown sugar, and salt. Stir well to distribute the ingredients evenly.
    5. Break the Gimme Lean sausage into bite-size chunks and add to the bowl, stirring gently.
    6. Transfer the ragout to the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for about 30 minutes.
    7. Remove from the oven, carefully lift the foil, and stir the ragout. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Recover with the aluminum foil and bake another 20 minutes. Spoon the ragout into serving bowls along with some of the sauce.

Posted in Celebrations, Nut Recipes, pine nuts | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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