Culinary Inspiration

“Pantry staples” has to be one of the most common terms nowadays when it comes to groceries. These must-have items ensure you can always whip up a delicious quick meal or snack. The most effective ingredients can pack a sweet or savory punch across multiple recipes without making everything taste the same. You may find yourself with an overabundance of pantry staples left over from the early days of quarantine. The good news is, as the holidays come closer, these ingredients can be used to help plan your Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) dinner.
Fun fact: Did you know that walnuts aren’t actually a pantry staple? That said, they’re still an ingredient that’s so versatile that it’s great to have on hand year round. For maximum freshness throughout the season, store your walnuts in the freezer. Whether you’re cooking up a storm for the family or dropping off homemade goodies for your small pod of friends, grab your tasty California walnuts straight from the freezer (no thawing required) and combine them with some of our favorite pantry staples for a boost of flavor, texture and nutrition that will make Thanksgiving a breeze.

Walnuts + Dried Cranberries

This salad is practically a holiday staple itself. It doubles as a delightful prelude to a delicious holiday meal and an easy leftover lunch. Whip up a batch of Turkey Cranberry and Walnut Pasta Salad to savor all the yummy flavors of the holiday. This bright and colorful salad has a light, refreshing flavor with the welcome yin and yang of sweetness and tartness.
Or trade the pasta for rice and serve a smoky Turkey Curry over Cranberry-Walnut Rice Pilaf. This zesty side dish combines the earthy flavor of curry with tender rice, tasty California walnuts and the zingy pop of dried cranberries for a hearty dish that gets gobbled down quickly.
Since you’re already working with California walnuts and dried cranberries, you may as well whip up a delicious dessert. These indulgent Apple Walnut Hand Pies with dried cranberries should do the trick. Their crust cooks up crispy and flaky in the air fryer. What a treat!

Walnuts + Beans

Pantry staples differ from pantry to pantry, about as much as flavor preferences. But it’s safe to say you have some beans in your cabinet. Did you know that walnuts and beans pulsed together and browned on the stove can make a simple and delicious plant-based meat alternative perfect for plant-forward appetizers and entrées?
This recipe for California Walnut “Chorizo” Crumble makes a delicious substitute for just about any recipe that traditionally uses ground beef. So, if you’re hosting a group of people with diverse eating preferences this year, this option is sure to please everyone. From Mexican-style dishes to Italian and more, check out these recipes for more inspiration.

Walnuts + Pumpkin

If you’ve stocked up on canned pumpkin, bake a batch of decadent Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. The comforting aroma is sure to get the family out of bed and ready to help in the kitchen!
Use any extra canned pumpkin and short-grain rice in a Pumpkin Walnut Sage Risotto that’s sure to take your holiday meal to the next level. The homemade walnut sage pesto adds an aromatic flavor that dreams are made of. Don’t bet on having leftovers of this delicious dish!
If pumpkin isn’t your thing, bake up an appetizer of Butternut “Sausage” Tart with herbaceous flavor and enjoy it – no utensils (and no meat!) necessary. This is a great little gem to wrap or serve individually, and it’s certainly a tasty way to start the celebration.

Walnuts + Preserves

Tell the family to save room for dessert, though. Dress up your dessert table with a simple yet elegant Raspberry Walnut Tart that offers plenty of sweet and tangy flavor and crunch. This walnut-crusted tart combines California walnuts and raspberry preserves for an easy and delicious filling that can be sweetened to suit your preferences.
If you prefer to serve a finger-food dessert, try these crave-worthy Strawberry-Kissed Walnut Sablés. Nutmeg and toasted walnuts add flavors that cue the warmth of fall and winter, while drops of strawberry jam brighten each cookie. Your family and friends will love indulging their senses in these little treats that you’ll be proud to put out on the table, or wrap and deliver.
There you have it! You can plan your meal, do your shopping and stock your pantry ahead of Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving celebrations. With all your recipes selected and your pantry in order, you’ll have plenty of time to show the family how much you love and appreciate them this holiday season. You may even have some time to relax.

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