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9 Delicious Ways to Use Raw Almonds
After making some yummy homemade almond butter this morning, (from soaked and dehydrated almonds of course!), I got to thinking about how almonds are consumed on a regular basis. Most of us, myself included, think of them as a good snack on their own or in addition to your favorite trail mix; however, as you incorporate more and more of these heart-healthy and protein-rich nuts into your daily diet, you’ll find they’re good for much more than simple snacking.
From pie crusts and chocolate mousse to salad dressing and pasta sauce, almonds are a versatile ingredient that can add a nutritional boost as well as texture and flavor to many of your favorite recipes. And there’s no shortage of reasons why you should toss them in your next salad, smoothie or baked good. Raw unpasteurized almonds not only provide protein and heart-healthy oils, they also contain:
- laetrile – a cancer-fighting compound
- vitamins E and B
- and many phytonutrients that help rid the body of cancer-causing free radicals!
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Here are 9 fun & delicious ways to use raw almonds:
- Almond flour: Simply place 1 cup of raw unpasteurized almonds in a standing blender and pulse until they reach a coarse meal (don’t go overboard here or you will have almond butter – which is actually a delicious mistake). Remove from the blender and pass through a fine sieve or flour sifter. Any larger pieces that don’t pass through can be placed back in the blender to be pulsed up with the next batch. Keep almond flour in the refrigerator or freezer and use in baked goods, breads or as a crust for meat, chicken, fish or tofu. This is my favorite baking flour!
- Pesto: Use almonds in place of pine nuts in your favorite pesto recipe. Not only are they more affordable, they will create a beautifully nutty, rich flavor. My favorite is kale and almond pesto!
- Mousse: Combine 1 cup raw almonds, 1 large avocado, 4 tbsp cup raw cacao powder and ¼ cup water in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Then add your sweetener of choice until the mixture is as sweet as you like it. Raw honey, date paste and coconut nectar are good, low-glycemic and high-nutrient sweeteners to use. Remove the mixture from the blender and place in individual serving cups. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Burgers: Burgers are not just a meaty affair nowadays. Combine ground almonds with smashed lentils and/or beans and quinoa, spice up the mixture to your liking, and form burger patties to throw on the grill!
- “Paté”: Combine 1 cup raw almonds, ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds, and 1 large carrot in a food processor and pulse to combine. Then add any of the following to spice up your almond-veggie pate: chickpeas, broccoli florets, raw garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno, zucchini, parsley, cilantro, mint, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, dill. Play around with your recipe until you reach a good consistency and flavor, then serve with crusty bread, crackers, raw vegetables or on sandwiches, salads or wraps.
- Granola: Homemade grain-free granola is definitely the way to go. It’s easy to make using tons of superfood ingredients like coconut oil, goji berries, raw honey, and, of course, almonds.
- Sauce: Enhance everything from marinara to barbecue sauce with raw almonds. Simply grind the almonds until they resemble a coarse meal (or all the way to a paste if you want a creamier sauce) and add to your sauce of choice. I love the addition of coarsely chopped almonds to a vegetarian marinara sauce – they add both texture and substance, and pair well with the tangy tomato flavors.
- Almond Milk: Homemade nut milks are a breeze to make and are a far better choice than store-bought, highly processed varieties.
- “Cheese”: Combine 1 cup raw almonds with ¾ cup water, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 2-3 cloves garlic, ½ -1 tsp salt and other spices of your choosing (fresh herbs also work well) in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Place a medium sized colander in a large bowl (for draining). Line the colander with cheesecloth and then pour in the nut mixture. Place in the refrigerator and let drain for at least 2 hours, and up to 2 days. Serve in small bowls as a “cheese” spread, adding additional seasoning if necessary.