Did you know that plant-based eating doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go meat-free? While fruits and vegetables, whole grains and a variety of protein-rich foods like beans and peas, and soy (like edamame) are the mainstays of plant-based eating, low-fat milk and dairy products, seafood and lean meat/poultry or eggs can also be added to recipes in small amounts, if desired. One can also include nuts like walnuts and seeds to their plant-based dishes to add an extra crunch of creaminess and flavour.
California walnuts are known to be a source of good fats and these crunchy delights are the only tree nut with a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acid. Incorporating walnuts into plant-based meals is a simple and convenient way of adding essential nutrients into one’s daily diet.
So, try out these fresh and colourful recipes that give your favourite dishes an instant plant-based makeover right away!
Walnut and Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms
1 cup California walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
¼ cup parmesan, shredded
12 baby bella mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place walnuts, garlic, chopped shallots, rosemary parsley, parmesan and red pepper flakes in a food processer. Pulse until finely chopped.
2. De-stem mushrooms and spoon out a little of the pulp to make a deeper cavity. Fill with stuffing and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Baked for 15 minutes, top with a little more rosemary and parmesan and serve warm.
Walnut Pear and Avocado Bowl
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, salt to taste
1/2 of a pear, peeled and cubed
1/4th of a ripe avocado
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups precooked chilled quinoa
2 cups small torn pieces curly kale
1/2 cup small thin slivers red onion
1 large pear, cored and sliced
1 1/4 of firm but ripe avocados, cut into bite-size cubes
3/4 cup very coarsely chopped California walnuts, toasted
Torn fresh cilantro leaves
1. Purée all dressing ingredients except pepper in a small blender until smooth.
2. Place quinoa in a large bowl and drizzle with dressing. Stir to coat, then stir in kale and pepper.
3. Place a slightly heaping 3/4 cup of quinoa mixture into bowls. Top each with 1/4 of a sliced pear, 1/6th of the diced avocado, 1 1/2 tablespoons red onion and 2 tablespoons walnuts. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Plant-forward Walnut & Black Bean Burritos
4 large burrito size wraps
1 cup California walnuts, chopped
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups shredded greens, like lettuce, spinach or kale
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt & pepper
Sour cream, regular or vegan
1. Heat a large pan with olive oil and sauté the onion on medium/low heat until translucent, for about 10 minutes
2. Add in the garlic, black beans and walnuts and stir well, gently mashing the black beans.
3. Season with the chilli powder, cumin, salt, smoked paprika, tomato paste and hot sauce and cook on a medium/low flame for about 10 more minutes.
4. Mash the avocado in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Spread the mashed avocado onto the center of your wrap, top with about ⅓ cup of the walnut/bean mixture, then top with shredded greens. Fold the bottom of the wrap over the mixture, fold in both sides, and roll.
5. If serving right away, heat the burrito on a greased skillet for 1-2 minutes per side to get it crispy.
6. If you plan to prep these ahead of time and freeze them, use greens like spinach or kale, and sautéing them with the bean mixture, since the lettuce won’t reheat as well. To reheat, bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes on 180°C from frozen, or let thaw overnight