I have been making a real effort in recent years to get into nuts, something I wasn't crazy about before. It's been worth the multiple attempts as I now love nuts, and enjoy both incorporating them into dishes and snacking on them as they come.
Most nuts are packed full of protein and contain good fats which shouldn't be avoided. Each variety has its unique flavor and can be used in different ways.
A nut I haven't yet mastered is the walnut. I think this is because its flavor is a little milder than most other nuts, meaning there are almost too many possibilities for what you can do with them. In the past, I have mostly had walnuts in cakes or tarts, but I'd love to get a little more creative and branch out into savory recipes too.
1. Celeriac and Walnut Tacos
As a massive fan of Mexican food, I saw the word ‘tacos' and had the recipe saved in seconds. I've never tried vegetarian tacos before but am completely willing to give them a go, if I find I am missing a bit of meat I'm sure I could add chicken and it would go well with this recipe.
This Celeriac and Walnut Tacos look full of flavor and texture; each bite would pack a punch. That said, I don't think the flavors are too complicated for the whole family to enjoy. Walnuts will add the perfect crunch, and I can imagine serving up these fresh tacos at a summer BBQ.
2. Pork Loin with Scrumpy Sauce, Candied Walnuts, and Cabbage
Pork isn't something I cook with often, but every time I do it goes down a treat. This Pork Loin with Scrumpy Sauce, Candied Walnuts, and Cabbage looks like the perfect hearty but a readily achievable meal.
Each element of this dish is made to perfection and ties perfectly with the other flavors. A sharp sweetness will come from the scrumpy applesauce, marrying well with the salty black pudding and meaty pork. Candied walnuts are the icing on the cake, throwing in a hint of woody sweetness.
3. Banana Nut Granola
I can't get enough of breakfast granola at the moment, and this Banana Nut Granola looks like it could be my next obsession. It might not be the healthiest with added brown sugar and butter but I reckon the flavor would be worth it, and these ingredients could be omitted or exchanged if you would rather.
Cinnamon and vanilla will ensure this granola is flavorsome and warming, a perfect way to start the day. If you're a banana fan, you could add in some bigger slices, of course, the proportions in this recipe are also customizable. I'd be enjoying this along with some vanilla yogurt and some fresh blueberries on top.
4. Walnut Spice Cake
As previously mentioned it's in cakes that I tend to come across walnuts most frequently, however, this Walnut Spice Cake look above and beyond others I have seen before.
Because this cake is made up of multiple thinner layers, as opposed to two like a regular cake, sandwiched together with a decadent fudge icing, it will be undoubtedly moist and delicious. We know walnuts go well with warm spices like cinnamon and cloves so the flavor is bound to be spectacular; imagine how great this would taste along with a cup of tea or coffee! The alternating colored layers make the cake look like it could have come from a fancy bakery when it is, in fact, effortless to recreate yourself.
5. Candied Walnuts
Any recipes which claim to take a matter of minutes get an instant thumbs up from me. Considering this should only take you five it'd be silly not to give it a go.
I have a whopper of a sweet tooth, so when I started trying to eat more nuts I eased myself into it with sweeter options. Although they might not be as healthy as regular toasted walnuts, I reckon these would be a great snack to start with. There are endless possibilities for these Candied Walnuts; you could pop them into cookies or on cakes, mix them in amongst granola or just enjoy them as they are.
6. Stilton, Spinach and New Potato Quiche with Walnut Pastry
I can imagine the walnut pastry on this quiche would give the loveliest background hint of nutty flavor. The nuts will also provide the pastry itself a stronger structure making it much less likely to break and easier to cut.
I doubt I would change anything about this Stilton, Spinach and New Potato Quiche with Walnut Pastry, but if you like the idea of the pastry more than the filling, you could mix and match different quiche recipes. Because the flavor of walnuts isn't overwhelmingly strong, this pastry would work with a wide range of yummy ingredients.
7. Gorgonzola, Leek and Walnut Orzotto
It was my flatmate at the university who first introduced me to orzo, and I will be forever grateful for it. If you're a culprit of always reaching for pasta then give this a go, it's just as simple to make and makes a welcome change.
I love the idea of a Gorgonzola, Leek and Walnut Orzotto, you can't go wrong with a cheesy carb dish now, can you? The walnuts are entirely necessary for this recipe as, without them, I reckon it would lack texture. There are multiple ways in which you could customize this dish. My family is big meat eaters, so I'm thinking about mixing some fried bacon lardons through it.
8. Chocolate Walnut Fudge
My aforementioned sweet tooth is loving the look of this Chocolate Walnut Fudge. My granny has been making fudge for as long as I can remember and I love it when she gets experimental playing around with different additions and toppings.
I can't say I have faith in my ability to make anything as delicious as my granny would, but this recipe looks pretty foolproof. Pop a couple of pieces of fudge into pretty little bags, and they'd make great party favors or ‘thank you' gifts. If you aren't the biggest fan of overly sweet treats, then be sure to use darker chocolate, or even use a larger tray, so the chunks of fudge aren't as thick.
9. Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken
As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it out. I am a huge fan of hearty stews, and this one looks just perfect with its unique twists.
Adding fruit into savory dishes isn't something I am always keen on, but here the pomegranate pieces look like an excellent burst of fresh sweetness. On top of that, they look incredibly pretty. This Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken might sound fancy, but it doesn't look at all difficult to make. Because it's slow cooked, the chicken will be spectacularly tender and will have soaked up all those delicious spices and flavors.
10. Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza
Pizzas always go down well in our house, and I love that this Walnut Pesto and Zucchini Pizza recipe makes four mini pizzas, avoiding the inevitable arguments over who has the biggest slice. We don't often opt for pizzas with bases other than tomato, but it's something I'm more than open to trying.
Pesto is something I always have in the fridge as it can be a real lifesaver. It can be a rub for chicken or an instantaneous pasta sauce, and I'd never thought to make my own. The walnut pesto used on this pizza sounds yummy and easy, so it'll be making its way onto my weekly meal plan in some way or another.
11. Chewy Date and Walnut Bars
I always try and have an abundant supply of various granola and cereal bars in the house, ready for hungry mouths or even a quick breakfast on the go.
My favorite texture of bar is most definitely chewy as it reminds me of a flapjack, one of my ultimate treats. This recipe for Chewy Date and Walnut Bars doesn't look far from that of a flapjack come to think of it, so it'll be familiar if you've made them before. The textures of the dried fruit and crunchy walnuts will create a lovely contrast so each bite will be something a little different. I'd be tempted to add other fruits in too like dried apricots and cranberries.
12. Spaghetti with Cauliflower Walnut Meat Sauce
I never imagined I would come around to a vegetarian version of spaghetti bolognese, but my sister recently converted me. The one she makes is with lentils, and it's great, but I reckon this Spaghetti with Cauliflower Walnut Meat Sauce would be just sensational.
The wide range of herbs and spices on the ingredients list ensures this dish will pack a punch, and although the list is lengthy, the process itself is not. I would never have thought to add nuts into a pasta dish like this one, but they'll give it a subtly woody flavor which will add depth to the dish as a whole. If you're not up for ditching the meat entirely, don't worry about adding in a little beef mince.
13. Honey and Walnut Tart
In the past, I have bought a couple of tarts like this one at the store, but I've never attempted to make my own. It looks sleek and professional, so I can imagine it would be a highly rewarding bake.
This Honey and Walnut Tart is fitted to those with a sweet tooth and would be perfect topped off with a dollop of thick cream or ice cream. Because the walnuts are toasted before being added to the tart, they'll be extra crisp and nutty, creating the perfect contrast with the soft, sweet honey filling. I'd have to make this tart when I knew I had guests coming round. Otherwise, I think I'd be at risk of polishing off the whole thing by myself.
14. Chinese Walnut Chicken
My family and I are suckers for a weekend takeaway, and I will admit it tends to be Chinese. We always attempt to have a flick through other leaflets and cuisines but then realize that we are kidding ourselves and remain loyal to our favorite.
For this reason, I am always on the lookout for Chinese inspired dishes I can make at home so we can recreate that feeling of a Saturday night throughout the week more healthily. This Chinese Walnut Chicken looks just like a dish we always order, so I have no doubts it would be a winner. The sauce seems perfectly sticky and delicious, and those large walnut chucks won't go unnoticed.
15. Cranberry, Feta and Walnut Salad
In the warmer months, salads like this Cranberry, Feta and Walnut one are my absolute go to lunch. With few ingredients they're lovely and light and will take minutes to make, meaning you can spend more time munching away in the sun.
I love all the different flavor elements in this salad. The dried cranberries will provide the perfect burst of sweetness without being overpowering, the walnuts will add a nutty, earthy flavor and of course, you get a little salty kick from the feta. A fantastic thing about salad recipes, in general, is that you can use them as a base then get creative and add little touches to them. To beef this one up a little why not try adding some sliced avocado.
16. Carrot and Walnut Cake
Carrot cake is always my go to when I'm out for a coffee; I like to think it's healthy because it technically has vegetables in it. It's the perfect cake for me, light and fluffy while still being moist and delicious, packed full of warming cinnamon.
This Carrot and Walnut Cake looks incredibly yummy, and quite literally the icing on the cake for me is that the recipe uses cream cheese frosting. This is by far my favorite type of frosting as it adds sweetness but not too much and is always silky smooth. The walnuts will give the cake an extra bit of bite and flavor; you could even make some mini fondant carrots to pop on top for added cute factor.
17. Baked Cheese with Quick Walnut Bread and Pears
My friends and I like to pretend we are sophisticated and have little cheese and wine parties every now and again. We usually all chip in with different cheese and take turns doing a centerpiece style dish. I think I've found the perfect recipe for my next turn in the form of this Baked Cheese with Quick Walnut Bread and Pears.
It's deceivingly simple to make, and your homemade walnut bread is bound to impress. Because the walnuts are left roughly chopped you'll come across little nut pieces as you enjoy the meal, a lovely little treat. I'd serve this bread still warm from the oven, perfect along with those juicy pears and huge, melty camembert.
The rest of my family are going to have no choice but to embrace my new love of walnuts, as I reckon they'll be making a star appearance on next week's meal plan. I love that I've easily managed to find all kinds of recipes using walnuts, so I'm sorted for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snacks in between.
I've got friends coming round soon, so I'll be sure to whip up a Honey and Walnut Tart for our dessert. That hearty Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken have caught my eye, with the rich nutty sauce and pomegranate jewels on top.