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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Call for Recipes: Walnuts

Let me begin with a confession. I hate walnuts. Hate them. In fact, I’ve never met a walnut I liked. Which is a shame since they are a superfood and all. I’ll just have to eat extra oats or something.

Anyway, just because I don’t like walnuts doesn’t mean you don’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are a whole bunch of you out there who actually like, maybe even love, walnuts. Go figure.

We haven’t done a Call for Recipes in a while and I think it’s time. Plus, I found these absolutely gorgeous red walnuts at the store yesterday. Even I, hater of walnuts, couldn’t resist putting them in my shopping cart. They were practically screaming for me to take their picture. I obliged. And luckily Nate likes them, so I promise they won’t go to waste!

I don’t have a walnut recipe to share. But I’m certain you all have wonderful recipes! Please share your favorite recipes that use walnuts, whether they are the main character or play a supporting role. Maybe you’ll even convince me to open my mind to what walnuts have to offer…although I doubt it! 😉


  1. Pass. I hate walnuts too.

  2. 2
    Michelle Machado

    My best friend hates them too. She say they taste dirty.

  3. 3

    I love walnuts, where on earth did you find those red ones? I made walnut pesto once, sooo good. I love them on banana bread, spread on top so they get all toasty while baking. I found out my cube neighbor’s new in-laws own a walnut farm 🙂 I’m trying to think of other recipes.

  4. 4

    We enjoy walnuts; toasted on top of our oatmeal, in whole wheat and walnut bread, and in walnut and maple pie (think pecan pie but with a New England twist.)
    One of our favorite savory ways is Roasted, Feta and Walnut Dip ( and the other is the walnut vinaigrette in the Joy of Cooking.

  5. 5

    I use walnuts instead of pine nuts when I make pesto– way cheaper and they taste basically the same. Besides that sprinkled on salads or in cookies and jello salad… cookies and jello kind of defeat the super-food part though! I’m not a huge walnut eater– they tend to have a bitter edge– but I really love salads dressed with walnut oil.

  6. 6

    I love walnuts.But I was very skeptical of pecans when I first moved to the U.S. 🙂

    One spread recipe I like is this: You process walnuts,a couple cloves of garlic, roasted red pepper paste, tomato paste, bread crumbs and lemon juice in a food processor, add a little bit olive oil to adjust the thickness.It is delicious on crusty bread. I add chopped walnuts also in tomato salads along with pomegranate molasses! Here is the recipe for this:

  7. 7
    Lindsey P

    I am a walnut-hater turned walnut-sympathizer because of this incredibly simple, yet delicious recipe. It’s an appetizer that is so quick and easy that I make it all the time.
    Ӣ Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
    Ӣ Chopped Walnuts (yikes)
    Ӣ Honey
    Ӣ Crusty baguette cut into slices (or regular bread, toasted and cut into triangles; or those little square cocktail bread slices, toasted)
    All you do it put a little gorgonzola on the bread slices, followed by some walnuts and topped off with a squirt of the honey. Then throw them into the oven or low broiler until the cheese has melted just a bit. I swear, this combination is to die for- even for walnut-haters! Enjoy!

  8. 8

    There is a quick and easy candy with square pretzels, rolos and walnuts. The caramel overtakes the walnut flavor 🙂

  9. I love walnuts in pesto or in baking, but only lately. Used to find them too bitter. Heres a different way of using them with apples and sultanas and cheese – Cheeseboard Cake.
    Low in sugar and delicious with chutney or creme fraich 🙂

  10. 10

    *Candied walnuts + pears + gorganzola + mixed greens + simple vinaigrette is one of my all time fall meals. I candy them myself with just a little sugar so that they aren’t too sweet.

    *I use them in ‘traditional’ pesto, but also make a sauce with cilantro, walnuts and lemon (no cheese) to go on steamed/grilled fish. [I used to call this a pesto, but my Italian friend got very upset with me… so now it is a mere ‘sauce.’ =) ]

    *Throw them into salads with grains (quinoa/wild rice/ etc) for the texture, but also the little bit of bitterness adds a flavor contrast too.

    *I made dark chocolate bark with walnuts and pistachios for holiday presents. Yum!!

    Love all the ideas! Thanks for being so selfless! =)

    • Kate

      I’m with you on the salad. Except I eat it year round with whatever ingredients I have on hand…craisins…feta…goat cheese (holy yum)…apples…spinach…and usually balsamic vinaigrette. Homemade candied walnuts are definitely a staple in my pantry :).

  11. 11

    I love this salad from California crisp.

    Romaine and Walnut Salad:

    Combine 1 head of chopped romaine, 2 apples (cut in chunks, 4 ounces Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts. Dressing: whisk 2 t Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad with the dressing. YUM!

  12. all time walnut fav recipe: Cranberry-Walnut Friendship Pie. My recipe is posted here:
    Believe me, this stuff is ALL kinds of good!
    cathy b. @ brightbakes

  13. Hello all,

    Now I know walnuts are not everyone’s favourite, but as Jane said, they are a superfood, so you gotta eat ’em! That said, I’m not that keen on them either. Odd as I absolutely adore all the other nuts and once ate an industrial sized bag of roasted cashews whilst watching a film. I dont remember the film, but I do remember how happy and then shocked I was that I ate an entire bag!

    Anyway check out this recipe for Apple and Walnut Spiced Muffins from

    Also walnuts are a great substitute for pine nuts in pestos, as has been previously noted. I will scout around for some more recipes – it can’t be that hard to make walnuts more popular, can it?

  14. 14

    i love walnuts! except when you find the bad nut! and i really enjoy them in oatmeal cookies!

  15. 17

    Here is a recipe from Real Simple, June 2009, that I really love…especially in the summer with grilled chicken.

    erves 6| Hands-On Time: 10m | Total Time: 15m
    1 cup walnuts
    4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked
    2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    kosher salt and black pepper
    1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)
    Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.
    In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeños, lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with the Feta before serving.

  16. I am not a huge walnut fan either, but my family recipe for chocolate chip cookies has them and they really aren’t the same without the ground up nuts. I like to chop them really finely and it adds a great texture.

  17. I’ve used them to make a pesto with spinach. I got the idea from Giada (food network). She calls it Spicy Pesto and it’s delish!


    We love circassian chicken, even though I hate walnuts. I have used many different recipes for this dish, the one on Simply Recipes is just an example.

  19. 21

    I hated walnuts as a kid, on occasion I would eat them in a cookie. As an adult I decided to give them another chance, so I did, and then came the hives, scratchy throat, and lots of Benadryl. I guess the walnuts feel the same way about me too.

  20. 22

    These red walnuts are excellent! They’re in Safeway and Vons stores now throughout California. I work with the small grower in Linden California who grows these artisan red walnuts.
    You can check out their website at
    These (growers) are a great family who work their tails off to produce these and a few other crops.

  21. 23

    I throw walnuts on salad, in a crumb topping for breakfast peach cobbler, ice cream, yogurt oatmeal(yogurt, cooked oatmeal, fruit and nuts), cookies, smoothies, my stuffing recipe, muffins, or I just candy them. I dint like them that much, but they do add a certain j’en e sais qou(sorry to all Francaphones for butchering French ).

  22. 24

    Jane – Have you tried toasting them? It gets rid of that nasty bitter taste but it is more work.

  23. 25

    I’m with Marie – – toasting them makes the much sweeter and less bitter. I love them with some feta and dried cranberries on a spinach salad.
    But my favorite recipe (because I love cookies) is this one:
    Props to “Cathie” the original recipe contributor.

  24. 26

    Maybe we should trade husbands? I love walnuts and before I met my other half I used to throw them in everything- pumpkin bread, chocolate chip cookies, and this very yummy Tollhouse Pie recipe. I’ve had to pretty much cut them out at this point, but one thing I really miss is adding toasted walnuts to my pancakes. I would throw them in a skillet and toast them then transfer them right into the pancakes i had going on another burner. Mmmmm…. This also works well w/pecans.

    (Btw, hon in case you’re reading this, I wouldn’t really trade you…)

  25. 27

    I am not a huge fan of walnuts, but I am a huge fan of Ina Gartens rosmary roasted cashews. I usually do a blend of nuts and they are so pretty and tasty when your done that they can double has a gift. I usually make a batch for holidays, hostess gifts etc.

  26. 28

    Love them, love them, love them!! Always toasted…opens up the flavor and really takes them to higher taste levels.((o:

    My son doesn’t like them so I’ve figured out creative ways to add them to 3/4 of the baked item in question and leave one part plain. I hope he outgrows this…

    We like them in oatmeal, cookies, banana bread (well any quick bread really), on waffles with maple syrup, in salads, really anywhere. Oh, the candied ones are like CRACK…I could superfood myself into 2012 with those in front of me.

    The red ones are amazing. Toast a few for your hubby…yum!!

  27. 29

    Jane, one of our go-to snacks is something we call date balls. It is simply equal parts walnuts and dates, ground up in the food processor and then formed into balls. I process the walnuts a bit first (not too much or the whole mess will get oily), and then drop dates in by the handful (with the machine on) until the mixture is sort of a rough-textured paste. Trader Joes carries good medjool dates.

  28. 30

    Walnuts are tied with almonds as my favorites! I love them mixed into oatmeal along with a chopped up Macintosh apple. Of course they are a great addition to a strawberry or hot fudge sundae. I add them to chocolate chips cookies, banana bread, cranberry bread, or just eat them by themselves (in moderation of course = high calories). They taste good on salads. I go through a 1-lb bag nearly every week!

  29. 31

    Parmesan walnuts are fabulous in salads and pasta dishes! My favorite is penne, Italian Sausage, mascarpone, kale, broccoli, red bell peppers, caramelized onions and walnuts. Yum!

  30. Walnuts have a happy place nestled amidst the caramel in the center of these brownies!!

  31. 33

    I don’t like nuts of any sort. Can’t stand the texture, taste, or the tendency of them appearing in their crunchy nastiness in the middle of something sweet and creamy, thereby disrupting the texture entirely (i.e. Nuts in cookies, Nuts in Ice Cream — a particular pet peeve of mine.) However, I married a nut fiend then gave birth to one so I’m stuck with a varied amount around at any one time…walnuts always being in the pantry.

    I have done the pesto thing and like it — the nut flavor is not too strong against the Basil.

    This chicken recipe is the only thing I have ever made that I LIKE the nuts. I’ve made it with and without and they make a big difference. Just throw them in a food processor to make the paste. Yummy!

    It really is close to a curry I’m told by my curry loving friends. My kids love it. My picky daughters (that was an understatement) eat several helpings.

  32. 34

    In my eyes, a brownie is not a proper brownie unless it involves a nut of some kind, and what better variety than the humble walnut?

    If you’re trying to test the waters with walnuts, chop a few up and throw them into a batch of fudgy brownies [not on top] – the texture contrast they provide is unbeatable.

  33. 35

    How about walnut pasta sauce? It’s an Italian dish also known as Salsa di Noci. Dead easy. I love it.

  34. 37

    That’s funny; my friend sent me a link to your site the same night I made “pesto” with walnuts for the first time ever:
    1/3 cup walnuts
    1 9-ounce package fresh linguine (6 ounce dried)
    1 packed tablespoon fresh whole sage leaves
    1 large garlic clove
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus additional to taste
    2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    4 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet & toast until lightly golden & fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool.
    2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the linguine according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.
    3. Combine the parsley, sage, garlic, & salt, black pepper & walnuts in a blender; pulse until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil & blend well. Add 3 Tablespoons of the parmesan; pulse quickly to combine.
    4. Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl & add 1/3 cup cooking water. Add linguine & toss to combine, adding remaining pasta water as necessary. Top with remaining cheese & additional black pepper to taste.

  35. 38

    Also, my mind was blown last year, when I discovered that raw foodies soak nuts before whizzing them up into delicious raw dips. My 2-year son loves it on toast and my 17-year daughter eats with carrot sticks.
    From Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet

    Walnut Pâté

    1 cup soaked raw walnuts
    1 T fresh lemon juice (I didn’t have lemons on hand, so I used rice vinegar to go with the tamari flavor)
    1 tsp Tamari
    1/4 tsp garlic powder (roasted garlic would be good here)
    Salt to taste
    1 T minced fresh parsley
    1 T minced onion (didn’t have any, so I skipped this)
    Blend everything in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    Serve with crudité or crackers. Can also be used as a sandwich filling.

  36. 39

    In hell, they serve you brownies with walnuts in them.

  37. 40
    Jane Maynard

    thanks for all the fabulous recipes and idea – I’m sure the walnut-lovers out there are very appreciative!! 🙂

  38. I have two wonderful recipes with walnuts, although like you, I’m more fan of the pecan. Being from Georgia and all!

    1. Apple, Cranberry, and Walnut Pie

    2. Roasted Beets, Walnuts,and Goat Cheese Salad

  39. 42
    Shannon K

    It’s funny that I just recommended this recipe in the comments area of the vegetarian chickpea burger recipe, and then i come across this posting saying that Jane HATES walnuts. I still really recommend this recipe as one to try…

    Walnut Burger
    1 1/2 c shredded cheese
    1 c finely chopped walnuts (make sure they’re fine so you don’t have crumbly burgers)
    1 c soft breadcrumbs (I use fresh bread so the burgers are moist)
    1/2 c finely chopped onion
    1 egg, beaten
    1 tbsp ketchup
    basil or thyme to taste
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp pepper or lemon pepper
    2 tbsp olive oil (if cooking in skillet)

    Combine all ingredients except oil. Form into 6 patties.

    Skillet: Cook patties in oil over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
    Oven: Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 for 12-13 minutes, flipping once.

  40. Easy Shepherds Pie Recipe:

    1 pound roast beef, cooked and cubed 2 onions, sliced thinly 1/2 cup homemade beef gravy 4 cups mashed potatoes, cooked


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Layer the roast beef in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish. Layer the sliced onions on top and pour on the gravy. Spread the mashed potatoes on top.
    Bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are browned.

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