Talking about healthy snacking, what makes a good snack? Naturally, people tend to choose snacks packed with rich flavors to satisfy their cravings or ones that offer comfort and appeal to nostalgic childhood memories. But the truth is, most of the time, these snacks aren’t usually as nutritious as one would like them to be.
When it comes to snacking, there’s a common misconception that one must sacrifice flavor for nutrition, but with California walnuts – you can have it all – flavor, texture, comfort, nostalgia, and, yes, even nutrition. Just 28g of walnuts provide important nutrients for optimum health. 28g of walnuts contain 2.5g of omega-3 ALA (that’s more than any other nut!) and 4g of protein, 2g fiber, and 45mg of magnesium.
So, when you need a quick energy boost, reach for a tasty, better-for-you made-with-walnuts snack! You’ll satisfy just about any snacking craving with fun, simple spins on your childhood favorites made more nutritious for adults.
Recreate Crunchy & Savory Snacks
Chips and popcorn are go-to snacks with their crunchy texture and explosion of (often artificial) flavors. Recreate this snacking experience by swapping chips and popcorn for some crunchy walnuts flavored with fresh herbs and spices.
When you’re craving a spicy, salty snack, these Fiery Hot Cheddar Walnuts get the job done! This recipe combines cayenne and red-hot chili peppers with white cheddar popcorn seasoning for snack time.
Fiery Hot Cheddar Walnuts
6 tablespoons White Cheddar popcorn seasoning
2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons red chili pepper hot sauce
1 tablespoon water
4 cups California walnuts, halves
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large, shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
In a small bowl combine the white cheddar popcorn seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk together until thoroughly and evenly blended. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the oil, red chili pepper hot sauce and water and whisk together until smooth. Add the walnuts and toss until they are glistening and covered with the oil mixture. Continue tossing and stirring as you sprinkle on the cheese mixture and the nuts become coated with the seasonings.
Spread the seasoned walnuts on the baking pan. Bake for 6 minutes, and then stir the nuts with a spatula. Bake 6 to 8 minutes longer, until the nuts have browned lightly. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
Granola Bars Reimagined
For those with a sweet tooth, reimagine your favorite granola bars from childhood with these better-for-you versions.
These Walnut Cranberry Granola Bars are made with walnuts, oats, coconut, and dried fruit and are baked to perfection for when your snack craving hits.
Walnut Cranberry Granola Bars
3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1 cup roughly chopped California walnuts
1/3 cup unsweetened or sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
8 large Medjool dates, roughly chopped
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170°C and line an 11×7 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Stir together oats, walnuts, coconut, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon and dates in a large bowl.
Add honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract and stir until combined.
Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are chopped and stick together when pressed between your fingers.
Transfer to prepared baking dish and press down very firmly using a spatula or your hands. (Covering mixture with a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and pressing down with your fingers makes this easier.)
Bake for 25 minutes, then let cool completely. Remove from pan and cut into 8 equal bars.
Transport Yourself with Trail Mix
One of the simplest snacks to throw together for when you’re on the go is a good old-fashioned trail mix. There’s so many ways to get creative, so let your imagination run wild.
This recipe for Tropical Trail Mix combines walnuts, crystallized ginger, dried pineapple, toasted coconut flakes, banana chips, and chocolate chips for a delicious treat.
Tropical Trail Mix
3/4 cup California walnuts
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced
1/2 cup dried pineapple, diced
3/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
3/4 cup banana chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine all ingredients in an airtight container. Shake the container to combine thoroughly.
To serve, divide the trail mix between small airtight containers or bags. The mix will last a few weeks in an airtight container.
Pro Snacking Tips
Prepare your snacks in advance so you always have better-for-you options on hand. For best results and to preserve freshness and taste, store your pre-made walnut snacks in the fridge. At the same time, think about keeping chopped fruits and vegetables on hand to help you make better snacking choices. Making better-for-you food choices when snacking is easier than you think. So, reach for a made-with-walnuts snack the next time your craving hits.
courtesy Chef Sabyasachi Gorai