When I learned about the almond project at NUTS.com, it got me thinking about all the ways I include almonds in my meals and snacks, and I realized almonds are on my table all the time!
Since I recently relocated to California, one of the world’s top almond producers, I get to see lovely almond trees all the time. However, almonds have played a role in my meals and snacks long before my move here because they provide fiber and healthy fats, which I find sustain me between meals. Even a handful of almonds as a snack keeps me going for a long time, and because I work in vineyards nearly every day, and quick snack of almonds is the perfect pick-me-up. I also realized how often I include almonds in some form of my meals. From more fancy, thought-out recipes to a quick sprinkle of sliced almonds on top of yogurt and salad, almonds add amazing texture to my recipes.
Here are a few almond recipes I’ve been making over and over again. I find these recipes evolve with seasonal produce, so you can use your imagination to adapt them year round!
The first is a salad recipe that my dear friend Misha introduced me to. Since I’ve moved to California, I’ve experienced new flavors and have incorporated new ingredients, but I’ve kept the basics of the recipe, including the almonds! My favorite part of this version is if you get a nicely ripened avocado and juicy tomatoes, they become part of the dressing when you toss the salad and add an amazing flavor. The almonds make this work because of their fantastic crunch! You can arrange the salad ingredients in color blocks, like I did, or sprinkle everything around. Either way, you will have a bowlful of rainbow on your table!
Misha’s Salad, California Style
For the salad:
6 cups mixed baby greens
1 cup halved or quartered baby heirloom tomatoes
1 small avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
½ cup chopped red onion
1 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
½ cup sliced almonds
For the dressing:
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/8 tsp Herbes de Provence
Gnerous pinches of salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. In a bowl, arrange the salad ingredients.
2. In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, vinegar, herbs, salt, and pepper. While whisking (I use a fork), slowly drizzle in the oil. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.
Peaches are in season, so I’ve had my share from roadside stands! I’ve been chopping up ripe peaches and layering them with yogurt and almonds to make a quick breakfast or snack. The combination of almonds and ground flax seeds reminds me of pie crust, but this is a much healthier recipe than pie! If you are used to sweetened fruit yogurts from the store but want to make a switch to plain yogurt, this is a great recipe to try. Adding a pinch of salt may seem odd, but I think it heightens the flavor of the peaches and gives it a “pie crust” flavor, which has a subtle saltiness.
Peach Pie Yogurt Parfait
1 ripe peach, chopped (roughly 1 cup)
Small pinch of pink Himalayan salt (optional)
Stevia to taste (optional)
¾ cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular are both fine)
Cinnamon, to taste
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1. Add the peaches to a parfait bowl or dish. I like to cut the peaches over the bowl so I catch the juices. Sprinkle with salt and stevia, if you are using them.
2. Top the peaches with yogurt, sprinkle on as much cinnamon as you like, then top with the almonds and flax. Serve.
Finally, another breakfast or snack idea involves one of my favorite versions of almonds---almond milk! I haven’t bought regular milk in a long time because I just love unsweetened vanilla almond milk in my smoothies. This smoothie is fiber-, protein-, and healthy fat-packed! I can’t do super fruity smoothies because I get hungry so soon after I drink them. This one sticks with me.
A helpful trick for blending up greens is to freeze them. If you don't have a high speed blender, frozen greens whip up more quickly, and if you have some greens that aren't looking so fresh you can save them!
Almond-Chocolate Greens and Protein Smoothie
1 cup almond milk
1 cup mixed "power greens" such as kale, chard, and spinach (frozen, if desired)
1/4 medium avocado
1 serving chocolate protein powder, such as this one (can add cocoa powder depending how chocolaty your protein powder is)
a few drops pure almond extract
Stevia, to taste (optional)
1. Blend the almond milk and greens until smooth.
2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
I hope you enjoy these almond-packed recipes. Thanks Nuts.com!