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Almond, Brazil, cashew, hazelnuts, hickory, macadamia, pecan, pistachio, pine nut, walnut. But not peanut, that is a legume.

chipmunk-with-hazelnut photo by Gilles_Gonthier

Eating 1.5 ounces, or about 1/3 cup, of nuts five times a week reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease. And this amount does not cause weight gain. Click here for pictures of how many of each kind of nut are in one ounce.

Nuts are high fiber, high in healthy fat, a good source of vitamin E, and are cholesterol free. If you are interested, NutHealth.org has a chart with tiny print of specific nutrients in each kind of nut.

It is easy to add 1.5 ounces of nuts to your day. They make quick and tasty, nutritious gluten free snacks. Buy them raw or roasted, just check the label for any added gluten containing flavorings.

Or add nuts to any salad, top a casserole, garnish vegetables or even thick soups!

Equally useful is substituting ground nuts for bread crumbs. Gluten free breadcrumbs are either very time consuming to make from scratch, or mighty expensive to buy. Nuts are a great alternative that add lots of flavor, healthy richness, and tummy pleasing satisfaction.

Ground nuts are wonderful in meatloaves and meatballs. Or as toppings for fish!

Below is an adaptation of my grand prize winning recipe, substituting ground pecans for bread crumbs. I truly like version better than the original.

PecanMushroomTilapia250x250 

pecan-mushroom-fish-with-tomatoes photo by vsimon

Pecan Mushroom Fish with Tomatoes

Serves 4

8 oz fresh mushrooms                         

2 tablespoons oil

½ cup ground pecans                           

¼ cup chopped fresh herbs

salt and pepper to taste

1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced              

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pound tilapia fillets or other thin fish   

Pulse mushrooms in a mini food processor until finely minced.

Cook mushrooms until dry and slightly browned. Cool.

Mix mushrooms, oil, ground pecans, herbs, salt and pepper together.

Pour tomatoes into an oven proof baking dish. Drizzle in the balsamic vinegar and mix well.

Top tomatoes with fish. Top fish with mushroom mix.

Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until fish flakes, topping is browned, and tomatoes are bubbly.

Notes                                                                                                                    If your tomatoes are not at the peak of summer flavor, you can add some diced dried tomatoes to give it an extra punch of flavor. No need to hydrate them before mixing with the fresh tomatoes. The dried ones will soften as the dish cooks.

Use your favorite herbs. This is a mild flavored, family friendly recipe, and fun place to experiment. Basil, green onion, oregano, tarragon and thyme all work well here. Or substitute 1-2 tablespoons of dried herbs for the fresh.

Unwrap and expose the mushrooms to direct sunlight to greatly increase the Vitamin D.

Cook the mushrooms in a cast iron skillet to increase the iron.

Please share your favorite way to enjoy nuts.

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