Filled with protein, fiber, and cholesterol-lowering fats, walnuts are members of the nutritional elite: All you need is a small handful to reap the benefits. Here are three ways to enjoy them in dishes both savory and sweet.
Pro tip: Walnuts are highly sensitive to heat. To help keep them fresh, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for up to seven months.
Salmon Salad with Celery and Walnuts
Looking for a cholesterol-friendly lunch? This mayo-free salmon salad is a smart choice. It pulls off an omega-3 hat trick in one meal: The walnuts add a type of the fatty acid that helps reduce levels of bad cholesterol, while salmon raises the good kind with two other versions of the fat. The nuts and fish are teamed with protein-rich cottage cheese, celery, and golden raisins, then served on whole-grain toast along with mixed greens and quick-pickled onions.
Steamed Cauliflower with Walnut Vinaigrette
Walnuts rank higher than most other nuts in a vitamin E compound proven to keep blood vessels in good working order. (The vitamin protects skin, too.) Here, they're roasted with garlic and Parmesan, then used to perk up a red-wine vinaigrette, along with capers and parsley. The resulting dressing can transform any steamed vegetable: cauliflower, endive, carrots, you name it.
Dark Chocolate–Walnut Date Bar
Like a giant chocolate bar filled with walnuts, dates, and peanut butter, this glorious confection is all about the superfoods. Both walnuts and dark chocolate are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that reduce inflammation and help promote heart and brain health. The better-for-you dessert is also vegan, gluten-free, and no-bake—the fridge does all the work.
Watch Shira Bocar make these irresistible, no-bake, gluten-free treats: