Zel's Vegan NutGourmet

Zel Allen Goes Nuts for Good Health

Posts Tagged ‘walnut recipe’


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on September 30, 2009

I am constantly awed by the versatility of nuts, especially walnuts. In my desire to create a cookie that was soft in the center and somewhat firm and crisp on the outside, I pureed a hefty measure of walnuts into nut butter and added the creamy nut butter to the cookie batter.

I love the results and just had to share the nutty recipe. The cookies are alive with scrumptious flavor—and my walnutty experiment produced great texture and good looks.

I wanted to create a cholesterol-free recipe. Instead of eggs, I used liquid lecithin as a binding agent and found it worked perfectly. One caution, though, liquid lecithin is a challenge to clean up. It’s the stickiest stuff on earth and doesn’t come off easily in soap and water. I did discover, though, that thoroughly wiping the stuff off the spoon with a napkin before tossing into the soapy dishwater actually did the job.

For an old-fashioned oatmeal cookie with an upbeat style, you can’t beat this easy recipe that introduces a hint of black walnut flavor. With its generous measure of hidden walnuts processed until creamy, the delicious result ought to come with a warning. Something like: “Warning! These cookies may be habit forming!”



Yield: 3 dozen

2 cups raw walnuts

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup well packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large)
2/3 cup dairy-free margarine
1 tablespoon liquid lecithin
1 1/4 teaspoons black walnut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Wicked Walnut Cookies21. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 large jellyroll pans with parchment paper. Measure 1/2 cup of the walnuts, break them into small bits, and set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, raisins, soda, and cinnamon and mix well. Break up any brown sugar lumps and make sure the raisins are well coated with flour. Set aside and prepare the wet ingredients.
3. Place the remaining 1 1/2 cups walnuts into the food processor and pulse and process until the walnuts become a creamy walnut butter. Add the bananas, margarine, lecithin, black walnut extract, and vanilla extract and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will become quite firm. Form heaping tablespoons of the batter into 2-inch cookies, placing them about 2 inches apart on the baking pan. Flatten them slightly and press a tiny cluster of the reserved walnut bits into the center of each cookie.
5. Bake for 13 to 16 minutes or until nicely browned on the bottom. Cool about 5 minutes before removing to a dish to cool completely. If the cookies on the top rack need browning, move them to the bottom rack for an extra 2 to 3 minutes.

Posted in Nut Desserts, Nut Recipes, Vegan Desserts, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »


Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on April 8, 2009

My husband and I were going to a potluck gathering for a small crowd, and I was asked to bring the appetizer. I had just bought a 2-pound bag of shelled walnuts and decided they were going to become the focus of my contribution.

Then I poked my head into the refrigerator to see what I had on hand and discovered the button mushrooms and the tomatoes I had bought just two days ago. The were still quite fresh and plump looking, so they, too, were included in what turned out to be a delicious starter that came together very quickly.

I always keep Spanish olives on hand because they compliment so many dishes that need a little touch of something pungent.

The end result is that I was able to capture the flavors of southern Italy and northern Spain in one tasty, no-cook appetizer that instantly beckoned with its good looks.

These special mushrooms are best eaten the same day they are prepared.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

12 to 16 large button mushrooms, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter

2 slices whole wheat bread

1 medium tomato, de-seeded and diced
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely ground in a nut mill
1/3 cup diced sweet onions
1/4 cup minced Spanish olives
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 or 2 leaves green leaf lettuce
1 or 2 sprigs parsley or cilantro

1. Wash the mushrooms and pat them dry with paper towels. Apply gentle pressure with your thumb to remove the stems. Set them aside for a future recipe.
2. Break the bread into small pieces and put them into a medium bowl. Moisten the bread by pouring warm water to cover over the pieces. Then drain thoroughly and squeeze the bread dry.
3. Add the diced tomato, walnuts, onions, Spanish olives, vinegar, garlic, and salt to the moistened bread and mix well. Stuff generous portions of the bread mixture into the mushroom cavities.
4. To serve, line a serving dish with lettuce leaves, arrange the mushrooms on top, garnish each with a tiny sprig of parsley, and enjoy a nutty good starter.

Posted in Nut Recipes, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Walnuts and Omega 3 Fats—Married For Life!

Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on January 19, 2009

FATS—should we embrace them or turn our backs on them? Are they good for us or do they challenge us with chronic health problems?

In spite of all the bad things we’ve heard about fats in the diet, there are some fats that are absolutely vital and indispensable to our existence. These “good” fats are protective of our health.

I want to focus on those good fats—Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Most people get plenty of Omega 6 fatty acids from meat, dairy products, and vegetable oils. The critical fat that’s often in short supply is Omega 3.

How often have you heard about those almost magic Omega 3’s and that we should all be eating salmon two or three times a week to get those essential fatty acids? I’ve even gotten an earful of those messages from doctors on the radio or in TV interviews. You probably have, too.
What you might not hear are other great sources of those important fatty acids. Have you ever encountered doctors on TV, radio, or in newspapers mentioning that WALNUTS are a terrific source of Omega 3 fatty acids? Probably not. It’s almost as if salmon had an exclusive contract!

Because of my strong interest in nuts for their many health benefits, I’ve learned a few things about walnuts and Omega 3 fatty acids.

Here are some tidbits you may not be familiar with. Walnuts are among the few foods that contain Omega 3 fatty acids. The other Omega 3 food sources include fatty fish like salmon, flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, soybeans, butternuts, and the oils made from these foods. Hempseed, canola oil, broccoli, and dark leafy greens are also really good sources.

So, what on earth are Omega 3 fatty acids anyway and what makes them so darned important? Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat that our bodies need to function healthfully. Here are some of the important tasks this fatty acid performs:

• Critical for optimal brain development and function
• Important for nervous system performance
• Vital to form healthy cell membranes
• Needed to hold the cells together and keep them flexible
• Prevention of neurological disorders
• Helpful in hormone production for many metabolic functions

Aside from their great flavor, crunchy texture, and high levels of fiber, protein, B vitamins, folate, minerals and antioxidants, walnuts are the proud possessors of Omega 3 long-chain fatty acids

Whenever I feel a craving for nuts, I can almost always predict it’s walnuts I’m yearning for. The truth is that craving doesn’t occur often because hardly a day passes at our house without some kind of nuts appearing at one meal or another to combine with Omega 3-containing foods. That’s how much of a dedicated nut case I am. But maybe the walnut craving is my body communicating that I’m a little low in those all-important Omega 3 fatty acids.

What to do? I simply keep a good supply of shelled walnuts in a jar in the fridge so I can quickly respond to my body’s call. It’s as easy as that!

But the secret to maintaining a healthy body that doesn’t constantly send out cravings is to eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods daily with an emphasis on plenty of fruits and vegetables and a handful or two nuts, and seeds.

As the main overseer of my family’s health, I’ve developed a storehouse of delicious easy-to-prepare nut recipes. I’d like to share a family-favorite walnut recipe from my cookbook The Nut Gourmet.

This recipe is a hearty Mediterranean dish with Greek ancestry and is pure heaven to walnut and eggplant lovers. Its exceptional flavor comes from the combination of cinnamon, tomato paste, and capers. Because the stuffed eggplant is so special, I keep the rest of the meal simple with stir-fried or steamed vegetables, bulgur wheat in place of a rice dish, and a tossed salad.


Yield: 4 hearty servings.

2 (1-pound) eggplants
Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped
1/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped onions
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup raw walnuts
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 heaping tablespoons capers, well drained

2 to 3 small ripe tomatoes, sliced

1. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise, slicing through the stem end. Using a curved, serrated grapefruit knife, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell, and coarsely chop the flesh. Put the chopped eggplant into a large, deep skillet or flat-bottom wok.
2. Rub the inside of the eggplant shells with a small amount of olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Place the eggplant shells under the broiler, and broil them 3 inches from the heat source for 5 to 10 minutes, until fork-tender. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Remove the eggplant shells from the broiler and set them aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, and pepper to the skillet with the chopped eggplant, and cook and stir for 7 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
4. Coarsely grind the walnuts in a hand-crank nut mill and add them to the skillet along with the tomato paste and capers. Mix well.
5. Fill the eggplant shells with the vegetable mixture and top with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake uncovered for 25 to 35 minutes.

Posted in Nut Nutrition, Nut Recipes, Nuts and Health, walnuts | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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